Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, R. HD 17, currently serves on eight, count them, eight committees this during the 2019 Oregon Legislative Session – almost as many committees as years she’s been an elected legislator.
Her strong work ethic serves her well as she is a chief sponsor of HB 3016 that will appropriate dollars to Department of Fish and Wildlife for restoration of steelhead fish hatcheries on the Santiam River. “Wild fish and hatchery fish can co-exist just fine,” said Sprenger. “Sports fishing and for that matter hunting is an economic driver in rural communities like mine.”
People from urban areas like to spend vacations recreating on Detroit Lake or fishing in many of the rivers or hunting on the vast lands District 17 offers.
Sprenger remains steadfast that natural resources be used for public enjoyment and sustenance in a climate where environmental protectionist misinformation looms large.
One need not doubt her toughness and dedication to a job – and natural resources in general — in a legislature where she and colleagues remain in a minority. She served for 10 years as a deputy sheriff for Grant and Benton counties.
Asked if she was the first woman to serve as a legislator in HD 17, she couldn’t honestly answer the question because she didn’t know. “I’m about the roll you have and the job you do, not about the gender. Never [have] been.”
Sprenger takes the attitude that she’s here to do a job just like anybody else and that’s where she’ll focus her efforts. “I like to build relationships with everybody I work with,” said Sprenger.
When the leadership of the Oregon Legislature decided to establish the Joint Committee on Capitol Culture, to work on the problem of sexual harassment, she respectfully requested there be equal bipartisan representation.
Because of the respect she shows and the relationships she has built, her request was honored, and she was appointed as a member of the Joint Committee on Capitol Culture where partisanship is equal, however women outnumber men by eight to four.
She reflected on the moments in her career where she could have sued to advance her career but chose not to. Sprenger acknowledged that it may mean she has had to work harder.
Sprenger lamented that the committee dealing with sexual harassment has yet to come up with some real solutions as first amendment rights of free speech becomes an issue. It’s still early in the legislative session which will sine die in June.