Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver) is serving his sixth term as State Representative for Redmond, Tumalo, Sunriver, and parts of Deschutes County, House District 53. He was appointed first on September 5, 2003.
For the 77th Legislative Session, Gene will serve as a member of the Human Services and Housing Committee, Education Committee and the Higher Education Committee and Workforce Development Committee.
For the 76th Legislative Session (2011), Gene served as a Co-Chair of the House General Government and Consumer Protection Committee. He also served on the House Judiciary Committee and the Joint Ways and Means Committee.
In the 75th Legislative Session (2009), He served as the Vice Chair of the Judiciary Committee and on the Ways and Means Education Subcommittee.
In the 74th Legislative Session (2007), Rep. Whisnant served as the Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and on the House Education Committee. He was also elected Republican Deputy Whip. In 2008, he remained the Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and was appointed as the Vice Chair of the House Education Committee. Also, he was elected as Republican Whip in 2008.
He served on the important Ways and Means Committee and the Education and Public Safety subcommittees in the 73rd Legislative Session (2005) and on the House Interim Education and Judiciary Committees. During the 72nd Legislative Session (2003), Gene served on the House Interim Education and Judiciary Committees.
Rep. Whisnant is the current Oregon Chair for the American Legislative Exchange Council, a non-partisan organization with over 2000 lawmakers and 300 corporation and foundation members. He serves on the Oregon Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (OAPIC). Gene has served with other Oregon education leaders on the Education Commission of the States which helps states develop policy and practice for public education. He also served on the State Commission on Children and Families.
Also, the Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice appointed Gene to serve as the State representative on the Chief Justices’ Special Courts Advisory Committee.
Gene is a retired US Air Force Colonel. After completing a 27 year military career, he moved to Deschutes County and immediately became involved in the Deschutes County Republican Party. He was elected as the party Treasurer in 1997. In 2000 and 2002 he was elected as Chairman of the Deschutes County Party.
Interested in his community’s well-being, Gene served on the Deschutes County Commission on Children & Families 1999- . He presided as vice chair and chairman of the 15 member volunteer Board and currently participates as an ex-officio member.
Gene participated in the Homeless Leadership Council until he was appointed to the Legislature in 2003. He is a member of the Redmond VFW, the American Legion, the local chapter of the Military Officers Association of American (MOAA) and the Military Order of World Wars. Gene is an honorary member of the Sunriver Rotary Club.
In the community of Sunriver, Gene served on the Sunriver Owners Association (SROA) Board. The SROA Board of Directors is not a typical owner association board but more like a small town city council responsible for an annual operating budget larger than most Oregon cities.
During his military career, Gene was always active in his community. He served as a PTA officer, coached youth sports teams, and was active in his local churches. Gene was a leader in his high school in Charlotte, NC and involved in campus activities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he earned a BA degree in Journalism and his commission from the AFROTC program. Later, he earned a Master’s degree from the University of Arkansas in International Affairs.
Gene is married to the former Josie Coffey of Portland, Oregon. Their son, Todd Whisnant, is married and lives in New Bern, NC. Gene and Josie have one grandson, Colby Todd, who was born in September, 2004. The Whisnant’s are members of the Sunriver Christian Fellowship Church. Josie is a member of the Assistance League of Bend and is a fourth generation Oregonian.
Colonel C. Gene Whisnant
Colonel C. Gene Whisnant retired from the USAF in October 1993. In his 23 year career, he served in command, leadership, staff, and diplomatic positions.
Colonel Whisnant was born December 8, 1943, in Caroleen, NC. He graduated from West Mecklenburg High School, Charlotte, NC in 1962. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1966 and a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Arkansas in 1976. Colonel Whisnant has completed Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College, and the National Defense University.
Colonel Whisnant was commissioned in 1966 through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Program. He was first assigned as an audiovisual officer at Vandenberg AFB, CA. In 1968, he commanded an audiovisual unit at DaNang AB, RVN, the photographically documented USAF activities in the Vietnam War. He flew on 32 combat missions as a combat photographer. In 1969, he commanded an audiovisual unit at Colorado Springs, CO. He returned to the Vandenberg AFB audiovisual unit in 1970 as the squadron operations officer. In 1973, he assumed the command of the audiovisual unit at Weisbaden AB, Germany, which later moved to Rhein Main AB, Germany. Next, he attended the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell, AFB, AL. After graduation in 1978, he was assigned to Headquarters Military Airlift Command, Scott AFB, IL, as a plans and programming officer. In 1980, Colonel Whisnant was assigned to the Air Staff, Washington, DC as an international political-military affairs officer in the Office of the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force. He served as a liaison officer for foreign air attaches in Washington, DC. In 1985, he transferred to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, International Programs and Technology, as a manager of international cooperative programs with the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Yugoslavia. He participated in negotiations with foreign militaries on cooperative agreements such as Strategic Defense Initiative and on certain agreements he led the US DoD negotiating team. After attaché training, he assumed the duties as the Defense and Air Attaché to Yugoslavia in June 1990. He was also responsible for the Yugoslav Security Assistance Program and served as the senior European Command (EUCIM) military representative in Yugoslavia. His Unit was selected as the best Defense Attaché Office human intelligence collectors in 1991 based upon the unit’s outstanding and timely reporting of the Yugoslav War.
After his diplomatic duty, he returned to Washington, DC where he served as the American Forces Information Service Assistant Director for Defense Audiovisual Policy, under the Office of the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs. He was responsible for visual information, audiovisual, and Combat Camera Policy and management oversight within the Department of Defense.
His Military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Air Force Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the German Federal Armed Forces Commendation in Silver, and the Joint Service Achievement Medal.