SALEM, Ore. - (Update: Adding plans to fill House seat until 2020 election)
Gov. Kate Brown announced Friday that she will appoint Rep. Michael R. McLane (R-Powell Butte) to the 22nd Judicial District Circuit Court, which covers Crook and Jefferson counties.
McLane, who lives in Powell Butte, has represented House District 55 since 2011 and was the Republican Leader of the House of Representatives from 2012 to 2018.
He is a staff judge advocate in the Oregon Air National Guard, maintains a private business litigation practice, and, for two years, was a judge pro tempore on the Deschutes County Circuit Court.
“Representative McLane is well-known in the Capitol for his sharp mind, personal integrity, and respect for the rule of law,” Brown said in announcing his appointment.
“While we haven’t always seen eye-to-eye on policy, Mike’s deep commitment to promoting the public good is never in doubt," Brown added. "These qualities have served the Oregon Legislature well and will now enrich our state court bench.”
McLane issued a statement that said: “It has been a privilege to serve in the House of Representatives and an absolute honor to get to represent my district. I am looking forward to serving as a judge and wish nothing but the best to my colleagues in the House and Senate. I am grateful to Governor Brown for her confidence in me to serve on the bench.”
Republicans will work to nominate a temporary replacement to the House seat who will serve until the position is up for grabs in 2020.
McLane is a partner at the firm Lynch Conger McLane LLP, in Bend, where he advises and litigates on behalf of business clients. He earlier worked at several other firms, including the Portland-based firms Miller Nash Graham and Dunn LLP, and Stoel Rives LLP, as well as one of Central Oregon’s oldest firms, Bryant, Emerson & Fitch, LLP.
From 1994 to 2001, McLane served as Chief Executive Officer of Flying Rhinoceros Inc., which he co-founded, a publisher of bilingual elementary curriculum materials and creator of a television cartoon series. He began his career as a law clerk to Oregon Supreme Court Justice W. Michael Gillette, who is now retired.
McLane is also a lieutenant colonel in the Oregon Air National Guard, where he serves as a staff judge advocate. He was previously an officer in the 41st Infantry Brigade of the Oregon Army National Guard. McLane earned his law degree at Lewis & Clark Law School, finishing at the top of his class, and his bachelor’s degree at Oregon State University.
Brown appointed McLane to a vacancy created by the recently announced retirement of Judge Daniel J. Ahern. The appointment is effective immediately, but he will be sworn in and begin his judicial service in July.
SALEM, Oregon – House Republican Leader Carl Wilson (R- Grants Pass) today issued the following statement on the appointment of Rep. Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) as a circuit court judge:
“We congratulate our long-time colleague Rep. Mike McLane on his appointment as a circuit court judge. We appreciate the leadership Mike demonstrated in the Oregon Legislature, as caucus leader, and representing the people of House District 55. His boundless energy, intellect, candor, and political acumen have benefited everyone working in the Capitol. Both as a caucus leader, and mentor, Mike has improved the effectiveness of legislators on both sides of the aisle. His stirring and incisive speeches on significant issues of floor debate will be missed. However, we know his intelligence and integrity will serve him well in his new role on the bench.”
Rep. McLane was first elected to the House in 2010 and named Republican Leader in 2012. After clerking for Justice Michael Gillette at the Oregon Supreme Court, Mike practiced law at Oregon’s largest law firm, Stoel Rives LLP. He co-founded Lynch, Conger McLane LLP in 2016. He served as a circuit court judge pro tem in Deschutes County and later became Judge Advocate General for the Oregon Air National Guard where he is a Lt. Colonel.
He co-founded a publishing company that produced children's books, including one that inspired the CBS Saturday morning cartoon show “Flying Rhino Junior High.” Mike also co-authored “Wooden Teeth and Jelly Beans,” a children’s book on U.S. history and the presidents. He is a graduate of Oregon State University and graduated magna cum laude from Lewis & Clark Law School.
Statement from Oregon Secretary of State Bev Clarno:
“I am so thrilled to see someone of State Representative Mike McLane’s caliber appointed to the Jefferson and Crook County Circuit Court. The appointment is well-deserved and I am glad that someone who understands the needs of rural communities east of the Cascades has been appointed. His years of service in the Oregon State Legislature, Oregon Air National Guard, Oregon Army National Guard and his work as a trial lawyer in Central Oregon make him uniquely qualified to fulfill the duties of his new role and I wish him well.”