By Art Hyland
In what might be a prelude to the coming electoral storm nationally, there’s a new Oregon Republican state senator now in Salem. Betsy Close, Republican, was sworn in as District 8 State Senator by Oregon supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Ballmer at a ceremony in the Oregon Senate Chamber at the capitol in Salem October 26. Senate President Peter Courtney, presided over the ceremony.
Close had spent six years in the legislature, so was well-known to Courtney and others attending the ceremony that filled the senate floor. She is replacing Republican senator Frank Morse, who resigned from the Senate before finishing his term. Close was appointed by a vote from the county commissions of Linn and Benton counties, portions of which comprise District 8.Close’s Husband, Chris, and four of their five children and her 100-year-old mother were in attendance.
The invocation was given by Rick Fletcher, Pastor of the Close family’s church, Calvary Corvallis. Pianist Ryan Smith sang and played a traditional Irish song, Be Thou My Vision, which added a very nice touch to the ceremony. A reception followed, attended by our own Bruce Harmon, who had been active in her campaign for Benton County commissioner. She’s on the ballot for that position, which, if successful, will then be open for a replacement appointment.
Although the national Republican election is being waged by the grass-roots efforts begun by the Tea Party a few years ago, this particular ceremony was a result of a process heretofore dominated by Democrats in Oregon: resign and replace. This indicates that Oregon Republicans have decided to fight fire with fire as this form of creating political incumbents (who have tremendous advantages in re-election campaigns) is no longer being ceded to Democrats, who have long ago utilized this process to form their stranglehold in both Oregon’s Senate and House.
Just as the Romney campaign has been willing and able to match or surpass the alternative media and super pac areas so dominant by the ’08 Obama campaign, so too Oregon Republicans have learned to fight for political turf rather than allow Democrats to maintain the political power they so desperately hold onto. Their game is over. Conservatives are now in the battle in every possible venue. Congratulations to Senator Close.
(Note: All photos courtesy of Matt Close)