Longtime eastern Oregon Sen. Bill Hansell plans to retire in 2024
Oregon state Senator Bill Hansell, R-Athena, speaks during a legislative special session on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Oregon Capital Chronicle)
State Sen. Bill Hansell, who has been a fixture in eastern Oregon politics for more than 40 years, will retire in 2024, he announced Thursday.
Hansell, R-Athena, is partly through his third four-year term representing a rural district larger than nine states. He was a Umatilla county commissioner for 30 years before his election to the state Senate in 2012 and served as president of the influential lobbying group, the National Association of Counties and the Association of Oregon Counties.
Hansell said in a statement that he plans to finish his term but is announcing his retirement now to give people in his district time to decide if they want to run. He doesn’t plan to endorse anyone prior to the May 2024 primary, he said.
“There is a time for everything, the Biblical Book of Ecclesiastes states,” Hansell said. “Now is the time, I believe, to give someone else the platform and opportunity to serve in the Oregon Senate, just as the great people of Senate District 29 have enabled me to do.”
The 29th District, the second largest in Oregon, includes Gilliam, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Wasco and Wheeler counties, as well as portions of Clackamas, Marion and Jefferson counties. .
Hansell said that a senator who previously occupied his office left behind a written note with the advice to be a statesman, not a politician. He strove to do that during his time in office, he said.
“Using government to help others provides the motivation and the joy for what I do,” he said. “For example, I received as much satisfaction helping a widow lady save her chickens by having the government trapper spend some time near her home as I do serving on the Joint Semiconductor Committee tasked with bringing billions of federal dollars and thousands of jobs to Oregon.”
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