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ROSEBURG, Ore. - Commissioners from five different counties came together in Roseburg on Monday, April 7, to appoint a temporary replacement for resigned Senator Jeff Kruse.
Kruse officially resigned on March 15 due to allegations from several women of sexual misconduct. Some of these women were senators, including Senator Sara Gelser of Corvallis.
Kruse denied the allegations but said he's resigning so his colleagues can "focus on serving Oregonians without distraction and my constituents may receive the fullest representation they are due."
The commissioners present for the vote represented Douglas, Coos, Curry, Jackson, and Josephine counties. They chose between three candidates, Dallas Heard of Douglas County, Karl Shank of Coos Bay, and Valynne Currie of Douglas County. Dallas Heard was selected by a nearly unanimous vote.
Community members said it was important to them to see someone appointed that they felt represented this part of the state and understood how their needs may differ from, say, the northern part of Oregon.
"We look for people who we feel we can depend on and who will support the things that the county would like to see in the legislative session," said Fred Dayton, the chairman of the Douglas County Republican Party.
Heard said he feels as a born and raised Douglas County resident, he's qualified for the job and he can't wait to get to work.
"I take the responsibility quite seriously, and we have some big issues that can't be kicked down the road ten years from now," said Senator Heard. "The millennials are going to be looked to to pay for a lot of these issues."4
At 33 years old, Heard will be the first millennial Senator in the Oregon State Senate.