September 14th, 2012 12:38 pm | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: PDX Votes, Legislature, Politics

State Sen. Frank Morse In Surprise Resignation: Updated

morse1Frank Morse

State Sen. Frank Morse (R-Corvallis) surprised colleagues and observers today in an interim legislative session by announcing he is resigning from the seat he has held for 10 years.

Morse, the Vice-Chair of the Senate Finance Revenue and Senate Education & Workforce Development Committees, has earned a reputation in the Capitol as a thoughtful moderate, who has advocated strongly for tax reform and been willing to take heat from the GOP base for crossing the aisle on hot-button issues such as in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, which Morse came to support.

Morse, 69, told his colleagues today that he had come to find legislative work as a "marathon without end."

He urged his fellow lawmakers to continue to pursue revenue stability.

Republicans will now appoint a successor to serve out the rest of Morse's term, which ends in 2014.

Democrats currently hold a 16 to 14 majority in the Senate and Morse's departure sets up a possible win for them in two years as Democrats outnumber Republicans in Morse's district by nearly 10 percentage points. 

Updated at 1:10 pm with statements about Morse from Senate leaders.

“Senator Morse is special," said Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem). "They made a good one when they made him. I truly wish he had given us a few more years, but we have to respect his decision. Throughout his service to Oregon, Senator Morse has been a model of decency, goodness and professionalism. He was the best. He is the perfect Oregonian.”

"He is an exemplar of statesmanship, cut from the old cloth of iconic leaders who have shaped this state, pursuing the greater good, without regard for party," said Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). The Senate will miss him, but the state is better for his service. I hope his example will inspire likeminded Oregonians to put self aside and serve their fellow citizens in the public sphere.”
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