Oregon Senate District #16 Democrats Nominate Three Candidates for Betsy Johnson’s Seat; County Commissioners to Select Replacement

By Mary McGinnis, for the Tillamook County Pioneer

Democratic Party Precinct Committeepersons (PCPs) from the five counties in state district #16 met at the Seaside Convention Center on Monday, January 3rd and nominated three candidates for appointment to fill the seat vacated by Betsy Johnson. Tillamook, Clatsop, Columbia, and parts of Washington, and Multnomah Counties are in district # 16.  Tillamook County was well-represented with 21 PCPs in attendance of the total 76.

Senate District #16 candidates – Melissa Busch, Rachel Armitage and Nadia Gardner
The PCPs nominated Rachel Armitage from Columbia County, Melissa Busch from Columbia County, and Nadia Gardner from Clatsop County. One of the three nominated candidates will be appointed by the county commissioners in district # 16 to fill that seat until the November 2022 election. Eight candidates had applied for nomination.

Rachel Armitage has worked as an assistant in the Oregon Legislature.
“I am so thankful to all the PCPs who voted for me. I will work hard to bring our needs to the Senate. I’ve had many conversations about the challenges folks across our district are facing. I’ve heard stories about teachers and nurses unable to fill needed jobs because they can’t find affordable housing. People are worried about how they’re going to go to work if they can’t find childcare. We are also still in the middle of a pandemic that has changed all of our lives. I am ready to get to work addressing these issues. As a lifelong Oregonian and the daughter of a teacher and a pastor, I know that community is often what gets us through hard times. Salem needs someone who brings us together even when we have strong disagreements—who will be an independent voice for rural Oregonians.”

Melissa Busch is a nurse who visits patients and their families in their homes. “I want to thank all of the Precinct Committeepersons, who are dedicated community members and voters, who sacrificed their holidays to participate in this democratic process. I am running to be our next Senator because my work as a nurse in our district has taught me so much about the daily lives of the folks in Senate District 16, and the needs of working families, kids, and our aging and disabled community members. I am dedicated to addressing the issues standing in the way of the health, well-being, and prosperity of the constituents of the district, and I am ready to work hard now, and through the election in 2022.” Melissa has already filed to also run for the seat in 2022.

Nadia Gardner, is a conservation project manager and consultant. “I am so thankful for the PCPs votes and support. This nomination has been an energetic process, and I learned from talking with PCPs about their needs. I will bring local concerns to Salem. If we have learned anything from the past two years, it’s that too many of our neighbors are living on the edge. I will bring my many years in local government experience and my scientific approach to address our biggest challenges and lift up everyone in our communities.”

Clatsop, Columbia, Multnomah, Tillamook, Washington, and Yamhill County Commissions will hold a joint meeting on January 14th to select Johnson’s replacement. The term for that Senate seat runs through 2022.