- Oregon State Representative, 1988-1993.
- Oregon State Senator, 1994-2001.
- Senate Majority Leader, 1991-1999.
- Senate President, 2001.
About Pres. Derfler
Gene Derfler spent the first portion of his career as a successful small businessman. He ran a furniture and appliance store for 30 years, then sold the business. He then worked in real estate for three years before turning his skills and attention to state politics.
The primary reason for Derfler getting involved in politics was worker’s compensation. He had issues with some of his young employees abusing the system. Derfler ran for the legislature on the basis that he wanted to make a correction to the worker’s compensation system in Oregon. He won a seat in the House of Representatives in 1988 and held that seat until 1993.
As he ran on it, one of his overriding interests was the reform of issues involving worker’s compensation. Over the course of several sessions, he and Kevin Mannix guided the reform of the worker’s compensation, in what Derfler considers one of his key legislative accomplishments. In 1994, he ran for and won a seat in the Oregon Senate, a post he held until 2001. Family Medical Leave, Workfare, JOBS Plus and changing the rules for state employee collective bargaining were other legislative reforms that Derfler proudly takes credit for creating and implementing.
For two sessions, Derfler served as Senate Majority Leader. In his final session in the Senate in 2001, he served as the President of that body. Being in the majority party in the legislature allows control over issues and bills, and Gene Derfler relished that power. He took it seriously in making certain that the work of the people was done and done well. “It takes a lot of work and common sense to get people to come and be on your side.”
– Interview recorded February 10, 2017