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Gail Whitsett beats Tracey Liskey to take District 56 seat in House

By SAMANTHA TIPLER, Herald and News 5/16/12

Gail Whitsett appeared late Tuesday to have eked out a narrow lead to win the Republican nomination for House District 56.

Votes were close — within 300 or 400 between Whitsett and Tracey Liskey in the first rounds of results from Klamath County. By 11 p.m. Whitsett had 4,153 total votes in Klamath County, or 52.89 percent and Liskey had 3,690 votes and 46.9 percent.

Early results from Lake County said Whitsett had 459 votes, or 53.87 percent, and Liskey had 393 votes, or 46.13 percent.

“I would really like to thank the people that supported me and voted for me,” Whitsett said around 10 p.m. Tuesday. “I am looking forward to the general election.”

As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, Liskey was ready to congratulate Whitsett on her win.

“We pretty much figure she’s the victor tonight,” he said. “We hope she does a good job for everybody.”

No Democrats ran in the primary election. Unless someone files before November, Whitsett will run unopposed.

Top priorities

If she wins the general election Whitsett said her top priority heading to Salem will be the economy and jobs.

“I’m trying to get private industry back into Klamath and Lake counties, utilizing natural resources like geothermal and forests,” she said. “Education is also on the top of my list.”

Whitsett is against the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement because of the precedent it sets for removing dams.

Whitsett has ser ved as chief of staff for her husband, state Sen. Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls, for seven years. She said her experience in Salem, along with her natural resources background as a geologist, will give her a leg up working in the capitol and addressing issues important to the Klamath Basin.

She credited that experience as her key to winning Tuesday’s election. While in Salem she said she listened to peoples’ concerns and as a representative she can turn listening into action.

“I’m good at listening and I intend to continue listening,” she said. “With a vote, now I can act on what I am hearing.”

Liskey is a third-generation Klamath Basin farmer, rancher and small business owner.

His top priority was to get Oregon working again. In his campaign, Liskey called himself a solutions-based person.

He said he plans to continue working on various committees and in his role as vice president of the Oregon Farm Bureau.

Liskey said he was watching voter returns all evening.

“It’s been a little sad but we ran a good race and we did everything we could,” he said. “We hold our heads up very high. I’m very proud of how we ran our race.”

H&N photos by Andrew Mariman

Mike Noonan, Tracey Liskey and Greg Addington await election results Tuesday night at Mia & Pia's Pizzeria and Brewhouse.



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              Page Updated: Wednesday May 16, 2012 01:41 PM  Pacific

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