The next in our “Primary Conversations” series looks at what many consider the second most important job in state government: The Secretary of State. This office has been a stepping-stone for many governors, including Mark Hatfield, Tom McCall and Barbara Roberts. It oversees elections and the initiative process, state audits, corporations and archives. The secretary of state serves with the governor and state treasurer on the State Land Board and serves as chair of the Oregon Cultural Trust.
Rick Dancer, a former television news anchorman from Springfield, is running unopposed in the Republican primary. On the Democratic side there are three state senators leading the race. And they’ll all be joining us on Thursday:
Kate Brown is a state senator from Portland. She was first elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1991 and served two terms before being elected to the Senate in 1996. In the Senate she served as Democratic Leader. Recently she led efforts to review Oregon’s ethics laws and create an online database of campaign contributions and expenditures. Brown has also practiced family and juvenile law and taught at Portland State University.
Rick Metsger is the state senator from Welches. He was first elected to the Senate in 1998. Since then he’s focused mostly on transportation, early childhood development, career training, and consumer protection. He’s probably best known for his 16 years as a television sportscaster at KOIN-TV. Metsger has also worked as a high school teacher and as assistant basketball coach at Lewis and Clark College.
Vicki Walker is the state senator from Eugene. She is known as the watchdog among the candidates, in part because of her years as a court reporter. Walker was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in November 1998, and she served two terms. In 2002, voters in Lane County elected her to the Senate. She is well known as an advocate for education and children’s rights.
What questions do you have for these Democratic candidates for secretary of state? What do you want the next chief elections officer to do about the initiative process, redistricting, or election reform? Are voter IDs, the subject of a Supreme Court ruling yesterday, among your list of concerns? What are your ideas for improving the state’s election system?
Share your questions — and suggestions — for these secretary of state hopefuls and we’ll put them on the air.
Kate Brown: State Senator from Portland
Rick Metsger: State Senator from Welches
Vicki Walker: State Senator from Eugene