SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State Rep. Gary Leif died unexpectedly on Thursday, House Republican Leader Christine Drazan said in a statement.
Leif, was seven months into his third term as a GOP state representative for House District 2, which includes parts of Douglas, Jackson and Josephine counties. Previously, the lawmaker had been a Douglas County Commissioner.
He was 64. A cause of death wasn’t immediately available.
“I am deeply saddened by the unexpected loss of our friend and colleague Gary Leif,” Drazan said in a statement. “Gary’s sense of humor, his commitment to bipartisanship and his love of family and community marked his service in the Oregon Legislature.”
Colleagues of Leif described the lawmaker as patient, humble, hardworking and a mentor.
“Gary showed up his first day as County Commissioner ready to hit the ground running. His enthusiasm about serving this county was infectious, and he worked hard during his time as a County Commissioner,” Douglas County Commissioner Chris Boice said in a statement on Thursday.
According to the Douglas County Board of Commissioners, Leif was elected to be a commissioner in 2016, but vacated his position early to accept an appointment as representative for House District 2 — taking the place of Dallas Heard who was appointed to a state senate position.
Leif went on to run for the Oregon House of Representatives and was elected in 2018 and again in 2020.
“He truly loved Douglas County and dedicated his life to helping and serving others,” said Tom Kress, a Douglas County Commissioner. “This is a tremendous loss for our county.”