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Southwest Coast county commissioners select Court Boice to fill vacant state representative seat

A portrait of a man wearing a mustard blazer, white shirt, red tie and an American flag pin on his lapel. In the blurry background is a bridge over a river
Court Boice
Campaign website
Court Boice in front of the Wedderburn Bridge near Gold Beach

County commissioners in southwestern Oregon appointed Boice to fill the vacant House District 1 seat Thursday.

The seat was left open after commissioners selected the previous representative, David Brock Smith, to fill another vacancy in the state senate in early January.

Four Republican nominees made their case in front of the Curry, Coos and Douglas county commissioners.

Commissioners overwhelmingly appointed Court Boice to the seat, with one member voting against him. Boice, who was a commissioner for Curry County, abstained from the vote.

Boice said he wants to bring his experience in natural resources and wildfire prevention to the capitol.

“I know Salem well," he said. "I’ve spent a lot of time up there for the county. I was a legislative assistant. I’ve spent time in the governor’s office. Most of the governors — usually I was not there on real friendly terms. But I plan to do that considerably in the future. They’ll go, ‘Oh no, here he comes again, that Coos, Curry, Douglas guy.’”

Boice said he’s interested in land use, agriculture, housing and homelessness issues, and will focus on those topics in the legislature.

During the selection process, commissioners questioned candidates about nepotism, as state lawmakers debate new rules to ban the practice of hiring family members as staff.

Boice said he and his wife would come to Salem as a team, and said he was familiar with the ethics rules. But, when asked directly, he didn’t clarify whether his wife would be on staff.

“So to answer your question, I’ll hire whoever and we’re well on our way to – if you select me today – to hit the ground running," he said.

Boice didn't respond to requests for clarification.

Because Boice was serving as a Curry County commissioner, the remaining two board members will have to appoint a replacement to serve until next year’s election.

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.