It's true, aides really do earn more than legislators

In a recent article, Dennis Richardson was quoted as saying that his assistant would be paid a higher salary than he would receive as a legislator. It seems this could be contributing to Oregon's financial problems. What are the salaries of legislators and their assistants?

— Kathy S., Medford

A Dec. 11 article in the Mail Tribune described state Rep. Dennis Richardson's plan to hire a Republican candidate who had lost in November to incumbent Sen. Alan Bates in District 3. Richardson cited Ashland Republican Dave Dotterrer's experience in handling budget issues, the main challenge of this legislative session.

In the article, Richardson said that as a legislative assistant, Dotterrer would earn a higher salary than Richardson, and that is, in fact, the case.

Richardson said he earns about $1,800 per month as a lawmaker. He has two assistants, one full time and one part time. The full-time assistant earns $2,500 per month, and the part-time assistant makes about $700 per month, according to a document Richardson submitted to the legislative administration office.

There are 150 legislative assistants working for 90 lawmakers in the Legislative Assembly, according to the legislative administration office. Keep in mind that legislative assistants do not have equal salaries. Their respective employers, meaning the lawmakers they work for, determine their salaries.

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