Salem switcharoo gives city new representation

Scott Swanson

Of The New Era

Fred Girod was sworn in Wednesday, Jan. 30, as the new State Senator from District 9, which includes Sweet Home.

Oregon Supreme Court Justice Martha Lee Walters administered the oath of office to Girod in the Senate chamber. Girod, R-Lyons, replaces Sen. Roger Beyer, R-Molalla, who stepped down earlier this month.

“It truly is an honor to represent the most beautiful Senate District in the state,” said Girod. “I will strive to continue the legacy of Roger Beyer as I serve and represent my constituents. I am excited to get to work.”

Girod’s committee assignments have not yet been announced, but he plans on continuing work on the priorities he championed as a representative.

“My top priority is making sure the needs of rural Oregon are represented,” said Girod. “I will continue fighting for 24/7 state police coverage and a policy that makes sense when it comes to utilizing our state and federal forest lands.”

Girod was appointed by a unanimous vote of the Marion, Linn and Clackamas County commissioners to complete the remainder of Beyer’s term.

Girod has owned a dental practice in Stayton for 26 years. He graduated from Stayton High school and Oregon State University, earned his DMD from Oregon Health Sciences University and received a Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University. Girod was elected to the House of Representatives in 2006. He has two children and two grandchildren.

Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day) welcomed Girod, saying that “Fred Girod is going to be a strong voice in the State Senate. He will be able to hit the ground running and get to work on the issues that matter to Oregonians. Senate Republicans are excited to welcome him to our caucus.”

Commissioners from Clackamas, Linn and Marion Counties met Monday night, Jan. 28, to appoint a new state senator. The commissioners unanimously chose Girod from a slate of three candidates. Girod will be officially sworn in on Wednesday.

“I am honored to continue looking out for rural Oregon in the State Senate,” Girod said. “I hope to continue efforts to add more state police to our highways and bring common sense to how we manage our state and national forest lands.”

He said he plans to be more visible in his district than Beyer, who was rarely seen in public in east Linn County.

“I really do plan to make an effort – I’ll be down there quite a bit,” he said.

He said his goal will be to promote Republican legislative priorities, which will emphasize:

– restoration of the Big Look Commission and relaxation of overly restrictive land use laws in rural communities;

– finding ways to get funding to counties crippled financially by the U.S. Senate’s decision last year to strip away a four-year extension of the safety net for rural counties dependent on timber revenues;

– the hiring of more Oregon State Police officers to provide 24-hour coverage on state highways, seven days a week. Girod says there’s also a push to get OSP hiring priority for law enforcement officers laid off by financially strapped counties;

– establish required documentation that a person is in Oregon legally before they can be granted a driver’s license; and

– restore General Fund dollars cut from the governor’s recommended 2007-09 budget that allow seniors to receive care in their own homes.

On a more personal level, Girod has introduced a bill to request that the National Parks Service evaluate Silver Falls as a potential national park.

He’s also one of four legislators appointed to the governor’s 18-member Federal Forest Payments and County Services Task Force, the purpose of which is to explore solutions for rural counties facing devastating cutbacks in services due to the lack of federal funding.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to, first of all, get money from Congress, and then to figure out how we’re going to deal with the shortfall,” he said.