The Secretary of State has a critical role to play in preserving our democracy, ensuring the trust of the public, and acting as the “welcome wagon” for new businesses looking to choose Oregon as the place to start or grow a business. Dennis’ skill-set as an experienced, retired attorney and legislator, makes him uniquely qualified to continue his years of service to Oregon as Secretary of State.
As the chief auditor of Oregon, the Secretary of State has an important duty to provide taxpayers with an accounting of how government is or isn’t working. In recent years, this position has been underutilized and failed to assess, disclose and prevent the waste of hundreds of millions of dollars in numerous failed projects like Cover Oregon and the Columbia River Crossing. If the Secretary of State auditors were to over-see large-scale projects and ensure accountability every step of the way, it could prevent millions of dollars in future waste.
As the chief elections officer, the Secretary of State plays a key role in protecting the rights of citizens to vote and petition their government. Dennis believes that campaign finance in Oregon needs reform and will work with stakeholders to propose legislation that brings more transparency to our elections.
Over 440,000 Oregonians are registered with the Secretary of State as being “inactive”, and therefore, do not receive a ballot. Dennis will work with county clerks to make sure every citizen who wants to vote will get the opportunity to cast a ballot.
Dennis believes citizens have the right to petition their government. He’ll work to make the initiative process more transparent and citizen friendly. He’ll advocate for fair and non-partisan ballot titling by proposing a citizen’s commission on ballot titling, which would remove the process from partisan hands.
Oregon has a rich history of minor political parties participating in politics. Dennis will work to ensure Oregon’s minor political parties have a seat at the table. He’ll support legislation that will allow all parties to have access to taxpayer-funded primary elections, if they choose to use that process.
Oregon voters expect honesty in the voter pamphlet, yet only a few lines are subject to truth in advertising under Oregon law. Dennis will collaborate with the legislature to ensure that candidates for office are held accountable for their entire voter pamphlet statement, not just the introductory information.
The Corporation Division:
As a business owner and a volunteer helping people struggling to find work, Dennis knows that a family-wage job is the key to solving many of the issues facing Oregonians. From affordable housing to putting food on the table, a prosperous life starts with a good job. That’s why as the head of the Oregon Corporation Division, Dennis will roll out the welcome mat for businesses seeking to settle in Oregon, and work to expand existing businesses. He’ll make sure Oregon businesses have a voice and the risk that business owners put forth to hire their neighbors is respected. Oregon’s businesses are a partner with the state – respecting their contributions and facilitating their success means all Oregonians rise together.
The Archivist Office:
One of the unique features of the Secretary of State’s role is to ensure the public record is maintained. The recent events in Oregon around public records have shown the need for more access to government documents by individual citizens and the press. The need exists for an office where government whistleblowers can be protected when they come forward with information about corruption and wrongdoing by a state agency or an elected official. Dennis will work to personally meet with public employees who bring forth their concerns about waste, fraud, and abuse in government, giving them the protection they deserve. As the Secretary of State, Dennis will prioritize helping local governments get set up to use the TRIM system—the archiving software used by the Secretary of State to better maintain and disseminate public records.
The State Lands Board:
As Secretary of State, Dennis will have a vote on the State Lands Board, and will support decisions that use our natural resources in a balanced manner for job creation. After several recent lengthy and expensive fire seasons, Dennis knows the citizens who are affected during fire season want better management of our state forests and range lands. With better management, we can preserve our forests and protect them from devastating and costly forest fires, and the tragic loss of homes, businesses, personal property and wildlife. When considering votes on land use issues, Dennis will focus on obtaining maximum value from our natural resources, while preserving the beauty and heritage of our state’s environmental resources for future generations.
As we’ve recently seen, there can be an occasion where the Secretary of State would succeed the Governor. In such an unlikely event, Dennis is committed to upholding the laws of Oregon, respecting the will of the voters on issues already decided, and ensuring state agencies operate in the best interest of the public until an election for a new Governor can be held.