Photo courtesy of the Oregon Legislature
Of the nine state representatives serving Marion County constituencies, four were freshmen in 2015. Rep. Mike Nearman was no stranger to the legislature, however. In his previous life as a software engineer, Rep. Nearman developed the Track Their Vote database and web site utilized by the Oregon Citizens' Lobby to track legislation and legislators in Salem. During the 2013-14 session he was a principal volunteer haunting the halls and offices of the Capitol.
After defeating incumbent Republican Rep. Jim Thompson in the 2014 primary, Rep. Nearman emerged from a crowded field of five (including an "organized" write-in campaign for Mr. Thompson) with 53% of the vote. In 2016, Rep. Nearman could have been excused for thinking he was channeling Bill Murray's character in the movie Groundhog Day. He faced three opponents, most prominently Mr. Thompson running under the Independent Party of Oregon banner. Even the result was largely the same: Rep. Nearman won re-election with about 53% of the vote across the four counties of the district.
For the 78th Legislative Assembly (2015-16) Rep. Nearman sat on the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Government Effectiveness and the House Committee on Higher Education, Innovation, and Workforce Development. The latter committee fit quite well with his stated focus to help Oregon's economy in general and small businesses, in particular, create jobs.
Rep. Nearman's committee assignments for the 79th Legislative Assembly should allow him to feel even more at home. He will serve on two sub-committees of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means: General Government along with Transportation and Economic Development. He joins the House Committee on Human Services and Housing and, most appropriately given his tech background, the Joint Committee on Legislative Information Management and Technology.
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