January 8th, 2009 5:33 pm | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics

Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian gets late X-mas gift


The state Attorney General's office has decided that Bureau of Labor and Industries Commissioner Brad Avakian doesn't have to run for re-election in 2010, when his post would normally be scheduled on the state ballot.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski appointed Avakian, formerly a Democratic state senator representing parts of Northwest Portland and Washington County, to the non-partisan labor commissioner's post last March. The appointment came after Dan Gardner resigned from BOLI to take a job in Washington D.C.

Avakian then ran last November and won 67 percent of the vote against token opposition.

Following that victory, the Secretary of State office was puzzled as to when the BOLI office should next be on the ballot, says Don Hamilton, a spokesman for the Secretary of State.

Gardner's term would have expired in 2010 had he not resigned. Historically, Oregon's six statewide offices are divided evenly: candidates for state treasurer, secretary of state and attorney general run in the same general election. And two years later, candidates for governor, labor commissioner and superintendent of public instruction run.

If Kulongoski had appointed Avakian to any of the other state-wide offices, he would have to race in the same election cycle as his predecessor, according to Hamilton. But Hamilton says the Attorney General's office reviewed state laws and determined they are silent on when the labor commissioner should be elected.

Thus, the AG's office determined since Avakian just won a general election in 2008, he does not need to run again until 2012. "The other state-wide officials all would have to run again in the next general election [2010], if they were in the same situation," Hamilton says. "But Commissioner Avakian does not."
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