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David Brock Smith appointed to fill vacant Oregon state Senate seat

A man with glasses wearing a grey suit, red shirt, blue tie and an American flag enamel pin looks at an out-of-frame person to the right.
David Brock Smith
Campaign website
Rep. David Brock Smith, R-Port Orford, as a state Representative for District 1, which represents Curry and parts of Coos and Douglas counties.

A previously vacant state Senate seat in southwest Oregon was filled Wednesday.

Rep. David Brock Smith, R-Port Orford, a state Representative for House District 1, was unanimously appointed to fill the vacant seat for Senate District 1. That seat was left open by Dallas Heard, who resigned earlier this month.

Commissioners from Coos, Curry and Douglas counties met Wednesday morning to vote on candidates nominated by local Republican party leaders. Just before the vote by commissioners, Brock Smith said the state's Democratic majority doesn't understand the needs of rural Oregonians.

“I’m doing this because I've been committed to public service and making our region better," he said. "In growing our economies and pushing back against, frankly, the oppression of the majority party in this state.”

Brock Smith is an outspoken critic of recent climate bills; he served in the minority on the Carbon Reduction Committee in 2020.

“It came down to they’re by far the most qualified," said Douglas County Commissioner Tom Kress during the vote. "And not only the most qualified, but somebody that earned it. We are lucky to have David Brock Smith as our Senator representing Douglas County and this district.”

Now, Brock Smith will step down as state Representative. Republican committees from each county will nominate 3-5 candidates. County commissioners will then appoint a replacement to fill that seat.

Douglas County Republican Central Committee Vice Chair Michaela Hammerson said in a statement Wednesday, "I expect these meetings will be planned quickly as the legislative session will be impacted by David Brock Smith's vacancy."

Oregon’s legislative session begins next week, on January 17.

Roman Battaglia is a regional reporter for Jefferson Public Radio. After graduating from Oregon State University, Roman came to JPR as part of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism in 2019. He then joined Delaware Public Media as a Report For America fellow before returning to the JPR newsroom.