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Beyer’s legislative career concludes

Oregon State Capitol building, May 18, 2021.
Kristyna Wentz-Graff
/
OPB
Oregon State Capitol building, May 18, 2021. Members of the Oregon Senate paid tribute Friday to six of their colleagues who will not be returning in 2023.

A longtime state lawmaker from Springfield made his final speech on the Senate floor Friday. Democrat Lee Beyer served more than 20 years in both the Oregon House and Senate. Most recently he chaired the Senate’s Business and Transportation Committee.

Beyer told his colleagues the most fulfilling part of the job was serving his constituents.

Senator Lee Beyer
Oregon Legislature
Sen. Lee Beyer, D-Springfield.

“I think the biggest honor that ever can be bestowed on you is to be given the opportunity by your neighbors to represent them in crafting the laws and rules that they and their families are going to have to live by,” he said.

Beyer’s career in government is not over. Governor Kate Brown appointed him to a seat on the Oregon Transportation Commission. His term begins in January.

Beyer was praised by both Republicans and Democrats Friday.

Another veteran lawmaker, Sen. Fred Girod, R-Lyons, said despite their political differences, he and Beyer were able to maintain a close working relationship over the years.

"We formed a friendship that will last until the day I die," said Girod.

Meanwhile, Sen. James Manning, D-Eugene, said to Beyer he plans to stay in touch because of Beyer's expertise on legislative matters.

"I will always look forward to (your) counsel," said Manning. "I will be calling you regularly."

Beyer was one of six senators who won't be returning to the Capitol next year, either due to retirements or because they lost a re-election bid.

The group includes longtime Senate President Peter Courtney, a Democrat from Salem.

The stated purpose of Friday's floor session was to approve two gubernatorial appointments, a matter that was dispensed of quickly. Then, for more than an hour, lawmakers paid tribute to their departing colleagues, with most of the comments directed at Courtney, who's retiring after a record-setting stint as head of the chamber.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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