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Public pays respect to late Oregon Secretary of State

Lawmakers held hands and sang 'Amazing Grace' as part of their final tribute to Oregon's late Secretary of State Dennis Richardson.

Posted: Mar 6, 2019 11:45 AM
Updated: Mar 6, 2019 5:48 PM

By SARAH ZIMMERMAN

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Former Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, who died in office last month following a battle with brain cancer, was honored Wednesday at a state funeral with stories about his devotion to his faith, family and the state.

Richardson, 69, was Oregon's top elections official and held the second-highest office in the state after the governor. He was the highest-ranking Republican in state government and was the first Republican elected to statewide office in years.

Lawmakers and colleagues paid their respects during a state funeral on the floor of the Oregon House of Representatives, where Richardson served for 12 years.

Through tears and laughter, acting Secretary of State Leslie Cummings praised Richardson for wholehearted dedication to public service, recalling that Richardson would often work from early in the morning until late at night, and would bring such an enthusiasm to his work that his colleagues called him the "Energizer Bunny."


LINK: Lawmakers and colleagues of Secretary Richardson react to news of his passing.


Richardson prioritized election fairness and conducting thorough audits on the state's ailing foster care system, Portland Public Schools and the state's Medicaid program.

Cummings took over day-to-day operations last October, about four months after Richardson publicly announced he was diagnosed with cancer. As he battled the disease, he kept working, encouraging Oregonians to register to vote, using social media as a pro-democracy tool and overseeing audits done by his office's audit team.

Democratic Gov. Kate Brown remarked in her eulogy that he was a respected friend and mentor to colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

"Dennis embodied what it means to be a dedicated public servant: hardworking, passionate, and wholeheartedly committed to making Oregon a better place on behalf of those he represented," she said.

Brown will appoint Richardson's successor in the coming weeks. Her office said she would consider a Republican who commits to not entering the 2020 election.

During the funeral, Richardson, a former combat helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War, was accorded full military honors, including a 21-gun salute from the Oregon National Guard outside the Capitol.

He will be buried in Medford, near his hometown of Central Point. Born in Los Angeles, he opened his own law practice in Oregon after graduating from Brigham Young University. A devout Mormon, he and his wife Cathy have nine children and 31 grandchildren.

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, the only Republican member of Oregon's congressional delegation, remarked that Richardson's "quiet competence and civility were a rarity in today's world."

This was Oregon's first state funeral since 1983 for former Gov. Tom McCall.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 21488

Reported Deaths: 357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah496096
Washington311925
Marion293870
Umatilla230228
Clackamas154940
Malheur80414
Deschutes61110
Lane5903
Jackson4732
Yamhill46713
Lincoln4189
Union3942
Morrow3723
Jefferson3714
Polk31912
Linn28410
Klamath2012
Hood River1930
Wasco1923
Benton1696
Douglas1511
Josephine1152
Columbia970
Coos910
Clatsop850
Crook491
Baker400
Tillamook340
Lake320
Wallowa191
Sherman160
Curry150
Harney100
Gilliam40
Grant40
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 574231

Reported Deaths: 10476
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2105434998
Riverside41983820
Orange40527726
San Bernardino36072546
San Diego32975594
Kern24440171
Fresno17846171
Alameda13631209
San Joaquin12864223
Santa Clara12694205
Sacramento12040177
Tulare10862196
Stanislaus10264169
Imperial9693244
Contra Costa9404139
Ventura863492
San Francisco762367
Santa Barbara670469
San Mateo6318120
Merced573670
Monterey544635
Marin540481
Kings445356
Solano427441
Sonoma367047
Madera246339
Placer231922
San Luis Obispo225416
Yolo183444
Santa Cruz12436
Butte12388
Napa107411
Sutter9527
San Benito7654
El Dorado7552
Lassen6830
Yuba6464
Mendocino47210
Shasta45910
Colusa3914
Glenn3603
Nevada3571
Humboldt2864
Tehama2761
Lake2402
Amador1822
Mono1581
Tuolumne1553
Calaveras1471
Inyo1063
Siskiyou1020
Del Norte1000
Mariposa622
Plumas360
Modoc50
Trinity50
Sierra40
Alpine20
Unassigned00
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