ROSEBURG — Douglas County Commissioner Gary Leif has announced his candidacy to replace Rep. Dallas Heard — but with a caveat.
In a press statement to the Umpqua Post, Leif explained his rationale.
"Due to the recent announcement of Rep. Heard's intention to seek the open Senate position of Sen. Jeff Kruse, I am hereby announcing my candidacy to replace Rep. Heard as the Oregon State representative, House District 2 position," Leif wrote.
"I will seek this position only if he is successful in his bid for the Senate seat," Commissioner Leif emphasized. "I support Rep. Heard's move to the Senate because of his dedication and commitment to our citizens."
Reached by phone Friday, Leif covered more of his candidacy.
"We've met with everybody," Leif said, referring to his visits to Salem and the capitol, adding that "it's a new world, a new challenge."
He's met with various state representatives and former Sen. Kruse's assistant.
Kruse resigned in February after reports that he'd sexually harassed several fellow legislators.
Leif pointed to his credentials, saying "you know you see me in the community everywhere."
Again he praised Heard, saying "I think he's done an excellent job."
In his press release, Commissioner Leif wrote that Heard "brilliantly managed to run a business while successfully providing full representation to the citizens of Douglas, Josephine and Jackson counties."
Laughing a bit, Leif said although he's excited about the potential opportunity to serve in the Legislature, he's not too thrilled about the pay cut. As a county commissioner, Leif makes roughly $75,000 per year. If he were to be a new member of the Legislature on the other hand, he'd get a two-thirds pay cut.
"I have enjoyed being a county commissioner and especially serving the citizens of Douglas County," Leif wrote. "Although my position would change, I will still be representing the same people in Douglas County and a small portion of Josephine and Jackson counties."
Leif added that with his commissioner background, he has knowledge of how county government functions and how it's paid for — experience that would be essential in his candidacy.