PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- State Sen. Margaret Carter, the first African-American woman elected to the Oregon Legislature, is resigning at the end of the month to take a job with the Oregon Department of Human Services.
Carter, 73, plans to start work as the state's Deputy Director for Human Services Programs on Sept. 1. Her annual salary in the newly created position will be $121,872.
``It is my desire in life to make a difference for our children, our seniors and the disabled,'' Carter said. ``Those are the areas that I worked in in the Legislature. That is what I want to continue to do.''
The Multnomah County Commission will appoint a replacement to represent Carter's district in the state Senate. Carter is a Democrat, and by law, the commission must consider names submitted by the local Democratic precinct committee.
Carter has been in the Legislature since 1984, when she was elected to the Oregon House. She was elected to the Senate in 2000 and rose in the Democratic leadership ranks. Carter co-chaired the Joint Ways and Means Committee in the latest session.
Carter said she has been thinking about starting a new chapter and is interested in working with the Department of Human Services at a time when the agency is serving record numbers of people.
``I'm at a period in my life where I can go off with friends who are traveling the world and playing bridge. If I had any sense at all, that's what I'd be thinking about,'' she said. ``But I'm thinking about how we as a state can do a better job of delivering services. I feel I still have something to offer.''
The deputy director position will be paid for within the agency's existing budget, said Dr. Bruce Goldberg, Human Services director.
Goldberg did not conduct an outside search before hiring Carter. He said Carter had repeatedly expressed interest in joining the agency but conversations didn't begin in earnest until after the Legislature adjourned at the end of June.
Goldberg and Carter said talks about the job in no way influenced Carter's legislative or budget work.