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A Tribute to Senator Allan Bates
8/10/16 by Senator Doug Whitsett, Oregon Senate District
Last Friday, Oregon unexpectedly lost one of its best. Senator Alan Bates died suddenly along the banks of the Upper Rogue River, following an afternoon of fly fishing with his son.
Alan was, first and foremost, an accomplished physician. He maintained a busy family practice, in Medford, for more than 30 years. He had earned the respect of his patients, his medical colleagues and the entire community he served.
Senator Bates represented that community in the Oregon Legislative Assembly for the past 16 years. I was fortunate to serve with Alan in the Oregon Senate during all three terms of my own political career.
“Doc Bates” worked hard to balance his professional and political jobs. He saw patients at his Medford office, during virtually every weekend, in order to be able to be in Salem when the Legislative Assembly was in session.
He, too, often made the four-hour trip down I-5 during the wee hours of the morning, or late at night, in order to serve both careers. Perhaps burning the candle at both ends finally caught up with this exceptional man.
Alan was almost unique is his ability to separate his medical and political careers.
As a doctor, he made his expertise and services readily available to everyone in need, including legislators in both chambers, on both sides of the aisle. His quick response and expert diagnosis was much appreciated by his colleagues and actually saved the lives of more than one legislator.
As a state Senator, he was passionate in his support for good medical services for the state’s children and underserved communities. His second passion was his untiring work to preserve the splendor of Oregon’s streams and rivers.
I sat beside Doc Bates for several years, on both the full Ways and Means Committee and the Emergency Board. We were constantly sharing notes and perspectives.
Although members of different political parties, it was truly amazing how often Alan, Gail and I agreed in principle on major political matters. Our colleagues often sat dumbfounded as we publicly shared our collective support or opposition on important issues.
Doctor Alan Bates was a gentleman, a professional, a statesman and a genuinely nice man. Gail and I were privileged to know him.
“Doc” can never be replaced, and we already miss him
Senate District 28
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