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Athena Goldberg is the 13th candidate to enter the race for Bates' Senate seat

A local social worker has entered the competition to replace state Sen. Alan Bates in Senate District 3.

Athena Goldberg, behavioral health director for AllCare Health, sent out a press release announcing her candidacy for the post, making her the 13th candidate to seek the office.

“Senator Bates was a champion for Southern Oregon families,” Goldberg said in the release. “I believe my background as an independent health professional would help further Senator Bates’ legacy.”

Goldberg, originally from Bandon, has three sons and has lived in Jackson County for 23 years.

The Jackson County Democratic Party will meet at 6 p.m. today to start whittling down the list of candidates. The Democrats plan to choose a nominee tonight to run in the November election, and will send three to five names to the Jackson County commissioners, who will pick a person to fill Bates' seat until the end of the year.

Eleven of the candidates have said they are seeking both the interim appointment and the November nomination, while two of the candidates have said they seek only the interim appointment.

Goldberg said she is seeking both the appointment and the nomination.Commissioners will fill the interim position by Sept. 6.The Democrats will meet in the Medford library with a question-and-answer-style forum for the public to get to know the candidates, followed by the conventions at 7 p.m.The Republicans' convention to choose a nominee for the Senate seat will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23, at Inn at the Commons. So far no Republican candidates have announced, though Dave Dotterrer, who ran against Bates twice, said he's considering entering the race.

Bates died unexpectedly Aug. 5 during a fishing trip with his son.

Gov. Kate Brown has ordered all flags at Oregon public institutions to be flown at half-staff to honor Oregon Bates. Flags should be lowered from sunrise to sunset Saturday, Aug. 20.

Funeral services for Bates will be held 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20, in the Rogue River Room at Southern Oregon University in Ashland.

Athena Goldberg