Secretary of State

Oregon Primary Election – May 17, 2016
Candidates for Oregon Secretary of State
There are 6 candidates for Oregon Secretary of State, 2 Republicans, one Independent Party candidate, and 3 Democrats.  This is an open seat, as the elected incumbent, Kate Brown, automatically became Governor in February 2015 upon the resignation of Gov. Kitzhaber. She is now running for Governor, and her replacement as Secretary of State, Jeanne P. Atkins, who was appointed in March 2015 to succeed Brown, did not file for election to the SOS post.
The Republican Party candidates are Dennis Richardson of Central Point and Sid Leiken of Springfield.  The Independent Party candidate is Paul Damian Wells of Corvallis.  The three Democrats include Brad Avakian of Portland, Richard Devlin of Tualatin, and Val Hoyle of Eugene.
Dennis Richardson served 6 terms in the State Legislature as Representative from District 4 from 2003-2014.   By occupation, he is a lawyer, having graduated from Brigham Young University and its Law School.  He served as an Army combat helicopter pilot in Vietnam. 
        While serving in the House in 2005, he voted for HB 2583, a bill requiring evidence of citizenship for persons registering to vote for first time.  The bill passed the House but died in the Senate.   In 2008, he voted for SB 1080, the bill requiring proof of citizenship by driver license applicants which is still in effect today.  In March 2013, he voted for SB 2787, giving in-state tuition to illegal aliens.  In April 2013, he voted against SB 833, the bill granting official driver cards and i.d. to illegal aliens.  He was a leader in the opposition to this bill and spoke strongly against it on the floor of the House on April 30, 2013.  In Feb. 2014,  when supporters of SB 833 attempted to change the Referendum ballot title to make it more favorable to their side, Rep. Richardson actively opposed that effort and voted against the bill, H.R. 4054 which would have changed the title.
        On his campaign website he addresses a problem faced by activists attempting to pass initiatives and referenda.  He says:  “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.”
      The handling of citizens’ petitions is an important issue.  OFIR and other citizen groups have had problems in mounting initiatives and referenda because of apparent resistance from the Secretary of State and the Attorney General’s offices.  The Secretary of State administers the process of filing the citizen measures, reviewing petition signatures, etc., and can use delays and other tactics to impede the process.  The Attorney General is empowered to write the ballot titles for initiatives and can slant the title to favor one side or the other.  (This year there are no choices within parties for the Attorney General’s office – there is only one Democrat running, Ellen Rosenblum, the incumbent, and Daniel Zene Crowe, Republican.)  Several issue-oriented groups have recently experienced difficulties as a result of unsatisfactory and slanted ballot titles.  If a group challenges the language of the title, this delays the process and reduces the time available for collecting signatures, which are due well before the election date as they must be verified by the Secretary of State’s office before the measure is officially approved to go on the ballot.  Then time is needed to include the measure in voter pamphlets, on ballots, etc.  If activists accept the skewed ballot title, they face severe problems of public misunderstanding and failure of the measure.   Thus incumbent Secretaries of State and Attorneys General can and do cripple the efforts of citizen activists with whom they disagree.  Candidate Richardson addresses this problem.
      His campaign website is at
      Email available through webform at:
      His Facebook page shows that he supports the initiative ending abuse of the Emergency Clause that prevents citizens from obtaining referendums on a bill passed by the Legislature.
Sid Leiken, of Springfield, is the other Republican candidate for Secretary of State.  He is a Lane County Commissioner and small business owner.  He completed the junior year at Northwest Christian University, studying business.  He has an extensive record of public service as Springfield Mayor, City Council member, etc.  
      He replied to the Oregon Abigail Adams candidate questionnaire for Secretary of State candidates, with these answers: 2.  Do you support requiring proof of identity before registering to vote?  Yes.  3. Do you support an Oregon Constitutional amendment to require proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote in Oregon?  Yes.  9. Do you support taking steps to make the initiative process more accessible to Oregonians?  Yes.  10.  Do you support restricting the "emergency clause" on legislation as true emergencies?  Yes.  12.  Do you support requiring all employers to verify citizenship for employee eligibility to work in Oregon?  “Decline, need to gather more information from the Ag business in OR.”
      His website:   Email:
Paul Damian Wells, of Corvallis, is the Independent Party candidate.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University and an Associate’s degree from Portland Community College in machine manufacturing technology.  He lists his occupation as CNC machinist.  On his website at he discusses his political views but there is no mention of immigration.  His views on immigration are unknown.
