Oregon House leader who oversaw Democratic wave to leave post
Jennifer Williamson, the Democratic majority leader of the Oregon House for the past four years, announced on Tuesday that she would not seek reelection to that posting, hinting at the same time that she may seek statewide office.
Williamson announced the move on Twitter after informing her caucus members, saying she was proud of their “big progressive victories” over her four years in the position.
“We’ve made our communities safer, invested in our kids, put more money in the pockets of working people and fought hard to protect our environment,” she said.
Williamson added that she hoped to serve “the entire state of Oregon” in another capacity.
As majority leader, Williamson sat atop an increasingly diverse and powerful caucus of Democrats and helped deliver her party a supermajority in the House for 2019, unlocking the ability to raise taxes without Republican support.
Her announcement left open the possibility that she would seek reelection as a state representative or to another office. She and her spokesman did not return voicemails Tuesday.
Political observers have long thought Williamson, a 45-year-old attorney, was building a resume to run for attorney general, though it is unclear if the current officeholder, Ellen Rosenblum, will seek reelection in 2020.
“Her passion in life is attorney general,” said a lawmaker who has spoken with Williamson about her ambitions.
The lawmaker, who asked not to be named to maintain political relationships, said Williamson had “flourished” as chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee and led its members to adopt major criminal justice reform bills under her tutelage.
Democrats will also be seeking a strong nominee to run for secretary of state, a position currently held by Republican Bev Clarno, who was appointed to the position after Oregon’s only statewide Republican officeholder, Dennis Richardson, died of cancer in February. It’s unclear if Williamson will vie for that office.