BEND, Ore. - Central Oregon Republican lawmakers are getting ready for the 2013 session but they'll face a Democratic majority in the House and Senate. And one local legislator will serve a new role to help Republicans.
Powell Butte Rep. Mike McLane will serve as the new House Republican minority leader.
The freshman representative served as deputy house leader the last two years.
The new position will give McLane an opportunity to lead a caucus that finds itself in the minority after last session's 30-30 tie.
It was a big blow to House Republicans as the 2012 election put them back into the minority.
After an historic 30-30 tie between House Democrats and Republicans in 2010, there's now a 34-26 advantage for the Democrats.
"They did their homework," said Democrat and former Bend Rep. Judy Stiegler. "They picked and chose the candidates that they felt were in seats that were most vulnerable."
Stiegler served from 2009 to 2011. Sshe said she had a feeling the Democrats were going to break the tie, but "34 seats? Not necessarily."
Now for the first time in Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber's tenure, both houses of the Legislature will be in the Democrats' hands.
"Having both houses under Democratic control ... a lot of the agenda from that party, I think, will get through the process," McLane said Monday.
McLane is hoping to turn things around for the Republicans.
"Once we recognized that we were going to be in the minority, there certainly was consensus that one remaining of the leadership team, who was willing to serve again and step up -- and that was me, and I'm glad to do it," he said.
"I'm definitely a believer in the core values that we all share, of being fiscally conservative and wanting to see real reform in the budget,," McLane added.
McLane knows he and his fellow Republicans face an uphill battle, but he says his party is going to cooperate.
"Oregonians want them in charge and responsible for solving these big issues," McLane said. "And we are going to be helpful but respectful that they are the ones driving the train."
To visit McLane's legislative Web page, go to: http://www.leg.state.or.us/mclane/