When Frank Morse announced his resignation from the Oregon Senate last week, the 30-member body — and the entire state — lost one of its most competent members. The Senate and the state also lost one of its most dedicated moderates whose hopefulness seems to be flagging.
"I have thought long and hard about this decision and I believe it is time for new energy," Morse told a hushed Senate chamber. "While serving in the legislature, I’ve worked harder than I have ever worked, but there comes a moment in one’s life when energy fades, and you know it is time to go. I love this state and I cherish the many friendships I’ve made in the legislature and throughout the state. While the work is not done, it is time for new energy to carry our state into the future."
In his final speech on the Senate floor, Morse also made a statement that, in retrospect, will characterize his state service. He urged lawmakers, one last time, to solve Oregon's tax and spending problems for "the sake of our children." Failure to do so is "destroying our state," he said. "It's destroying our schools."
Following a career as president and CEO of Morse Bros. Inc., a construction materials firm, Morse won election to the Oregon Senate in 2002. As The Oregonian put it in a story last weekend, he "was fit and well-groomed at 69 and always wore business suits and ties on the Senate floor. All business, he showed little patience for partisan antics or issues he deemed trivial."