Gary Wilhelms enjoyed a forty-year career with USWEST Communications and its predecessor companies, retiring as Director-Government Relations at the end of 1996. He has over forty years experience in Oregon politics and public affairs including four sessions as a member of the Oregon House of Representatives where he served from Klamath County, seventeen years as a lobbyist, and seven sessions as a key member of Oregon’s legislative staff including two as Chief of Staff for the Speaker of the House.
He served as House Minority Leader in 1979. He is a Past President of the Capitol Club, Oregon’s professional lobbyist organization, and has also served as a member of the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. In 2005-2006, he Co-Chaired the Public Commission on the Oregon Legislature, and in 2012-2013, he was Chair of the Capitol Master Plan Review Committee.
Gary is an original member of the Oregon State Capitol Foundation. Frankie Bell and Wilhelms, then assistant to the president of the Senate, approached Sen. Verne Duncan about spearheading legislation to form the Foundation. Passionate about the organization’s mission since day one, Wilhelms continues to play an active role on the Board. He is recognized as a straight talker and a solution seeker.
He and his wife, Gail, have been married for more than 50 years and now reside in Washington County. They have four grown children and four grandchildren.
In 2010, Gary completed his college studies and received his B. S. degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Eastern Oregon University at the age of seventy-two.