A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Next House speaker, an Albany lawyer

Written January 18th, 2022 by Hasso Hering

The front of the Oregon Capitol in Salem. It’s a file photo from a couple of years ago.

There’s something happening in Oregon politics that has happened only once before, 146 years ago. When the 2022 legislature convenes on Feb. 1, an Albany lawyer will become speaker of the House.

In case you have not heard, he is Rep. Dan Rayfield, the Democrat representing House District 16. He and his family live in Corvallis, but his law office is in Albany. He’s a partner in Nelson MacNeil Rayfield, based in the Wheelhouse Building on the Albany riverfront.

Democrats, who hold a majority of 37 in the 60-member House, nominated Rayfield Sunday to become speaker when the legislature begins this year’s short session on Feb. 1.

The Oregon Blue Book has, among a thousand and one other interesting things, a list of all the speakers of the Oregon House since 1860. The only one from Albany was J.K. Weatherford, who held the office during the session of 1876. He too was a lawyer, founder of the firm that still includes his name. (The firm, Weatherford Thompson, also is where Rayfield started his career after graduating from law school in 2006.)

Rayfield, 42, has been in the House since 2015. First elected the previous November, he’s been re-elected every two years since, gaining influence each session and serving as House chair of the budget-writing Joint Ways and Means Committee for the last two years.

Among the accomplishments he cites during the 2021 session was passage of his bill requiring that ballots postmarked by election day be counted if they arrive within seven days (or eight days if mailed from outside the county). Before now, ballots had to be in the hands of election officials by 8 p.m. on election day.

To read more about his legislative work, go to his website here. If you want to listen to him talk about his work as a lawyer, check his firm’s website here. That is also where you’ll find a nice new photo of the man — unlike the outdated one from my files, below. (hh)

This is from 2014, when Dan Rayfield was running for the House and appeared at a forum at Albany City Hall.



7 responses to “Next House speaker, an Albany lawyer”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Yet another white Oregon liberal…yawn.

    The Dems missed an opportunity to have a person of color lead them. It would have been historic – first Black speaker of the House in Oregon history.

    It was a secret ballot so we’ll never know what went on behind the curtain.

    • MarK says:

      Just what we need, another Brandon wanna-be.
      I guess it’s a good thing it wasn’t a person chosen by the color of their skin. We don’t need another Kramella.

  2. Al Nyman says:

    Admirable achievement to allow everybody with a postage meter on premises to commit fraud for another5 days. Anybody not smart enough to rig a postage meter is really stupid.

  3. Scott Bruslind says:

    Mr. Rayfield is whip-smart and articulate. Governance-first and considerate of opposing viewpoints, as one would expect in a competent attorney. House Ways And Means Co-Chair, so he’s intimate with the seedy mechanics of state money getting and spending.
    Good luck to him rebuilding decorum and consensus in a short session.
    Thank you for the links and the reference to Oregon’s Treasured Blue Book.

  4. James Engel says:

    Isn’t he very anti-gun??!!

  5. centrist says:

    The cross dogs are howling a d nipping at the very air.
    Noise without substance


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