Oregon State Government Already Led By Women Adds One More Woman

Bev Clarno, a former legislator from Redmond and a Republican, is to serve as secretary of state, following the death of Dennis Richardson last month.

Oregon's state government was already dominated by women. But now there's one more, leaving just one man in statewide executive office.

Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, announced this afternoon that she was appointing Bev Clarno, a former speaker of the Oregon House Representatives, to be secretary of state, following the death last month of Dennis Richardson, the state's lone Republican in statewide office. Clarno, also a Republican, represented Redmond in the state House.

Clarno's appointment leaves the state treasurer, Tobias Read, as the lone man among the statewide executive office holders. Three Democratic women already held office: Gov Brown. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and Labor and Industries Commissioner Val Hoyle.

“Bev’s career is marked by her trailblazing spirit, focus on fiscal responsibility, and a commitment to Oregonians,” said Brown in a statement. “Bev’s experience as a legislator and as a manager of a large government organization is key to the success of the programs and employees the Secretary of State oversees. I’m confident that Bev will continue the legacy of accountability and integrity that Secretary Richardson left on the office of Secretary of State.”

The choice of Clarno, 83, won praise from Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) and from former state Rep. Knute Beuhler (R-Bend), who ran against Brown in the November gubernatorial race.

Brown had vowed to appoint a Republican who would not seek reelection, just as she did after her ascension to the governorship in 2015 left an opening for a Democrat in the secretary of state's office. (At that time, Brown appointed Jeanne Atkins, who did not seek reelection.)

"I know there is not a Republican way or a Democrat way to oversee elections—there is only a fair and honest way," said Clarno in a statement. "There is not a Republican way or a Democrat way to audit state agencies, there is only a fair, thorough, and honest way. I will administer the key functions of this office in a way that will earn the trust and faith of all Oregonians."

She will take the oath of office on Monday, April 1.

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