Kevin Mannix is the most successful legislator in Oregon history (regardless of length of service) in getting bills through the legislature. He was the chief sponsor of 135 successful bills. Mannix has served in both houses of the Oregon Legislative Assembly, as a Democrat and, later, Republican.
He is better known, however, for his advocacy of statewide ballot measures. Mannix has authored several successful citizen initiatives as well as legislative referrals.
Ballot measure advocacy in 2008
In 2008, Mannix is supporting Oregon Ballot Measure 40 (2008), a ballot initiative that will impose mandatory minimum sentences on a variety of property-related offenses; specifically, drug-dealers, burglars and identity thieves. For the last 25 years, Oregon has had a higher crime rate than the rest of the country.
In February 2008, some members of the Oregon State Legislature proposed a bill to put a legislatively-referred ballot measure on the November 2008 ballot that would compete with Measure 40, but which would have less stringent mandatory minimums in it. In response, Mannix said that this "stinks of political manipulation."His concern is with how the competing measure's ballot title is set. If the ballot title sounds tough-on-crime, voters--many of whom will judge the measure simply based on its title--might vote for it, even though (Mannix alleges) the competing legislative measure is "wimpy".
The key difference between the competing measures lies in how they treat first-time offenders. Measure 40 requires mandatory jail time for some first-time offenders; the competing measure does not.
Part of the controversy over the ballot title has to do with who writes it. For a citizen-initiated measure in Oregon, the ballot title is determined by the state's Attorney General. In the case of the measure that will compete with Measure 40, the claim has been made that the legislature plans to set the ballot title without going through those normal channels.
Ballot measure advocacy in previous years
Mannix has authored several successful citizen initiatives as well as legislative referrals. His citizen initiatives include Measure 11 - which establishes mandatory minimum prison sentences for violent criminals; Measure 10 - a constitutional amendment, provides that prison sentences set by a vote of the people cannot be reduced by the legislature except with a two-thirds vote of the House and the Senate; and Measure 17 - a constitutional amendment, which requires that all state prisoners be engaged in useful full-time work with clear allowances for education and training programs.
In 1996, Mannix brought Measure 40 to the ballot. It passed by a margin of 59% to 41%. Measure 40 was overturned by the Oregon Supreme Court in Armatta v. Kitzhaber, 327 Or. 250, 959 P.2d 49 (1998) on the grounds that it contained more than one amendment to the Oregon Constitution.
Measure 40 case precedent has been the basis for overturning several voter-approved initiatives. Measure 3 from the 1992 election, which instituted the strictest term limits in the nation, was completely overturned bacause of this. A 1995 U.S. Supreme Court ruling rendered the federal limits null and void, and in 2002 the Oregon Supreme Court upheld lower state court rulings striking down the remaining provisions of the law on procedural grounds. Also Measure 3, the Oregon Property Protection Act of 2000 was overturned in 2002. Measure 40 returned to voters as Measures 69-75 in November 1999. The measures were primarily funded by conservative millionaires Loren Parks and Mark Hemstreet. Of the seven measures, four were passed by voters.
Kevin Mannix was the chief sponsor of 135 successful bills. This is more than any other Oregon Legislature in history, reguardless of length in office.
Mannix' successful legislative referrals include the Victim's Rights Amendments to the Oregon Constitution which guarantee crime victims the right to be present during trial, the right to be consulted about felony plea negotiations, and the right to be heard at the time of sentencing. He also authored a constitutional amendment which provides that judges cannot be prevented by statute from imposing consecutive sentences for crimes involving separate victims.
As a legislator, Mannix authored comprehensive reforms to the adoption laws to make adoptions swifter, less expensive, and easier; reforms to the workers' compensation system, which have provided increased benefits to injured workers while holding the line on system costs. Mannix authored the legislation which establishes Oregon's Tax Court Magistrate Division, and he wrote Oregon's landmark Anti-Stalking Law.
Early political career
Mannix earned his law degree from the University of Virginia.
Prior to serving in the legislature, Mannix worked in several different capacities, including Assistant Attorney General of Oregon, Assistant Attorney General of Guam, administrative law judge, and pro-tempore district court and circuit court judge.
From 1989 through 1996, Mannix served in the Oregon House of Representatives as a Democrat. In 1997, he become a Republican and was appointed to the Oregon State Senate. He was elected back into the Oregon House in November 1998 and served through 2000.
Runs for statewide office & U.S. Congress
In 1996, Mannix ran for Oregon Attorney General as a Democrat. At the last minute, Hardy Myers was recruited by Democrats to run against Mannix in the Democratic Primary, as some felt Mannix was too conservative for their party. Myers defeated Mannix in the primary 62.8% to 36.8%. Myers went on to easily defeat his Republican opponent in the November general election. Mannix changed his party affiliation to Republican the following year, 1997. He was appointed to the state Senate in 1998.
In 2000, Mannix again ran for State Attorney General against Myers in a bitter campaign. Myers again defeated Mannix 49.8% to 46%. Libertarian candidate Tom Cox received 4.2%.
In 2002, Mannix ran for Governor against Democrat Ted Kulongoski. Kulongoski won 49% of the vote versus 46% for Mannix. Libertarian candidate Tom Cox received 5%. The defeat also marked the fifth time in a row the Republicans failed to gain control of the governor's mansion.
Mannix became Oregon Republican Party Chair in January, 2003, and stepped down in 2005.
In 2006, Mannix ran again for the Republican nomination for Governor. He finished second in the primary with 30% of the vote, behind Ron Saxton, who earned the nomination with 43%, and ahead of Jason Atkinson, who received 22%. Saxton, widely considered more moderate than Mannix, went on to lose the General Election in May to incumbent Kulungoski by an 8.1% margin.
1996 Race for state Attorney General - Democratic Primary
- Hardy Myers (D), 62.8%
- Kevin Mannix (D), 36.8%
2000 Race for state Attorney General
- Hardy Myers (D) (inc.), 50%
- Kevin Mannix (R), 46%
2002 Race for Governor
- Ted Kulongoski (D), 49%
- Kevin Mannix (R), 46%
- Tom Cox (L), 5%
2006 Race for Governor - Republican Primary
- Ron Saxton (R), 43%
- Kevin Mannix (R), 30%
- Jason Atkinson (R), 22%
2008 Race for U.S. House of Representatives - Republican Primary
- Mike Erickson (R), 49%
- Kevin Mannix (R), 46%
Mannix is president of the Salem Catholic Schools Foundation and has been a member of Rotary International for 25 years. He is backing a ballot measure for 2008 that has 15 provisions, one of which would replace the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act with a free prescription medication program.
- Gubernatorial campaign site
- Kevin Mannix Law Firm
- Bio on Oregon Republican Party Website
- Discussion of 2006 Candidates for Governor-NW Republican
- Discussion of 2006 Candidates for Governor-Blue Oregon
- relationship with Loren Parks
- Crime measures will fight it out come fall The Oregonian, February 23, 2008
- Mannix says Ore. lawmakers stacking the deck against his measure
- Ted Piccolo "Developing hard, Democrats avoiding review process again!" NW Republican, 02/16/08
- Ted Piccolo"Salem Democrats to give Republicans the perfect issue" NW Republican, 02/20/08
- "Erickson wins 5th District Republican nomination". OregonLive.com. http://www.oregonlive.com/special/index.ssf/2008/05/fifth_r.html. Retrieved on 2008-05-21.
- Letter from SOS regarding the "Oregon Crimefighting Act" Oregon Secretary of State 06/15/07