State Sen. Jason Atkinson not running for re-election

by NW Spotlight

Jeff Mapes at the Oregonian is reporting that Sen. Jason Atkinson (R-Central Point) won’t be running for re-election this year. The article notes that Atkinson has asked State Rep. Wally Hicks, R-Grants Pass, to run in his place.

March 6, 2012 press release from Senator Jason Atkinson:

Atkinson will not seek re-election

Salem, OR – Senator Jason Atkinson (R-Central Point) announced Tuesday he will not file for re-election to the State Senate. Atkinson has served in the legislature for fourteen years.

“I believe there is no higher calling than public service,” said Atkinson. “It has been the privilege of my life to serve in the Oregon Senate. I love the institution and the people in the Capitol. After a lot of prayer and personal anguish I believe it is best for my family for me to take a break and not be on the ballot in 2012. I look to return to service in the future and trust the issues I believe in and the people I work for are in good hands.”

Atkinson was elected to the House of Representatives in 1998, where he served as Assistant Majority Leader. Atkinson ran for the Senate in 2000, where he has served as Deputy Majority Leader, Majority Whip and a committee co-chair. Atkinson has been re-elected to the Senate twice, winning nominations from both the Republican and Democratic parties. Atkinson was a candidate for Governor in 2006. That same year he authored the book, “What We All Wish Politicians Understood.”

One of Atkinson’s persistent legislative priorities was ensuring that Oregon teachers and students have the budget certainty they need and deserve. For many sessions, Atkinson fought for a constitutional, 81 day deadline for passing the K-12 budget. The 2011 Legislature passed the K-12 budget within Atkinson’s 81 days.

Atkinson’s other legislative accomplishments include establishing Oregon’s Crater Lake license plate program, restructuring Oregon’s energy policy, and protecting fish habitat. An avid outdoorsman, Atkinson is a recognized conservation trail blazer.

Atkinson has developed a reputation as someone who has stood up to special interests and has served as a constant voice for civility and kindness in public discourse. Atkinson office has the reputation for being one of the busiest offices for constituent service. Atkinson said, “That’s the part of the job I love the most- fixing problems for people.”

Jason Atkinson has become a sought after speaker around the country and over the past decade developed diplomatic relationships and experiences in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Central America.

Atkinson has also become known for his passion for the institution of the Oregon Senate and the Capitol. He led an effort to protect and maintain the capitol building and its grounds by turning it into a state park. He personally spearheaded the restoration of skylights and brass handrails in stairwells of the original building, and recently re-created a cloak room in the Senate Chamber that dates back to its construction. Atkinson is also known for studying and passing on the stories and lore of the legislature to members and staff as well as founding the Floyd McMullen Fire Brigade.

In recent years, Atkinson has begun producing films based on his love of history and the outdoors.

Atkinson earned a Master of Management degree from the Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Oregon University double majoring in History and Political Science. He was a inaugural member of the Aspen Institute’s Rodel Fellowship. Atkinson also has a background in professional alpine skiing, mountain and road bike racing in the US and Europe.

Atkinson, his wife Stephanie and son, Perry “Pomp,” currently live in Southern Oregon. They will be sorely missed.