5 vie for Senate District 11


This is part of a series of stories about the candidates running in the May 17 primary election. Ballots will be mailed to voters on April 27.

For the first time in nearly a quarter century, Senate District 11 will not be represented by Peter Courtney, Oregon’s longest-serving lawmaker.

Courtney, a Salem Democrat, is retiring after 38 years in the Legislative Assembly. He has held the District 11 seat since 1999 and served in the House before that. He has been President of the Senate since 2003.

At the same time, the boundaries of District 11 were redrawn to now encompass Woodburn, Keizer and North Salem.

There are two Republicans vying for the primary election and three Democrats.

Republican Keizer Sen. Kim Thatcher has served as a senator for District 13 since 2015 and served as a state representative for 10 years prior.

The redistricting placed her home in District 11. She will face off in the GOP primary against small-business owner Marcello De Cicco.

Democrats will choose from Anthony Rosilez, executive director of the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission; Woodburn Mayor Eric Swenson; and attorney Richard Walsh, a former Keizer city councilman.

Kim Thatcher

Kim Thatcher is running for Oregon Senate District 11

Thatcher, 57, owns several construction-related businesses.

In an interview, Thatcher highlighted his record of championing responsible state government. She sponsored legislation that established the first state transparency website and improved access to public records.

Thatcher said she would like to see this transparency extended to spending on homelessness issues.

“I would like to know where our money is going. It would be nice to have an audit of all the different homeless programs that we have going on,” she said. “I would like to see an audit and a better assessment of our needs.”

In a press release, Thatcher said she also supports legislation requiring school districts to post education plans and programs online.

“This legislation aims to put parents in the driver’s seat of their children’s education and to make local government more transparent and accountable to them,” Thatcher said.

Similar bills are being pushed by Republican state lawmakers across the country in an effort to remove what they see as offensive lessons.

Thatcher ran for Secretary of State in 2020, losing to Shemia Fagan.

She said serving in the newly drawn district would allow her to focus more on local issues. Her current district encompasses parts of four counties, which sometimes had competing interests, she said.

Thatcher started 2022 with a campaign fund balance of $12,256, according to state campaign finance records. So far this year, she has raised $19,168 and spent $20,043.

Its largest recent donors are Associated General Contractors of America, Anheuser Busch Companies and Associated Oregon Loggers.

Marcello De Cicco

Political newcomer De Cicco, 56, is a small business owner.

The Keizer resident is a graduate of Carson City High School. He has no previous government experience.

De Cicco does not appear to have a campaign finance committee.

He did not respond to interview requests from the Statesman Journal.

Anthony Rosilez

Anthony Rosilez is running for Oregon Senate District 11

Rosilez, 53, a resident of Keizer, is a career educator and attorney who heads the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission.

Rosilez said he decided to run after the district boundaries were redrawn.

“This neighborhood is one of, if not the most diverse neighborhood in terms of demographics, industry, services, economy,” he said.

Rosilez is Latino and the first in his family to go to college. His background as an educator — ranging from substitute teacher to college administrator — gave him experience of the needs and challenges of the state’s more agricultural and conservative communities, he said.

Rosilez chairs Keizer’s Community Diversity Engagement Committee.

He said his nearly five years as head of the state agency regulating teachers gave him the opportunity to work with the legislature and experience the nuances of state policy.

“I’m the only candidate in this race who can say that I’ve not only been able to craft policy, but I can make policy work at the state level,” he said. he declares.

For example, he said, he was able to quickly put in place an emergency replacement teaching rule at the start of the pandemic to help people get into classrooms.

He said he wanted to work on homelessness issues, affordable housing and health care.

Rosilez was in the running for superintendent of Woodburn Schools, but said he pulled out after realizing it would be difficult to do the job and be a senator.

Rosilez raised $15,525 this year and spent $5,197.

Eric Swenson

Eric Swenson is running for Oregon Senate District 11

Woodburn Mayor Swenson, 60, is an instructor at Pacific University’s Woodburn Campus and previously worked as a teacher and administrator at Salem-Keizer and Woodburn Schools.

Swenson said he felt called to run for the Senate, based on his experiences as a student, and later working in bilingual schools.

He studied in Michoacán for a semester, learning to see his own country from a different perspective. He then spent two weeks in a Salvadoran refugee camp.

“Less than a month ago, it became clear that running for the Oregon Senate was what I was called to do – and had to do – and it was time for me to renew that fire. how I felt at 20 to look honestly at things that are wrong and participate in ways to fix them — now as a state senator,” Swenson said at his campaign launch event.

In Salem, Swenson served on the Salem Public Library Board and the Salem Area Transit Board. In Woodburn, he served on the Board of Directors and the City Parks Budget Committee, as well as the boards of Woodburn Proud, Woodburn Chamber of Commerce and Woodburn Rotary.

Swenson said his main issues were affordable housing, decent wages and affordable health care.

Swenson started 2022 with a campaign fund balance of $102. So far this year he has raised $6,530 and spent $1,023.

Richard Walch

Richard Walsh is running for Senate District 11.

Keizer Walsh’s attorney, 63, says voters will most likely remember him as the force behind the development of the 148-acre Keizer Rapids Park.

“I encountered many obstacles along the way,” he said. “We persevered. It took dozens of grants and years of work.

He is so passionate about the park that he rents a house on the Keizer Rapids property from the city, paying $1,733 a month for the 1,900 square foot home.

Walsh served as a Keizer councilor from 2000 to 2011 and served as chairman of the council in 2007 and 2008. He helped start Keizer’s curbside recycling program and helped set up the Keizer Station shopping center.

He was also a founding member of the board that created the Willamette Water Trail.

Walsh said his main problem was health care for all, that is, a single-payer system. He also wants to work on homelessness and affordable housing, as well as campaign finance reform.

Walsh pleaded guilty to drunk driving in 2011, an incident he calls the “worst mistake” of his life. He said his designated drive left him stranded and he thought he had waited long enough to drive.

“I learned my lesson,” he said. “It’s never happened since.”

Walsh has raised $21,730 so far this year and spent $3,999. His biggest contribution, $5,000, came from the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association.

Tracy Loew is a reporter for the Statesman Journal. She can be reached at [email protected], 503-399-6779 or on Twitter at@Tracy_Loew.


Comments are closed.