In Short

Oregon state Rep. David Brock Smith appointed to Senate seat

By: - January 11, 2023 3:26 pm

State Rep. David Brock Smith, R-Port Orford, will fill a vacancy in the Oregon Senate. (Ron Cooper/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

County commissioners in southern Oregon have tapped state Rep. David Brock Smith, R-Port Orford, to represent the area in the state Senate for the next two years.

Brock Smith will finish the term of Dallas Heard, a senator and former head of the Oregon Republican Party who resigned Jan. 1. Heard said he needed to focus on his family and claimed the Capitol and the country were under threat from an “ever-growing movement of evil” in his resignation letter. 

County commissioners from Coos, Curry and Douglas counties unanimously supported Brock Smith, a three-term representative, over two other Republicans nominated by local party members. Brock Smith told commissioners during a meeting Wednesday that he intends to push back against “oppression” from Democrats in Salem who don’t understand rural Oregon. 

“I’m not doing this for glory,” Brock Smith said. “I’m certainly not doing this for an increase in pay, because there isn’t any of that.”

He said he plans to run for re-election to a full four-year term in 2024, and he told commissioners that he’ll be able to help elect other Republicans. Brock Smith said he was second only to Minority Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson in fundraising for the House Republican caucus, which grew its ranks from 23 to 25 in the November election. 

Commissioners, Brock Smith and the other nominees had few kind words for politicians in Salem during the hour-and-a-half-long meeting. 

“You’ve got a war being waged up there between right and wrong, between conservatism and liberalism, between common sense and whatever they call it on the other side,” Douglas County Commissioner Chris Boice said.

Brock Smith assured commissioners that he didn’t believe human actions contribute to climate change. He said he disapproves of tentative plans for offshore wind power but recognizes that a potential wind farm would be a federal project that state legislators wouldn’t control. 

Commissioners also asked him about his support for a 2021 law that required schools to provide free tampons and pads in school bathrooms. The law passed the House with unanimous support from Republicans and Democrats, but it became a political issue during Republican primaries last year because hygiene products were provided in boys’ as well as girls’ bathrooms.

Brock Smith said Republicans made a mistake in voting for the law, and he has sponsored one of at least three measures in the upcoming legislative session that would remove the requirement that menstrual products be provided in all student restrooms.

Details of when Brock Smith will be sworn into the Senate have not yet been set. His move to the Senate will trigger a new vacancy in his House district, which will also be filled by county commissioners. The legislative session begins Jan. 17. 

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Julia Shumway
Julia Shumway

Julia Shumway has reported on government and politics in Iowa and Nebraska, spent time at the Bend Bulletin and most recently was a legislative reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times in Phoenix. An award-winning journalist, Julia most recently reported on the tangled efforts to audit the presidential results in Arizona.