Gov. John Kitzhaber really, really wanted Portland lawyer Elisa Dozono to chair the Oregon Lottery Commission.
Like many politicians, Kitzhaber has a love-hate relationship with gambling—he's decried the harmful effects gambling has on Oregonians but knows the state is addicted to the more than $500 million Lottery puts into state coffers every year.
As WW reported earlier, Kitzhaber's first attempt to nominate Dozono, a Portland lawyer with an extensive political and communications background, to the Lottery Commission met with resistance. Some lawmakers worried because the law firm Dozono works for, Miller Nash, represents Dotty's Deli, the largest Lottery retailer, and that would create at least the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Among other things, for example, Dotty's and the Lottery have battled over the concentration of Lottery retailers on Hayden Island.
Those concerns led Kitzhaber to withdraw Dozono's name in May. But he renominated her in late August after the state Ethics Commission issued an opinion that no conflict exists because Dozono is a non-equity partner at Miller Nash and thus has no financial interest in the representation of Dotty's.The Senate approved Dozono's nomination earlier this month, and Kitzhaber today announced that she will immediately take over as chairwoman of the commission, replacing Steve Ungar.
“I have every confidence in Elisa to bring steady leadership to the Commission,” Kitzhaber said in a statement. “Her experience with a wide variety of issues affecting the state will be a valuable addition to the Commission’s important work on behalf of Oregonians.”