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Parrish heading to law school

Parrish lost to Democrat Rachel Prusak last year, when Portland suburbs became fertile ground for a 'blue wave' that gave Democrats a supermajority in the state legislature.

Julie ParrishAfter eight years of writing laws, former state lawmaker Julie Parrish has a new adventure: studying the law.

Parrish, a straight-talking Republican who represented Tualatin and West Linn for four terms, lost to Democrat Rachel Prusak last year, when Portland suburbs became fertile ground for a "blue wave" that gave Democrats a supermajority in the state legislature.

Parrish, however, a business consultant and expert couponer, has not stayed out of state politics since cleaning out her office in the state Capitol.

One project: organizing the #TimberUnity effort that grew out of opposition to House Bill 2020, a proposal to limit carbon emissions.

In a phone interview — sandwiched in between orientation activities at Willamette University's law school, where she'll start part time on Monday — she said she wanted to pursue public interest law to hold state and local government accountable.

Parrish said she was inspired by the late Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, who died in February.

"Dennis really believed that the law was the way to solve the problems of the state," Parrish said.

And she said she's not ruling out a future run for office, either.

"Obviously, the Secretary of State's race is very important to me," Parrish said, "And I'd love to support a very good candidate, should that person emerge. And I've told a lot of people, I'm reserving my right to be the candidate should the need come forward that we don't have one, or we don't have a candidate who I think can win in the general."

The 2020 field for Secretary of State is shaping up to be a crowded one, many months before the primary.

This week, Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton, said he wouldn't run for reelection to seek that office; Jamie McLeod-Skinner, who lost to U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., last year, plans to run for Secretary of State as well.

Rep. Dan Rayfield, D-Corvallis and Rep. Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, have been rumored to be interested in the post, as well as current Deputy Secretary of State Rich Vial, a Republican who represented the Scholls and the surrounding area in the House of Representatives for one term.