James Manning

James Manning

Photo courtesy Oregon Senate Democrats

A vacant seat in the Oregon Senate will soon belong to an African-American Army veteran from Eugene. The Lane County Board of Commissioners made the selection Wednesday. 

Most political observers figured the seat would go to long-time state Rep. Val Hoyle.

The Eugene Register-Guard called James Manning’s appointment a “shock.” But Manning says it shouldn’t come as a surprise.

He’s a 24-year Army veteran and serves on the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs. He’s also served on the budget committee of a Eugene-area school district, something he says will help him find ways to tackle the state’s looming budget shortfall.

“I want to work with my colleagues up there to find out their views, because the issues that we’re having is pretty deep and I don’t have a silver bullet to solve this,” Manning said.

Manning ran for a seat in the Oregon House this year, but lost in the Democratic primary. In the Oregon Senate, he’ll serve the remaining two years of the term of Sen. Chris Edwards, who’s stepping down for a job at the University of Oregon.

The decision about whom to appoint was made by the five-member Lane County Board of Commissioners, which chose from a list of three candidates compiled by local Democratic party leaders.

Three of the commissioners chose Manning. Two voted for Hoyle, a state representative who will soon be out of a job.

Hoyle ran for Oregon secretary of state this year, but lost in the Democratic primary. Hoyle was once the leader of the Democratic caucus in the Oregon House.