• Oregon State Senator, 1974-2003.

About Sen. Hannon

Lenn Hannon was born in Roseburg, Oregon, and attended Southern Oregon State College from 1963-1964. He had a variety of jobs after graduation, working as a backhoe operator, truck driver, City of Medford employee and as an insurance agent. 

In 1974, union officials encouraged Hannon to run for the Oregon Senate. He defeated the incumbent he ran against by just thirty-seven votes. He represented District 26, in southern Jackson County. In 1978, he faced a primary challenge and switched parties from Democrat to Republican in 1980. His views were sometimes unaligned with social progressives, and he survived two recall attempts over his legislative career.

During his time in the legislature, he served on the Senate’s Joint Ways and Means Committee for two decades. By 2000, he served as the committee’s chair and helped develop a bipartisan solution to the 2002 budget crisis. When the Senate was evenly divided in 2003, Hannon and Peter Courtney became co-leaders in a unique power-sharing agreement. Courtney served as president, and Hannon as president pro tem.

Hannon was the second-longest-serving state senator in the history of the Oregon. Over his career, he used his seniority in the legislature to help secure funds for southern Oregon projects, including the Medford Armory, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Southern Oregon University. He became an advocate for the Oregon Food Bank and improving the level of mental health insurance coverage for Oregonians. In 2004, he ended his legislative career by accepting appointment to the Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision. He held the position until 2006.

– Interview recorded February 8, 2006