Secretary of State-elect Richardson announces staff appointments

Secretary of State-elect Dennis Richardson.

Capital Bureau

SALEM — Oregon Secretary of State-elect Dennis Richardson Friday announced a roster of new staff members for the office he’ll take at the end of the month.

The Secretary of State’s executive team — which includes the heads of the office’s seven divisions — is expected to remain largely the same.

However, there will be a new deputy secretary of state, Dave Dotterer.

Dotterer, a Republican, unsuccessfully challenged the late state Sen. Alan Bates, D-Medford, for his Senate seat twice, in 2010 and 2014.

Dotterer was also an aide to Richardson during his time in the Oregon Legislature.

Michael Calcagno, Richardson’s new communications director, said Dotterer will work as deputy secretary of state in an interim capacity until Richardson selects someone for the position long-term.

Dotterer, who is also managing Richardson’s transition, has family obligations that preclude him from working as deputy secretary of state long-term and commuting from Southern Oregon, Calcagno said.

Several staff positions will also change, and Richardson is creating a new position for a coordinator of citizen engagement and inclusion.

Most of the appointees announced Friday have some prior involvement in politics.

The secretary of state, second in line to the governor, is responsible for the administering elections and auditing state agencies, among other duties.

Richardson is a former state legislator from Central Point. He ran for governor against former Gov. John Kitzhaber in 2014.

Richardson said in a statement Friday that he did not anticipate hiring new heads of the office’s seven divisions, although the heads of two prominent divisions, Audits and Elections, are currently serving in an interim capacity. Richardson is seeking long-term replacements for those positions.

The other five divisions of the office are Business Services, the Corporation division, Human Resources, State Archives and Information Services.

Other than the six new staff members announced Friday, Richardson’s statement said he did not “anticipate any other significant personnel changes in the near future.”

Both Deb Royal, Richardson’s new chief of staff, and Eric Jorgensen, Richardson’s new special assistant, worked on Richardson’s campaign.

  • Stephen Elzinga, currently the legislative and legal director for the Senate Republican Caucus, will join the Secretary of State’s Office as government and legal affairs director.

Larry Morgan, an Independent city councilor from Troutdale, will be Richardson’s citizen engagement and inclusion coordinator, which Calcagno said is a new position.

  • Calcagno is an Independent from Gresham with a video production company who ran an unsuccessful bid for state representative this year.

  • During the campaign, Richardson blamed recent failures of state government — such as Cover Oregon and the Columbia River Crossing — in part on lack of oversight.

At a meeting of the Washington County Business Council on Tuesday, Richardson said that he wanted to make state government more transparent and make Spanish and Russian translations of ballots available online.

Richardson is the first Republican to hold the office since 1985.

He has publicly pledged to avoid partisanship, telling the Washington County Business Council that “you won’t be able to tell if I’m a Republican or a Democrat.”

Richardson’s inauguration is scheduled for 11 a.m. Dec. 30 at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem.

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, the sole Republican on Oregon’s congressional delegation, is expected to attend, according to Richardson’s announcement.

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