Three republican candidates have filed to fill Tom Butler’s seat in the Oregon House of Representative for District 60.
Butler announced his intent to resign in August so that he and his wife could serve on a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission in Latin America. He officially resigned on Jan. 4.
Tim Smith, Harney County rancher, Deon Strommer Baker City businessman and Cliff Bentz, Ontario attorney, have all filed for the seat.
Because Butler resigned before his term was up, the county courts within District 60 will vote to appoint a replacement. The appointed candidate will fill the seat until the May primary election. Prior to the appointment, the Republican Party in District 60 must first select nominees. On Jan. 12, the party nominated Smith, Strommer and Bentz for consideration by the county courts.
The appointment will be decided on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at Treasure Valley Community College, where county court officials from Harney, Malheur, Grant and Baker counties will convene to vote. Each county within the district receives a certain number of votes based on population.
Regardless of who receives the appointment, Smith, Strommer and Bentz have also all filed as candidates for the May primary.
Here is some information on each candidate:
Name: Cliff Bentz
Family: Wife Lindsay Norman; two children
County of residence: Malheur (raised in Drewsey)
Job title: Attorney, partner Yturri Rose, LLP law firm
Community involvement: Ontario School Board member, member of the Eastern Oregon University Foundation board and the Oregon Historical Society Board of Directors; former chair of the St. Peter Elementary School Board, served on the Oregon Water Resources Commission from 1988 to 1996, past member of the Project Dove Board of Directors.
Name: Tim Smith
Family: Wife Holly; two children
Job title: Rancher, geologist
Community involvement: Chairman of the Harney County Republican Central Committee, Vice Chair of the Second Congressional District, Oregon Republican Party, chair of the Oregon Republican Party Rural-Urban Bridge Committee, chair of the ORP Credentials Committee and member of the state Groundwater Advisory Board for the Oregon Water Resources Commission.
Endorsements: Former Oregon Governor Vic Atiyeh, Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron Saxton, former state legislator Kevin Mannix and former Oregon House of Representatives member Denny Jones.
Name: Deon Strommer
Family: Wife Amy; eight children
County of residence: Baker
Job title: Small business owner (Subway restaurants in La Grande and Baker City) and licensed mortician.
Community involvement: Baker School Board Member, Union-Baker Education Service District Member.
Endorsements: Former District 60 Representative Tom Butler