Local party leaders have nominated three Clackamas County men to replace former state representative and House Minority Leader Christine Drazan, a Republican from Canby who resigned this week to pursue her bid for governor.
Republican precinct committee persons (PCPs) in Clackamas and Marion counties gathered Tuesday night to interview and consider the six applicants for the remainder of Drazan’s term.
They ultimately elected to send up Canby businessman and former City Councilor Paul Carlson, of Oregon City; Canby Planning Commission Vice Chair James Hieb, of Canby; and Navy veteran Donnie Hedlind, of Eagle Creek.
Former Clackamas County Republican Chair and current Canby City Council President Traci Hensley had also applied to be considered for the vacancy, along with Lisa Davidson of Oregon City and Laura Roses of Mulino.
Carlson is the founder and owner of 4:8 Financial, a financial planning firm in downtown Canby which takes its name from the Bible verse Philippians 4:8, and a former longtime board member and president of the Canby Area Chamber of Commerce. He co-founded the Canby Dahlia Run in 2011 and served as its director until 2019.
His wife, Stefani Carlson, is a member of the Canby School Board. He was also one of 11 prospective candidates to replace Senator Alan Olsen in January 2021 but did not make the final cut. Bill Kennemer, a retired state representative and senator, was ultimately appointed to the slot.
Hieb is the director of the Building Blocks Early Learning Center, a full-day child care center and preschool in Wilsonville, and has served as the elected precinct committee person for voter precinct 124 (North Canby) in House District 39 and treasurer for the Young Republicans of Oregon.
He is a U.S. Marine veteran of the Iraq War and senior vice commander for the Canby/Aurora VFW Post. He is also a member of the American Legion.
He ran for city council in November 2020, finishing a close fifth (there were four openings at the time), and applied for the planning commission soon after. He has served as vice chairman of the board since last month.
Hedlind is a veteran with a service-connected spinal cord injury. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Oregon Paralyzed Vets of America, focusing on membership and property. He is a real estate, investor and former small business owner who helps fellow veterans with recreational and administrative issues.
If appointed, Hedlind said one of his goals would be to meet every representative and senator in the Legislature to build a coalition.
“Nothing gets done unless we build consensus,” he said. “I use the ‘cooler heads will prevail approach.’ Yelling and screaming at someone only makes them quit listening to you.”
Clackamas and Marion County commissioners will meet jointly on Monday, February 7, to consider the three nominees and appoint one of them to serve until Drazan’s term ends in January 2023. Drazan’s House District 39 overwhelmingly falls within Clackamas County, but a small pocket extends into Marion County.
The meeting will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. over Zoom. Call-in numbers: 253-215-8782, 346-248-7799, or 408-638-0968. The public may attend the proceedings over Zoom and provide comments during the designated time.
There is some urgency, as the 39th District — which includes Canby, Mulino, Beavercreek and Estacada — is currently unrepresented in the 2022 legislative short session that began Tuesday.
The district has been reliably Republican for more than 20 years, with the last Democrat to win the seat being Robert Ackerman in 2000.
Its boundaries, however, were drastically redrawn to lie much further north, encompassing portions of urban Happy Valley and Sunnyside. The boundaries will take effect when the new representatives are sworn in next January following the November midterms.
Instead, Drazan’s replacement would likely need to file and run for the new House District 51 seat in the November 2022 election if they wish to seek a full term in the Legislature.
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