Cliff Bentz
Cliff Bentz 117th U.S Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oregon's 2nd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2021
Preceded byGreg Walden
Member of the Oregon Senate
from the 30th district
In office
January 4, 2018 – January 2, 2020
Preceded byTed Ferrioli
Succeeded byLynn Findley
Member of the Oregon House of Representatives
from the 60th district
In office
January 22, 2008 – January 4, 2018
Preceded byTom Butler
Succeeded byLynn Findley
Personal details
Born
Cliff Stewart Bentz

(1952-01-12) January 12, 1952 (age 70)
Salem, Oregon, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)
Lindsay Norman
(m. 1987)
Children2
EducationEastern Oregon University (BA)
Lewis and Clark College (JD)
WebsiteHouse website

Cliff Stewart Bentz (born January 12, 1952) is an American lawyer, rancher, and politician serving as the U.S. representative for Oregon's 2nd congressional district. A member of the Republican Party, he is the ranking member on the House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife and sits on the House Judiciary Committee.[1] He previously served in the Oregon Senate, representing the 30th district in Eastern Oregon. He also served in the Oregon House of Representatives, representing the 60th district, which encompasses Malheur, Baker, Harney, and Grant counties, and part of Lake County, and includes the cities of Baker City, Burns, and Ontario.[2]

In May 2020, Bentz won the Republican primary for Oregon's 2nd congressional district and faced Democrat Alex Spenser and Independent Patrick Archer in November. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on November 3, 2020.

In February 2021 he was made ranking member of the Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife.

Early life and education

Bentz was born in Salem, Oregon, and raised on ranches in the eastern Oregon communities of Fields and Drewsey. He graduated from Regis High School in the Willamette Valley city of Stayton in 1970.[2][3] He received a bachelor's degree from Eastern Oregon State College (now Eastern Oregon University) in 1974 and a J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School in 1977.[2][3]

Career

From 1977 to 1980, Bentz was a law associate with the Ontario, Oregon, law firm Yturri Rose, and was made a partner in the firm in 1980, a position he still holds. He specializes in agricultural, water, and real property law. He also owns a 100-acre alfalfa farm.[2][3]

Early political career

Bentz began his career as a member of the Oregon Water Resources Commission from 1988 to 1996.[4] He served as chair of the commission from 1994 to 1996.[4]

Oregon legislature

In 2008, Bentz was appointed by county commissioners in House District 60 to replace Tom Butler in the Oregon House of Representatives after Butler resigned to pursue a church mission.[5] He defeated Tim K. Smith in the Republican primary in May 2008, and was unopposed in the general election.[6][7] In 2010, Bentz won another term unopposed in both the primary and the general election.[8]

On January 8, 2018, Bentz was sworn in as state senator to replace Ted Ferrioli, who resigned to take a political appointment.[9] Bentz resigned his seat in the Oregon House and was appointed to the senate seat by the county commissioners in the senate district.[9]

Since 2018, Bentz's largest campaign contributors have been Ironside Associates, a London-based security firm; his brother James Bentz; and his farm, Actin Ranch.[10]

Beginning June 20, 2019, all 11 Republican state senators for Oregon, including Bentz, refused to show up for work at the Oregon State Capitol, instead going into hiding, some even fleeing the state. Their aim was to prevent a vote on HB2020, a cap-and-trade proposal that could lower greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to combat climate change, in part by increasing fuel taxes. The Senate has 30 seats. Without the Republican senators, the remaining 18 Democratic senators could not reach a quorum of 20 to hold a vote.[11][12] Republican state senators, including Bentz, continued their boycotts in 2020 to prevent the passage of climate change mitigation response, and 2021, after he left for Congress.[13]

Committee assignments

Bentz served as vice-chair of the following committees: Transportation and Economic Development, Revenue, Joint Tax Credits, Revenue, Tax Expenditures, Carbon Reduction, and Finance and Revenue. He co-chaired the Transportation Committee and was a member of others.

