Conspicuous by his absence this session is former Sen. Dave Nelson (R), who had a distinguished career representing the Northeast corner of Oregon in eight regular sessions from 1997 through 2011. Beginning in 2003 Sen. Nelson was the only legally trained Republican Senator. With his departure, none of the 14 Republican Senators has been to law school.
Sen. Nelson grew up in Pendleton, and graduated from the University of Oregon in 1964. He moved to Montana where he managed a wheat farm which he later purchased. He graduated from the University of Montana Law School in 1967, and began practicing law in Conrad, Montana. He returned to Pendleton in 1981 after his father fell ill, and took over the family farm.
Sen. Nelson successfully ran for the Oregon Senate in 1996, and was re-elected in 2000, 2004 and 2008. Early in his legislative career he served on the business and judiciary committees in the Senate, and was elected majority leader in 2001. His work in later sessions focused on natural resources and economic development issues. Throughout his legislative career, Sen. Nelson placed high priority on extending technology infrastructure to the rural areas of the state.
Sen. Nelson returns to his wheat and canola farm in Pendleton, where he lives with his wife Alice. The Nelsons have four adult children and six grandchildren.