State Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland), who has served a quarter century in the Oregon Legislature, will step down after this legislative session, she tells WW.
Burdick’s name was among 76 political appointments announced by Gov. Kate Brown last week. Brown appointed Burdick to the Pacific Northwest Electric Power and Conservation Planning Council. Burdick cannot hold a seat on the council while serving in the Legislature.
Reached by phone, Burdick confirmed to WW that she will resign her Senate seat. But she says she won’t leave until after this legislative session concludes.
“The appointment will not begin until Nov. 1, which will enable me to finish the session,” she says, “and any special session that we may have to have for redistricting.”
Burdick served as Senate majority leader until 2020, when she left that role in a shakeup of Senate leadership. She has long worked as an enforcer for Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem), holding together the Democratic caucus, counting votes and protecting Courtney from criticism.
In WW’s most recent poll of Capitol insiders, Burdick’s role in Salem was explained by a lobbyist: “[She] has done a very good job with her most important job, keeping Peter Courtney calm (relatively), contained (relatively) and on the rails (relatively).”
Burdick’s animating cause remains gun control. She successfully championed bills to remove guns from people experiencing mental illness, to take guns away from stalkers and abusers, and (most recently) to ban guns from the Capitol building.
Her retirement opens up a Portland legislative seat in the middle of her term. That term doesn’t end until 2025, and the seat is sure to be coveted by many Portland-area Democrats. Burdick’s successor will be appointed by the Multnomah and Washington County boards of commissioners.