Top Oregon GOP state Sen. Dallas Heard unexpectedly announces resignation

A top Republican in the state of Oregon, state Sen. Dallas Heard, abruptly announced on Thursday that he would resign from his seat in the legislature on Jan. 1, the Conservative Brief reported.

“I am writing to inform you that I will be resigning my elected position as State Senator for Oregon Senate District 1 effective 12:01 am January 1st, 2023,” Heard said in a letter to his constituents.

“Thank you for being the kind of people who made it easy to stand up in Salem for the freedom and rights of all citizens during the COVID era,” he added. “I never had to question if the overwhelming majority in my district was with me in standing up for the few, the weak, the poor, and the oppressed.”

“My family must have my undivided attention”

The Oregon Statesman-Journal reported that state Sen. Heard formally announced his plan to resign in a one-sentence statement on Thursday but offered a bit more of an explanation for his decision in a separate statement released through the Senate Republican Caucus.

“I have decided that I need to retire for now from this level of public service, until my children are at an age where they are more ready to face the world on their own,” he said. “My family must have my undivided attention.”

Heard was first appointed to his seat in the state Senate in 2018 to replace a member who resigned over sexual harassment allegations and was in the middle of a term that ends in 2025. County commissioners from his district will appoint a replacement to serve the remainder of his term after potential nominees are named next year.

He did say, however, that he planned to run again for elected office once his children had “matured” in the coming years.

Republicans need to do more to win elections

“I have wrestled with this decision for the past several months,” Heard said of his resignation, according to the Oregon Capitol Chronicle. “In the end, I decided that until my sons are several years older, they must be my full focus and priority.”

In his letter to constituents, Heard warned, “The country as a whole has seen an ever-growing movement of evil rising that is determined to take our children’s hearts and minds away from their parents.”

He urged conservative Republicans to redouble their efforts to win in coming elections and added, “I hope to see in the near future a new generation of freedom-loving men and women rise and run for elected positions such as school boards and the legislature.”

End of his “stormy political career” … for now

The Associated Press reported that this announcement from state Sen. Heard marks an end, at least temporarily, to his “stormy political career” in Oregon, one in which he was just as likely to spar with members of his own party as he was with his Democratic opponents.

In March, he had suddenly resigned from his position as chair of the Oregon GOP over his assertion that his own party was internally making use of “communist psychological warfare tactics” against fellow Republicans who dissented from the “wickedness within” the GOP establishment, per the Statesman-Journal.

Heard was also a staunchly outspoken opponent of the state’s pandemic-related restrictions, especially mask mandates, and led several peaceful protests, including one which led to him being escorted from the Senate floor for refusing to wear a required face mask.

He had also ruffled a lot of feathers on both sides of the aisle when he led a peaceful protest outside the Oregon Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, in opposition to the disputed reported results of the 2020 election.

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