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Avakian assumes labor commissioner post

SALEM - Former state Sen. Brad Avakian was sworn in Tuesday as Oregon's ninth commissioner of labor and industries.

Former Gov. Barbara Roberts conducted the ceremony while Gov. Ted Kulongoski administered the oath of office.

Family, friends and colleagues attended the ceremony, including Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, State Treasurer Randall Edwards, Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court Paul DeMuniz and former Labor Commissioner Jack Roberts.

'The work that the Bureau of Labor and Industries does is critically important to all of Oregon,' Avakian said. 'It is an honor for me to have this opportunity to take the fight for working families to the next level, and lead the agency that protects Oregonians from housing and employment discrimination, enforces labor laws and coordinates state workforce training.'

Following the ceremony, the new commissioner talked about his priorities at the Bureau of Labor and Industries, including a greater statewide emphasis on apprenticeship training and workforce development.

Avakian hopes to 'allow the bureau to support both industry's efforts to create more well paying local jobs and our school system's ability to teach Oregonians the skills needed to fill those jobs.'

Kulongoski announced Avakian's appointment to succeed departing Labor Commissioner Dan Gardner in March, after Gardner announced his resignation.