Whisnant won't seek re-election to Oregon House

Was appointed in 2003, has served eight terms

SALEM, Ore. - State Rep. Gene Whisnant, R-Sunriver, announced Monday that he won't seek a ninth term as a member of the Oregon House.

“Serving House District 53 constituents and Oregonians for over 15 years when this term ends has been an honor and great experience,”  Whisnant said in a news release. “I am proud of our office’s record of helping seniors, veterans and citizens as they interact with our government.

"I’m also proud of the good policies we have passed concerning areas like transparency and accountability, PK-12 education, higher education costs, the health and safety of children and housing issues. I think my voting record and legislative bills reflect my commitment to commonsense and to taking whatever actions are necessary to improve the quality of life for all Oregonians.”

Whisnant was appointed Sept. 5, 2003 as state representative and has won re-election every two years since then. During his career, he has served as Republican House caucus deputy whip, whip and assistant leader. 

During his legislative career, Whisnant has served on the Joint Ways & Means; Public Safety and Education subcommittees; E-Board; Joint Legislative Audits; Joint Transparency Advisory; Joint Interim Committee on Public Education Appropriation; Education; Judicial; Higher Education & Workforce Development, and Human Services. In the 2011 “30-30” session; he served as co-chair of the House General Government & Consumer Protection committee. 

Whisnant also served on the Oregon Commission on Children & Families, as an Education Commission of the States commissioner, on the NCSL Standing Education Committee, on the CSG/NCSL Task Force on “Employing people with Disabilities” and as ALEC State Chair and ALEC International Affairs and Federalism Task Force chair.

He has received numerous awards from non-profits and service organizations throughout the years.

Whisnant, who retired from the U.S. Air Force after a 27-year career, also previously served as chairman of the Deschutes County Republican Party. He and wife Josie live in Sunriver.

Whisnant stated, “I could not have served this long without my wife Josie’s support and professional assistance along with the other dedicated public servants who have helped me perform this duty. I believe I have earned the respect of the voters, legislators from both sides of the aisle, legislative support and staff personnel, lobbyists, my assistants and interns and will miss working with them all.

“I served in the U.S. Air Force for over 27 years, with over 13 different jobs, and moved over 12 times, but I will have served in this job longer than any other with the support of the voters.

“I look forward to completing my term and being active in the interim and 2018 session. I have already submitted my two authorized bills for the next session.

"After my term ends, Josie and I plan to travel more and spend more time with family in North Carolina. I plan to remain an active citizen, involved in efforts to improve the quality of life for all Oregonians.  My work on transparency and accountability provides all Oregonians the means to keep a close look on our state government.”

State election records show no one has yet filed in any party to run for the District 53 seat. The candidate filing period for the May 15, 2018 primary election began Sept. 7 and continues through March 6.

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