Richardson loses battle with cancer
Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson died Tuesday evening at his home surrounded by family and friends, his office has announced.
Richardson, the only statewide elected Republican, had been fighting brain cancer.
"Dennis leaves a legacy of always aiming high, expecting excellence, moving fast, and doing what is right for the people. It has been an honor and a privilege to work with such an incredible leader and wonderful friend. He will be greatly missed," Deputy Secretary of State Leslie Cummings said.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown ordered all flags at Oregon public institutions to be flown at half-staff in honor Richardson.
"Regardless of what side of the aisle his colleagues sat on, we all knew Dennis' kind heart guided his career of service to the people of Oregon. His reputation for perseverance not only guided him through the fight with cancer, it also gave us all reassurance that he was fighting cancer with the same determination he brought to work every day," Brown said.
The Oregon Constitution requires Brown to appoint Richardson's successor. Brown has decided to consider appointees from the Republican party who commit to not running for the office in the 2020, two restrictions she applied when appointing her successor in 2015. Brown and her staff will begin the process of reviewing candidates and will make an appointment in the coming weeks.
Leaders of both parties in the Oregon Legislature praised Richardson.
"Dennis Richardson was a kind and decent man. He served his country with distinction in the military. He served his community of Southern Oregon and the State of Oregon with integrity and dedication. I had the pleasure of serving with Secretary Richardson in the Legislature for many years. He loved this state and we will miss him," Oregon Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, said.
"We have suffered a great loss with the passing of Dennis Richardson. Dennis was a steadfast man who loved family, his country, the State of Oregon, and the people he served. This loss is a difficult one for us all. His death will be deeply mourned by all his former colleagues in the Oregon House of Representatives," House Republican Leader Carl Wilson, R-Grants Pass, said.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said, "I was saddened to wake up to the news of the death of my friend and our Secretary of State Dennis Richardson. Dennis was a wonderful and caring person — and, the quintessential public servant. His optimism for making Oregon stronger and fairer was contagious.
"I will miss our 'check-in' lunches in Salem, where we talked about a wide variety of topics affecting both of our agencies. At our last lunch he gave me a coin with his motto engraved on it: 'Having been given much, what will you give in return?' I will treasure it always.'
State Treasurer Tobias Read said, "I am saddened to hear of Secretary of State Dennis Richardson's passing last night. Richardson served his country and Oregonians as a member of the armed forces in Vietnam, and in public office.
"More importantly, he was devoted to his family who loved and supported him at every step of the way. Although we did not always agree politically, I had respect for the diligence and the energy he brought to his work. Oregon has lost an honorable public servant. My thoughts are with Cathy Richardson, his family and friends."
Cummings released the following statement early Wednesday:
"On Tuesday, February 26, at approximately 9:00 p.m., Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson's courageous battle with cancer came to a close. Dennis passed away at his home surrounded by family and friends.
"From his service in Vietnam as a combat helicopter pilot to his 30-year legal career and 19 years in public service, this father of nine and grandfather of 31 found great joy in serving and taking care of others.
"As Secretary of State, Dennis was fiercely dedicated to accomplishing the work the people of Oregon elected him to do. Upon taking the reins of this office in January 2017, Dennis' visionary leadership built on the strengths of the 227 Secretary of State staff members. Together, Dennis and this dedicated team of public servants improved the program business practices of Audits, Elections, Archives, Corporations and Small Business, and the three Administrative Services Divisions of the agency. He also brought many professional and personal gifts and experience to this office. Dennis' focus on transparency, accountability, and integrity coupled with his uncompromising work ethic inspired staff to "up their games" to move mountains.
"If you spent time with Dennis, it wouldn't be long before he shared with you his personal motto of "Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamus," which means: Having been given much, what will you give in return? This philosophy influenced every aspect of Dennis' life and became the hallmark by which many knew him. His challenge to us in the Secretary of State's office is to give our very best to each other and to Oregon each and every day.
"Dennis leaves a legacy of always aiming high, expecting excellence, moving fast, and doing what is right for the people. It has been an honor and a privilege to work with such an incredible leader and wonderful friend. He will be greatly missed."