Secretary Of State Dennis Richardson Dies Following Cancer

Deputy Secretary of State Leslie Cummings released the following statement:

On Tuesday, February 26, at approximately 9:00 p.m, Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson’s courageous battle with cancer came to a close. Dennis passed away at his home surrounded by family and friends.

From his service in Vietnam as a combat helicopter pilot to his 30-year legal career and 19 years in public service, this father of nine and grandfather of 31 found great joy in serving and taking care of others.

As Secretary of State, Dennis was fiercely dedicated to accomplishing the work the people of Oregon elected him to do. Upon taking the reins of this office in January 2017, Dennis’ visionary leadership built on the strengths of the 227 Secretary of State staff members. Together, Dennis and this dedicated team of public servants improved the program business practices of Audits, Elections, Archives, Corporations and Small Business, and the three Administrative Services Divisions of the agency. He also brought many professional and personal gifts and experience to this office. Dennis’ focus on transparency, accountability, and integrity coupled with his uncompromising work ethic inspired staff to “up their games” to move mountains.

If you spent time with Dennis, it wouldn’t be long before he shared with you his personal motto of “Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamus,” which means: Having been given much, what will you give in return? This philosophy influenced every aspect of Dennis’ life and became the hallmark by which many knew him. His challenge to us in the Secretary of State’s office is to give our very best to each other and to Oregon each and every day.

Dennis leaves a legacy of always aiming high, expecting excellence, moving fast, and doing what is right for the people. It has been an honor and a privilege to work with such an incredible leader and wonderful friend. He will be greatly missed.

Governor Kate Brown ordered all flags at Oregon public institutions to be flown at half-staff in honor of Secretary of State Dennis Richardson. Flags should be flown at half-staff today, and on the day of his interment from sunrise to sundown. A subsequent flag order will be released for the day of Secretary Richardson's interment.

"Dan and I are saddened to hear this news today. Our hearts are with Secretary of State Richardson's family, friends, and fellow lawmakers today," said Governor Brown. "Regardless of what side of the aisle his colleagues sat on, we all knew Dennis' kind heart guided his career of service to the people of Oregon. His reputation for perseverance not only guided him through the fight with cancer, it also gave us all reassurance that he was fighting cancer with the same determination he brought to work every day."

The Oregon Constitution requires Governor Brown to appoint Secretary of State Richardson's successor. Governor Brown and her staff will begin the process of reviewing candidates and will make an appointment in the coming weeks. Governor Brown has decided to consider appointees from the Republican party who commit to not entering the 2020 election for Secretary of State, as she did in 2015 when selecting her own successor. 

Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) released the following statement on the passing of Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson:

"I am so saddened to learn of Secretary of State Dennis Richardson’s passing. Dennis was such a kind, caring, and thoughtful friend. A wonderful public servant, and a deeply loving husband and parent. Dennis’ quiet competence and civility is such a rarity in today's world. I feel blessed to have known and worked with him for so many years. Mylene and I are sending our prayers to Cathy and their children. Dennis served his country with honor and his body of work leaves Oregon better for the next generation."

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