Oregon Democrats tap Majority Leader Julie Fahey as next House speaker

House Majority Leader Julie Fahey, D-Eugene, talks to reporters on Sunday, June 25, 2023, about the conclusion of the legislative session. (Ben Botkin/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

House Majority Leader Julie Fahey will likely be the next speaker of the Oregon House following a private vote among Democratic lawmakers on Monday evening.

Current Speaker Dan Rayfield, D-Corvallis, plans to continue serving through the 35-day short session, which begins Feb. 5. Democrats envision a formal vote to replace him as one of the last acts of the session.

Rayfield is running for attorney general, and some fellow Democrats were clamoring for a leader who would be dedicated to defending and expanding the party’s legislative majority without the distraction of a statewide campaign. The last House speaker, current Gov. Tina Kotek, initially planned to serve through her final short session but stepped down in early 2022 to focus on her campaign for governor.

“I’m deeply honored to have earned the Democratic caucus’s nomination for Speaker of the House. Right now, we’re 100% focused on ensuring that our February legislative session delivers real results on the issues Oregonians care most about,” Fahey said in a statement. “My commitment is to serve the people of Oregon with respect, common sense and collaboration as we tackle the biggest issues we’re facing across this state.”

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