Dennis Richardson was sworn in as Oregon’s secretary of state at the Capitol in Salem Friday.
Richardson is a former Republican lawmaker from Central Point in southern Oregon. He was the Republican nominee for governor in 2014, losing to then-incumbent John Kitzhaber.
He defeated the Democratic nominee for secretary of state, Brad Avakian, by a 5 percentage point margin.
Richardson is the first Republican to hold a statewide office since Sen. Gordon Smith lost election in 2008. After taking the oath, Richardson pledged not to pursue a partisan agenda.
“As a secretary of state, I will be functioning as an Oregonian. It is my commitment that you will not know whether I have an ‘R’ or a ‘D’ by my name,” he said.
As secretary of state, Richardson will oversee elections in Oregon, audit public agencies, and serve on the board that manages Oregon’s state forests and rangeland.
He is also first in the line of succession to Gov. Kate Brown.
Oregon’s Republican Congressman Greg Walden spoke at Richardson’s inauguration, praising his work on the state budget at a time when the Oregon House of Representatives was evenly split between Republicans and Democrats and the parties shared power.
“Dennis has a sharp eye for budgets and numbers, and an even sharper pencil. But he also proved he can work with others across the aisle,” Walden said.