PERS Status of Oregon’s 12 new Legislators

In November, 2010, 12 new legislators were elected to the Oregon Legislative Assembly, 3  Senators, Lee Beyer(D), Alan Olsen(R) and Chuck Thomsen(R) and 9  Representatives, Wally Hicks(R), Katie Brewer(R), Patrick Sheehan(R), Mark Johnson(R), Jason Conger(R), Julie Parrish(R), Shawn Lindsay(R), Mike McLane(R) and Matt Wand(R).

This month, I e-mailed each of those new legislators and asked them if they were PERS members and if they planned to join PERS as a legislators.  So far, the following 7 have responded to my e-mail:

  • Sen.Thomsen: not PERS member, unsure about joining PERS as legislator;  
  • Rep. Conger: not PERS member, will not join PERS as legislator;
  • Rep Lindsay: not PERS member, will not join PERS as legislator;
  • Rep. Johnson: not PERS member, probably will not join PERS as legislator;
  • Rep. McLane: not PERS member, will not join PERS as legislator;
  • Rep. Parrish: PERS member, will not join PERS as legislator;
  • Rep. Wand: not PERS member, will not join PERS as legislator.    

If I do not hear from Senators Lee Beyer(D) and Alan Olsen(R) and Representatives Wally Hicks(R), Katie Brewer(R) and Patrick Sheehan(R) by March, I will again request that information from them.  If any of them  decline to respond to this second request, I will  make a formal public records request for the information.

Regarding the PERS status of the 12 legislators who did not return to the legislature, 9 of them, 3 Senators and 6 Representatives,  were PERS members.  There are less PERS legislators this year than there were last year but PERS members are still in charge of any changes to the PERS laws.  This is especially true in the Senate, where at least 21 of the 30 Senators are PERS members and all of the Senators in leadership positions are PERS members.

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About Dan Re

I am an attorney who has lived in Bend and practiced law since 1981. In educating myself about the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), I was shocked at how the PERS laws were changed by the legislature, once legislators were allowed to join PERS in 1971, 26 years after PERS was first created. Those changes personally benefitted the legislators who made them at the direct financial expense of the people they were elected to represent. That is wrong and I intend to change it. In 2009, I started a non-profit 501(c)(4) corporation, In RE The People, Inc., for the purpose of informing concerned citizens of what happened regarding PERS and other issues of social and civic importance. I then created this blog to further that objective.
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