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Oregon District 4 Representative Dennis Richardson's Biography

Personal and Educational Background:

Dennis Richardson has been a resident of Southern Oregon since 1979. He grew up in Los Angeles, California, and volunteered for the U.S. Army in 1969. Dennis is a decorated, veteran helicopter pilot who served in Chu Lai, Viet Nam. After returning from Viet Nam, Dennis attended college and worked as a carpenter. In 1973, he married Cathy Coyl Richardson. They are the proud parents of one son and eight daughters-all have attended the excellent schools of Gold Hill, Rogue River and Central Point, and all have graduated from Crater High School. Dennis attended Brigham Young University, Harbor College, and various U.S. Army officer and pilot training schools. He completed his Bachelor Degree in 1976 and earned his law degree at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at B.Y.U. in 1979. His articles have been published in the B.Y.U. Law Review, Tax Digest, Real Estate Review, Colorado Bar Journal and Financial Freedom Report.

Occupational Background:

Since graduating from law school, Dennis has been a practicing attorney in Central Point. He owns the Law Firm of Dennis Richardson, P.C., and has successfully served his clients and community for 30 years. He has published articles in national journals on topics ranging from Condominium Conversions to Family Estate Trusts. Dennis began his law practice in the areas of General Law, Business, and Estate Planning. Since 1987, his law practice has focused on protecting the rights of Oregon consumers as an Insurance Plaintiff's attorney. The biography of Dennis Richardson is featured in Who's Who in the America and Who's Who in American Law. Being a small-town attorney has given Dennis the opportunity to use his legal training to benefit the community. When downtown Central Point was threatened with the opening of a pornography shop, only a few blocks from two elementary schools and several churches, Dennis joined the fight and the owner withdrew his application for the Adult Bookstore. (Many other Oregon communities have not been so fortunate.)

Prior Governmental Experience:

Dennis was elected to his first term as Oregon State Representative in 2002. However, his work on behalf of the people began as early as 1984 when as a young conservative, he was selected as Oregon's delegate for the grass-roots organization Citizens For America. Dennis was invited by the Reagan Administration to participate at the White House in a series of briefings by President Ronald Reagan and his Cabinet. A photograph of Dennis, standing in the White House with President Reagan, is proudly displayed on his office wall at the Capitol. Dennis served as Chairman of the Oregon Republican Party's Second Congressional District (1996-2000), and Treasurer of the Oregon State Republican Party (1999-2003). As ORP's Treasurer, Dennis had responsibility to represent the ORP's financial affairs with both the Oregon and Federal Election Commissions and Treasury Departments during the hotly contested and closely scrutinized 2000 Presidential election cycle. Dennis also served in his community as Chair of the Budget Committee for School District 6 and as a member of the Central Point City Council.

Since being elected to the Oregon State Legislature in 2003, Dennis has served on the House Environment and Land Use Committee, the House Trade and Economic Development Committee, House Committee on PERS Reform, Health Policy and multiple Joint Senate & House Ways & Means Committees. Through his committee work, Dennis worked tirelessly to restore property rights to Oregonians, to improve Oregon's business environment, to create family wage jobs, and to expand Oregon’s markets abroad. Dennis worked with other legislators to reform PERS by reducing the state's unfunded liability and restoring accountability to the PERS Board. He went further to propose a new retirement system that taxpayers could afford. Dennis also introduced legislation during the session, including a bill to protect education funding from future economic recessions.

Dennis has worked on many projects to benefit Oregonians. In an effort to expand Oregon's economy, he led trade missions to China in 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007. In 2008 he was invited to join a select group of state legislators and again travel to China as a delegation member for the National Conference of State Legislators. Dennis fights to keep taxes low in Oregon. He helped repeal the largest tax increase in Oregon's history, and fought to protect the traditional definition of marriage. As a result of his efforts to aggressively represent the voters of Oregon District 4, Dennis repeatedly has been re-elected as State Representative with more than 70 percent of the vote.

When asked for a lasting memory from his years of service in the Legislature, Dennis remembers the beginning of the 2005 Session, when he was elected unopposed by his colleagues from both parties to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Oregon House of Representatives. In addition, for the 2011-13 biennium, Dennis is serving as Co-Chair of the Joint House-Senate Ways & Means Committee. He enjoyed the challenge of overseeing the budget drafting duties of the Committee’s six sub-committees and working to ensure Oregon state government becomes more effective, efficient and economical.

Why would a successful attorney leave his practice to serve in the State Legislature? Dennis says he and Cathy made a conscious decision to pattern their lives after Benjamin Franklin, who believed that a person's first 50 years of life should be spent learning, earning and raising a family, and their last 50 years should be dedicated to giving back to society in the form of public service. To that end, Dennis Richardson is proud to be giving full-time service in the House of Representatives. He considers it an honor to represent the great citizens of District 4.

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