October 29th, 2015
For Immediate Release
Contacts: Larry Harvey, 541-664-6622
DENNIS RICHARDSON ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR SECRETARY OF STATE
Richardson campaign to focus on transparency, accountability, and reform
Central Point, Oregon – Former twelve-year Oregon lawmaker Dennis Richardson announced today that he’ll be filing for the position of Secretary of State. Richardson, an attorney and decorated military veteran, cited concerns about a lack of transparency and a failure to implement real reforms in the wake of the Kitzhaber scandal as key reasons for returning to public office.
“It is simply not in my nature to walk away from a problem,” stated Richardson. “For the past year, I’ve watched as the legislature failed to restore the public trust after Governor’s Kitzhaber’s resignation. Instead, we see further corruption with stories of sweetheart deals at the Department of Energy relating to energy tax credit giveaways. I think voters are looking for someone who will be honest and willing to ensure state agencies stay on the right course.”
Richardson, who served as Co-Chair on the Ways and Means Committee, believes his skill set is the right match for the job description. “You know, in this position, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a social conservative or social liberal. The Secretary of State has limited authority, largely tied to budget and performance audits, managing the public records, ensuring fair elections, and rolling out the welcome wagon for businesses looking to settle in Oregon,” Richardson explained. “As someone with budget experience and a law degree, I will be able to tackle auditing government agencies so we can streamline processes and return savings to the General Fund. I’ll also use the power of the audit, so failures like Cover Oregon, which cost taxpayers nearly 300 million dollars, won’t happen again.”
Recent headlines about payouts to whistleblowers who were forced to leave their jobs for speaking up has Richardson concerned. “In just one month, two headlines showed taxpayers on the hook for over $1 million in payouts to government whistleblowers. As Secretary of State, I will welcome and protect those public employees who come forward with information about corruption or wasteful practices,” he stated.
Richardson, who’ll have a primary opponent, is more focused on his potential general election opponents. “Two of the Democratic candidates are legislators who could have helped open up public records to the people and enact ethics reforms. But, they didn’t. More could have been done to make our election laws more transparent and accountable. ” said Richardson. “The legislature left many good ethics reform bills on the drafting room floor—bills that would have addressed lessons learned from the Kitzhaber debacle. Instead, we saw partisan politics win out.”
The one campaign promise Richardson makes as a Secretary of State candidate is to restore the trust of Oregonians. “If we’ve seen anything in this last year, it’s that Oregonians are looking to the next Secretary of State to follow through with audits that hold government agencies accountable. The people and the press deserve access to our public records without being stonewalled or having to pay outrageous fees. And most importantly, instead of a partisan activist, the people want a Secretary of State who can be trusted to act in an impartial, non-partisan manner that serves all Oregonians, regardless of political affiliation,” Richardson said.