Joanne Verger was elected to the Oregon Legislature in 2000. She served in the Oregon House of Representatives from 2001–2004, and was elected to the Oregon State Senate in 2004, where she served through 2012.
Prior to the Legislature, Senator Verger served in many government roles over her 30 years in public service. She was the first woman mayor of Coos Bay, a position she filled for 4 terms. She was also a Coos Bay City Councilwoman from 1990-1992 and sat on the Coos Bay-North Bend Water Board for 3 years. Senator Verger became a League of Oregon Cities Board Member in 1995, was President of the League of Oregon Cities in 1999, and received The Legislative Leadership Award from The League of Oregon Cities in 2002.