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

2020

See also: 2020 United States House of Representatives elections in Oregon § District 2

Bentz resigned from the Oregon State Senate effective January 2, 2020, to run in the 2020 election for Oregon's 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives.[14] He won the Republican primary and defeated Democrat Alex Spenser and Independent Patrick Archer in the general election.[15]

Tenure

Bentz sworn into office
Bentz sworn into office

In the aftermath of the January 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol, Bentz was reported to have been sheltering in place during the event. In a phone interview with Oregon Public Broadcasting, he declined to call Joe Biden the president-elect, but said any outcome where Biden does not take office was "highly unlikely".[16][17] The next day, Bentz joined 139 U.S. representatives who objected to Pennsylvania's electoral votes.[18] On January 8, Bentz acknowledged that Biden would become president.[19]

On May 19, 2021, Bentz was one of 35 Republicans who joined all 217 Democrats present in voting to approve legislation to establish the National Commission to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol Complex meant to investigate the storming of the U.S. Capitol.[20][21][22]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Political positions

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Veterans Affairs

On March 3, 2022, Bentz and many other Republicans voted against the Honoring our PACT Act of 2021. Bentz was the only member of Oregon's House delegation to do so.[26]

On January 12, 2022, Bentz voted against the Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act, which would expand eligibility for educational assistance under the G.I. Bill.[27]

Abortion

Bentz describes himself as pro-life, saying, "I believe that life begins at conception and that life should be protected until death by natural causes occurs." He supports abortion only when the mother's life is at risk.[28][non-primary source needed]

In 2019, Oregon Right to Life gave Bentz the Atterberry Award, which recognizes Oregon legislators who "are tenacious in their public defense of Oregon’s vulnerable."[29]

Health care

Bentz has said: "I strongly oppose government run healthcare... I believe Obamacare should be replaced with solutions that focus on free market principles to help drive down the skyrocketing cost of healthcare."[30]

On March 31, 2022, Bentz voted against the Affordable Insulin Now Act, which would cap the cost-sharing of insulin to $35 or 25% of the negotiated price (whichever is lower) for private insurance and $35 for Medicare.[31]

Immigration

Bentz touring the Eugene Amtrak Depot
Bentz touring the Eugene Amtrak Depot
Bentz and Mike Card, Chairman of the American Trucking Associations, talk about the Oregon Route 62 Expressway Project
Bentz and Mike Card, Chairman of the American Trucking Associations, talk about the Oregon Route 62 Expressway Project

Bentz has said Americans need to support President Trump's efforts to stop illegal immigration.[citation needed]

2020 presidential election

Bentz joined the Republican members of Congress who sided with the Trump campaign's attempts to overturn the 2020 United States presidential election. Bentz voted not to certify Pennsylvania's electoral votes.[32]

Electoral history

Oregon's 2nd Congressional District Republican primary, 2020[33]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Cliff Bentz 37,045 31.4
Republican Knute Buehler 25,976 22.0
Republican Jason Atkinson 22,966 19.5
Republican Jimmy Crumpacker 21,117 17.9
Republican Travis A. Fager 4,201 3.6
Republican Jeff Smith 2,494 2.1
Republican Mark R. Roberts 1,307 1.1
Republican Justin Livingston 1,306 1.1
Republican David R. Campbell 410 0.3
Republican Glenn Carey 280 0.2
Republican Kenneth W. Medenbach 262 0.2
Republican Write-in 447 0.4
Total votes 117,811 100.0
Oregon's 2nd congressional district, 2020[34]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Cliff Bentz 273,835 59.9
Democratic Alex Spenser 168,881 36.9
Libertarian Robert Werch 14,094 3.1
Total votes 457,433 100.0

Personal life

Bentz and his wife, Lindsay, a veterinarian, live in Ontario and have two children.[2] Bentz has six siblings. He was born to Kenneth and Anne Bentz and raised on family ranches in Harney County. Bentz's grandfather Paul Stewart moved to Harney County in 1916 and purchased a small ranch, slowly trading ranches until he got the current family ranch. Bentz is a devout Roman Catholic and attends Blessed Sacrament Church in Ontario.[35] He chaired the St Peter Catholic grade school board for five years.[citation needed]

