September 24th, 2009 | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: Politics

Metsger Will Not Seek Re-election

     
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MetsgerState Sen. Rick Metsger (D-Welches) announced this morning he will not seek re-election for the seat he first won in 1998.

Metsger, 58, a former television reporter, chaired the Senate Transportation Committee and served as Senate President Pro-Tem. Known as one of the Senate's wiliest deal-makers, Metsger made it clear last year he was ready to move on by running unsuccessfully for Secretary of State.

He told WW his decision was primarily financial. "There comes a point where you just can't afford to serve anymore," Metsger says.

Metsger says he plans to serve through next year unless a future employer asks him to resign early. It's too early to know who may seek his seat but the two House members in his district are Reps. Suzanne VanOrman (D-Hood River) and Brent Barton (D-Clackamas).

Here's Metsger's statement:

Senator Rick Metsger, President Pro Tempore of the Oregon Senate, today announced he will not be a candidate for re-election to the Oregon Senate next year. Metsger is currently completing his 11th year in the Senate after being first elected in 1998 to the seat then held by Sen. Ken Baker, R-Clackamas. He won re-election in 2002 and 2006.

Metsger said he has been considering the move for some time but wanted to be sure one of his major accomplishments-a robust transportation package- would become law before stepping aside. Metsger was a chief architect of HB2001, the largest transportation and jobs investment legislation ever passed by the legislature. Metsger helped push the bill through the legislature as Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. In every legislative session since 2003, Metsger has advanced bi-partisan transportation investments.

“I believe this legislation will not only create jobs for thousands of Oregonians but will build the infrastructure necessary for businesses to grow and expand in Oregon,” Metsger said.

Metsger was honored this month by the Oregon Building Trades Council as “Oregon's Chief Job Builder” in the Oregon legislature.

Last year he was named “Legislator of the Year” by The Oregon Nurses Association for his long history of championing nursing issues. In 2008 Metsger was inducted into the NW Steelheaders “Hall of Fame” for his career-long advocacy of habitat protection. He joined Tom McCall, John Kitzhaber and Bill Bradbury as other elected officials to receive the organization's highest honor.

As Chair of the Business and Transportation Committees in the Oregon Senate, Metsger has championed ratepayer protections for utility customers with landmark legislation in 2005 with the passage of SB 408. In 1999 he pushed through legislation that created the Energy Trust of Oregon (SB1149) and this session brought a higher degree of transparency into the Trust's funding decision-making process. Metsger also engineered the passage of legislation this year to jump-start Oregon's solar energy industry and played a pivotal role in climate change legislation as his committee pushed passage of SB 101 and HB 2186.

Metsger says he is especially proud of passing “nearly the entire agenda I outlined in my bid for Oregon Secretary of State in 2006.” During the campaign Metsger pledged to overturn HB 2614 of 2005 that all but eliminated the ability of Independent, Non-Affiliated candidates to participate in the electoral process. He sought to bring much-needed reform to the state's initiative process. Additionally, Metsger pledged to engage the Secretary of State more closely with the Department of Education by placing the SOS on the State Board Of Education and bring civics to life by developing a history center at the State Capitol. Metsger successfully passed his objectives into law, including two of them on the final day of the 2009 session.

“I feel like it is time to take on new challenges,” Metsger said. “I am honored to have been elected by the great citizens of the Mt. Hood area and have worked hard to be an effective voice for them in Salem. I am grateful for their trust and support during my tenure in the Oregon Senate.”
 
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