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Akasha Lawrence Spence Appointed to Fill Vacant State Senate Seat

The Democrat will replace Sen. Ginny Burdick, who got an agency job.

The combined boards of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties today appointed former state Rep. Akasha Lawrence Spence (D-Portland) to replace state Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland).

Burdick is leaving the Senate after 24 years to take an appointment on the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.

Lawrence Spence, a real estate developer for small businesses owned by women of color, will serve her second stint as a replacement lawmaker. In 2020, she won an appointment to replace former state Rep. Jennifer Williamson (D-Portland), who resigned to run for secretary of state.

“I am incredibly grateful to the people of Senate District 18 for their tireless support and to the county commissioners for casting their votes in my favor,” Lawrence Spence said in a statement. “Trust that I will continue to boldly push forward on the life-changing policy that will uplift our community, our district, and all Oregonians.”

Lawrence Spence will serve out Burdick’s term, which runs through 2022, but will not run for the seat. Instead, she is challenging incumbent Portland City Commissioner Dan Ryan, who is up for reelection.