Senate District 08

October 19, 2014
The candidates in District 8 are Betsy Close (R), of Albany and Sara Gelser (D), of Corvallis.
BETSY CLOSE was appointed in October 2012 to the Oregon Senate, to serve the unexpired term of Senator Frank Morse who resigned.  She had previously served 3 terms as Representative, from 1999 through 2004, first from House District 36, which was renumbered to be District 15 for the 2003 session.  Her ability was recognized by the Party which named her Assistant Majority Leader.  She was in the Legislature during the early days of OFIR and in 2003, she introduced a bill at OFIR’s request, HB 2578, calling for proof of citizenship to obtain a driver license.  The bill did not pass then, but later after years of effort by OFIR and others, a similar bill did pass in 2008.
As a Senator in 2013, she voted against SB 833, the bill granting driver cards to illegal aliens, and against HB 2787, the bill giving instate tuition to illegal aliens.  The 2014 bill, HB 4054, changing the ballot title for the referendum on SB 833, did not reach the Senate; strong and widespread opposition stopped it after passing the House.
Sen. Close describes her background as the daughter of educators and a teacher herself,  on her campaign website at  She can be contacted through a webform on her website.
SARA GELSER has a campaign website at, listing the organizations supporting her; the top listed one is SEIU Local 503, a union that has contributed $100,000 to the YES on Safe Roads PAC, the main group campaigning for driver cards for illegal aliens.
She has served as Representative from Oregon House District 16 since 2005, replacing Kelley Wirth who resigned in November 2005.  In 2008 she was one of 15 Democrats in the House to vote No on SB 1080, the bill to require proof of citizenship for driver license applicants.  The bill passed the House 45-15 and is now law.  In 2011, she was a sponsor of SB 742 granting in-state tuition to illegal aliens; that bill passed the Senate but failed to pass the House.
In 2013 she was again a sponsor of an in-state tuition bill, HB 2787, that passed the Legislature on March 21.  On April 30, she voted Aye on SB 833, the bill giving driver cards to illegal aliens, and later, in 2014, also voted Aye on HB 4054 that would have changed the ballot title on the veto referendum on SB 833 to a wording favorable to supporters of SB 833.