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Winters wins on bipartisanship, elder solutions

AARP honors the Senate Republicans' first leader of color for her bipartisan work and dedication to addressing issues facing elderly Oregonians

OREGON CAPITAL INSIDER FILE PHOTO - Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, and Sen. Jackie Winters pose for photos as they walk down a hallway in the Oregon Capitol in Salem in June 2017.Sen. Jackie Winters, R-Salem, came to leadership at just the right moment last year, in the midst of the #MeToo movement and a sexual harassment scandal involving her GOP colleague, Sen. Jeff Kruse of Roseburg.

She was the first Senate Republican leader of color in the state's history. In many ways, Winters could be considered a figure who embodies the best of society's goals.

AARP on Thursday also honored the longtime senator for her bipartisanship, a quality that itself seems in the minority in the midst of acrimony between Democrats and Republicans on the national level.

The organization bestowed on Winters the Ben Westlund "Down the Trail Award" and the "Capitol Caregivers" awards.

In addition to honoring bipartisanship, the award recognizes legislators who have helped address problems facing older Oregonians.

"I am so humbled by this award, named for my dear friend and colleague Ben Westlund," Winters said. "Like Ben, I, too, believe in finding bipartisan solutions to the problems we are facing as Oregonians."

Former treasurer of Oregon and lawmaker, Westlund was renowned for his ability to bring opposite sides together to find bipartisan solutions, Winters said.