Dan Rayfield will likely be Oregon’s next House speaker

State Representative Dan Rayfield is set to be the next speaker of the Oregon House after being officially nominated by Democratic representatives for the position.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that Rayfield, of Corvallis, prevailed Sunday in a tight race to replace longtime speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland. Kotek said she would step down to focus on her run for governor.

Rayfield won against state Rep. Janelle Bynum of Happy Valley, who had hoped to become the first black Speaker of the House in state history.

“I am deeply honored that my caucus has entrusted me with this nomination,” Rayfield said in a statement. “I recognize that this comes with a huge responsibility at a pivotal time for families in our state.”

Rayfield is almost certain to win a formal election by all 60 members of the House when the Legislative Assembly convenes on February 1. Her appointment comes just over a week after Kotek surprised many in her party by announcing she would step down on January 21.

In his own statement Sunday, Bynum praised Rayfield and repeated his assertion that Oregon must help ensure people of color have the opportunity to lead.

“I issue this challenge to the Democratic Party: Commit to mentoring, stepping back and creating pathways for leadership development,” Bynum said. “

Rayfield, 42, is a trial lawyer who was first elected to the House in 2014.

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