References

  1. ^ "Committees and Caucuses". Representative Cliff Bentz. January 3, 2021. Retrieved December 21, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Representative Cliff Bentz". Oregon State Legislature. Archived from the original on July 28, 2012. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "Cliff Bentz". Project VoteSmart. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Bioguide Search". bioguide.congress.gov.
  5. ^ "Attorney Cliff Bentz to finish Butler's term". The Oregonian. January 22, 2008. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  6. ^ "May 20, 2008, Primary Election Abstract of Votes". Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  7. ^ "November 4, 2008, General Election Abstracts of Votes". Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  8. ^ "November 2, 2010, General Election Abstracts of Votes". Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
  9. ^ a b Friedman, Gordon R. (January 8, 2018). "Cliff Bentz sworn in to Oregon Senate". OregonLive.com. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  10. ^ "Orestar Elections Data". April 11, 2018. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  11. ^ "Oregon Republicans walk out on state Senate over climate change bill as governor threatens police roundup". CBS News. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  12. ^ Osborne, Mark; Youn, Soo (June 23, 2019). "Oregon's Republican state senators go into hiding over climate change vote amid militia threat". ABC News. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  13. ^ Oregon Senate Republicans walk out for 3rd straight year, citing governor’s COVID-19 restrictions, Oregon Live, February 25, 2021. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
  14. ^ "Cliff Bentz resigns, will run for Dist. 2". Hood River News. November 27, 2019. Retrieved February 8, 2020.
  15. ^ "Race For Congress: Cliff Bentz Takes Primary Win In Historic GOP Power Shift". opb. Retrieved December 21, 2021.
  16. ^ Emily Cureton, "Oregon’s only GOP congressman challenges Electoral College count," OPB Jan. 6, 202 at https://www.opb.org/article/2021/01/06/oregon-rep-cliff-bentz-electoral-college-challenge/
  17. ^ Gary A. Warner, "Bentz, newly sworn in as congressman, backs bid to upend presidential vote count," Baker City Herald Jan 4, 2021 at https://www.bakercityherald.com/news/local/bentz-newly-sworn-in-as-congressman-backs-bid-to-upend-presidential-vote-count/article_1d61ad8c-4ed9-11eb-88a8-b7e76462aff8.html
  18. ^ Karen Yourish, Larry Buchanan and Denise Lu, "The 147 Republicans Who Voted to Overturn Election Results," New York Times, January 7, 2021, at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/01/07/us/elections/electoral-college-biden-objectors.html
  19. ^ "Oregon's only GOP congressman challenges Electoral College count". opb. Retrieved December 21, 2021.
  20. ^ LeBlanc, Paul (May 19, 2021). "Here are the 35 House Republicans who voted for the January 6 commission". CNN. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  21. ^ Roll Call 154 Bill Number: H. R. 3233 117th Congress, 1st Session, United States House of Representatives, May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  22. ^ How Republicans voted on a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Washington Post, May 19, 2021. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  23. ^ "Committees and Caucuses | Representative Cliff Bentz". bentz.house.gov. January 3, 2021. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  24. ^ "MEMBERS". RMSP. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  25. ^ "Homepage of Republican Governance Group". Republican Governance Group. December 14, 2019.
  26. ^ "Roll Call 57 Roll Call 57, Bill Number: H. R. 3967, 117th Congress, 2nd Session". March 3, 2022.
  27. ^ Washington, U. S. Capitol Room H154; p:225-7000, DC 20515-6601 (January 12, 2022). "Roll Call 6 Roll Call 6, Bill Number: H. R. 1836, 117th Congress, 2nd Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  28. ^ "Issues". Cliff Bentz for Congress. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  29. ^ "Atteberry Award Recognizes Pro-Life Legislators". Oregon Right to Life. November 2, 2019. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  30. ^ "Healthcare". Cliff Bentz for Congress. March 25, 2020.
  31. ^ Washington, U. S. Capitol Room H154; p:225-7000, DC 20515-6601 (March 31, 2022). "Roll Call 102 Roll Call 102, Bill Number: H. R. 6833, 117th Congress, 2nd Session". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  32. ^ Stevens, Harry (January 7, 2021). "How members of Congress voted on counting the electoral college vote". Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  33. ^ "UNOFFICIAL PRIMARY ELECTION MAY 19, 2020". Oregon Secretary of State. May 21, 2020. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  34. ^ "UNOFFICIAL GENERAL ELECTION NOVEMBER 3, 2020". Oregon Secretary of State. November 3, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  35. ^ Ryvall (March 25, 2020). "Life". Cliff Bentz for Congress. Retrieved May 21, 2020.