The 3 Democratic Party candidates, Brad Avakian of Portland, Richard Devlin of Tualatin, and Val Hoyle of Eugene,  have all served in the Legislature at some time, Devlin and Hoyle recently, and Avakian served there prior to his terms as the elected Commissioner of Labor and Industries.
Brad Avakian was first elected to the Oregon House in 2002, serving there until elected to the Oregon Senate in 2006.  In April 2008 he was appointed by Governor Kulongoski to be Commissioner of Labor and Industries, then elected to the position in November 2008, and has served there now for nearly 8 years.  
      While in the Oregon House in 2005 he voted against HB 2583 requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote. In the Senate in 2007, on SB 424, a bill to align Oregon with the federal Real ID program, he voted for the motion to substitute Minority Report for Committee Report on SB 424, which was a maneuver to defeat SB 424.  Then a motion to refer to Ways and Means carried on voice vote, and the bill died without any other vote.  In the 2008 Special Session, he voted against SB 1080 requiring proof of citizenship to obtain a driver license.  That bill passed both houses of the Legislature and became law in February 2008.
      Campaign website:  It has an Issues section but no mention of immigration as a political issue.  The “About Brad” section contains biographical information.
      Email: webform for email at:
Richard Devlin has been serving in the Legislature since 1997, as a Representative from 1997-2002, and as a Senator from 2003 through 2016 representing Senate District 19.  In the 2015 session he voted for SB 932 giving Opportunity Grants for tuition to illegal aliens.  He also voted Yes on HB 2177, the universal voter registration bill that makes voting by illegal aliens more likely.  In 2013 he voted for SB 833, granting official driver cards to illegal aliens.  In the same year, he voted for HB 2787, granting in-state tuition to illegal aliens.
      In 2011, he voted for SB 742 giving in-state tuition to illegal aliens, but the bill was not voted on in the House, thus did not pass.  In 2008 he voted in favor of SB 1080 calling for proof of citizenship to obtain a driver license. In 2007, on SB 424, a bill to align Oregon with the federal Real ID program, he voted for the motion to substitute Minority Report for Committee Report on SB 424, which was a maneuver to defeat SB 424.  In 2003, he voted for SB 10 granting in-state tuition to illegal aliens.
      His campaign website at has a Priorities section but no mention of immigration was found there or elsewhere on the website.  The “About Richard” section contains biographical information.
Val Hoyle has been a State Representative since 2009, representing House District 14.  She was appointed to the House to fill the unexpired term of Chris Edwards; then she was elected in 2010 and following years. 
      She was named Assistant House Democratic Leader for the 2011 session, then became House Democratic Leader for the 2013 session and also for the 2015 session.  In the 2015 session, besides being House Democratic Leader, she was Chair of the House Rules Committee, and a member of these committees:  Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Capital Construction; Joint Committee on Legislative Administration.  Thus she has had an influential role in the management of bills.
      Her record on immigration issues is poor.  In the 2013 Legislative session, she voted to make SB 833, granting driver cards for illegal aliens, a special order of business, enabling fast-tracking of the bill through the House without a House hearing.  The next day, April 30, the bill was voted on in the House, and she voted Aye to driver cards for illegal aliens.  Also, in 2013, she was a sponsor of HB 2787, providing instate tuition for illegal aliens, and she voted for it.   
      In 2014, she almost certainly was a decisive voice in rewriting the ballot title of Measure 88; this measure (88) was the veto referendum on SB 833.  The bill calling for a rewrite, HB 4054, was pre-session introduced at the request of the House Interim Committee on Rules.  Rep. Hoyle was Chair of the House Rules Committee.  She voted for the bill when it came before the House which passed it on Feb. 27.  Because there was widespread disapproval of this attempt to hamper public understanding of the bill, the bill was not voted on by the Senate, and it died.   
      One of the first bills heard in the House in 2015 was HB 2177, automatic, universal voter registration which increases chances for illegal alien voting.  It was also fast-tracked, with a public hearing on Feb. 2, work session on Feb. 4, Rules suspended on Feb.18 and House vote on Feb. 20.  Rep. Hoyle voted Aye.  Fast tracking continued in the Senate which held no hearing, and the bill became law on March 16.  
      Campaign website:  There is an issues section but no mention of immigration was found on the website nor any concern about the effects of illegal immigration on citizens and the country.