Gail Whitsett

for Oregon State Representative
            District 56

 Working for Klamath and Lake Counties


Agricultural background

Gail Hildreth Whitsett grew up on a large western cattle and sheep ranch. She is a seventh generation direct descendent of the first family to drive English bred cattle from the Eastern US into what was to become the state of California. Her great-great grandfather and uncle established frontier ranches in California’s Central Valley and near present day Los Angeles. Their Santa Rita Ranch and the HH (Hildreth and Hildreth) brand were eventually sold and became the base of operations and the brand of the famous California Miller and Lux cattle ranch empire. After the family sold that ranch and 5000 head of English cattle to Henry Miller, her great great grandfather went to Hawaii to set up a ranch on the island of Kauai, where he later died.  After the death of his father, his son, Henry Jonathan Hildreth travelled to Montana and began working for John L. Selway, later to become the father of Montana Senator E.O. Selway. Henry homesteaded a ranch along the Corrine Trail, which brought supplies into Bannack, the first Territorial capital of Montana. Gail’s grandfather was born on the Selway ranch in Beaverhead County Montana. Henry’s ranch, and later purchased ranches along the Continental Divide between Montana and Idaho, have been in continuous family ownership to the present day. The Hildreth ranches have been known for their production of  high quality sheep, cattle and horses for over 160 years.


Gail is a graduate of the Oregon State University Honors College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology. Her geologic field practices education continued with Princeton University at their Yellowstone Bighorn Research Station in Red Lodge, Montana.  Gail later earned an OSU Master of Science Degree in Geology specializing in the skills necessary to work as a geologist in the field of oil and gas exploration and development. 

Employment and business experience

She was employed as an intern for AMOCO during graduate school and later worked in exploration, re-drilling and development of deep, and sometimes over pressured Rocky Mountain and western intermountain basin wildcat wells for Standard Oil of Ohio and British Petroleum. Gail was responsible for writing the requisite reports for the exploratory wells she oversaw, including those reports for the Nuclear Regulatory Agency regarding well completion drilling activities in the Overthrust Belt. Additionally, she performed extensive geologic consultation work for other domestic and international businesses, including detailed stratigraphic work on the Bakken Formation of the Williston Basin of North Dakota.

Gail’s extensive science education has allowed her to undertake original research as well as to critically read, peer-review and comment on complex scientific papers.  Her research and understanding of water quality issues throughout Oregon, specifically regarding the Total Maximum Daily Loads and their application to the proposed removal of the Klamath River Dams and Upper Klamath Lake, has allowed her to review scientific policy papers and to testify repeatedly in the legislature, in public venues and to federal agencies, as well as the National Academy of Science/ National Research Council.  

Most recently, Gail served as the Chief of Staff for Oregon State Senator Doug Whitsett for seven years. This job entails year-round work as an employee of the Oregon Legislature taking care of constituent issues in the District 28 counties including Klamath, Lake, Crook, Jackson and Deschutes Counties. She is the only member of the senatorial staff during the interim and work answering telephone calls, e-mails, and letters as well as managing his schedule and filling in for him when he has two or more commitments at the same time. She also provides a cursory reading of the more than 3,000 bills introduced at the legislature each session and performs deep analysis of bills relating to science issues as his natural resources analyst. Gail says, “It is my belief that my work in this legislative capacity will allow me to immediately step into the position as a State Representative for Klamath and Lake Counties without having the learning curve of a year or more that most new legislators’ experience.  I work on a near daily basis with several of the current Representatives in the Legislature, all of the Republican Senators, as well as a few moderate Democrat Senators.”

“Senator Whitsett and I have worked tirelessly to advance and advocate for Oregon small businesses, farms and ranches over the past seven years in the Oregon Legislature.”  

Gail’s husband, who is also a large animal bovine and equine veterinarian, and she have owned several businesses and farms in Southern Oregon over the past decades. Most recently she developed a genetic herd; she bred, raised and marketed several hundred European Warmblood Oldenburg and Holsteiner sport horses from their Klamath County farms. Their agricultural contribution to Klamath County and Oregon agriculture has been significant. The business required her to perform extensive advertising as well as national and international marketing and sales.


They have three daughters who are graduates of the Oregon public education system and Oregon universities, and are the proud grandparents of two.  Family and civic duties have always been very important to them and their extended families.

Gail said, “It is my belief that we must have strong counties, states and nation to leave to our children, grandchildren and future generations. I am ready to serve and have the necessary experience to immediately step into the job and make a difference for Klamath and Lake Counties and the State of Oregon.”.



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