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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.

Cases: 348766

Reported Deaths: 4161
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah54797689
Washington37988313
Marion36055444
Clackamas29094304
Lane26966298
Jackson22632300
Deschutes19577123
Umatilla14241144
Linn12380120
Douglas11795240
Josephine9233195
Yamhill8517110
Klamath7709110
Polk715380
Malheur551574
Benton529130
Coos489691
Columbia371343
Jefferson361450
Union313146
Lincoln310638
Wasco281540
Crook274745
Clatsop239529
Baker198028
Tillamook193328
Hood River188337
Morrow181623
Curry178122
Harney108424
Grant97612
Lake89011
Wallowa67012
Gilliam1484
Sherman1463
Wheeler991
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4810682

Reported Deaths: 70604
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147569426398
Riverside3693444990
San Diego3641044163
San Bernardino3563155566
Orange3227415518
Sacramento1576212279
Santa Clara1445181890
Kern1441461605
Fresno1441232051
Alameda1198871374
San Joaquin1018071708
Ventura1005241164
Contra Costa99234982
Stanislaus851571315
Tulare78945951
San Francisco54031645
San Mateo53828622
Monterey50696582
Solano45761334
Santa Barbara44836521
Merced41781577
Sonoma40711402
Placer38902415
Imperial35642764
Kings32369314
San Luis Obispo29653329
Madera23518281
Butte23364260
Shasta23360334
Santa Cruz20861218
Yolo20147247
Marin17581243
El Dorado16960149
Sutter13775169
Napa12808100
Yuba994282
Tehama9298104
Humboldt9102108
Nevada903990
Mendocino752786
Lassen746346
San Benito737372
Tuolumne673993
Lake6506104
Amador537264
Siskiyou442742
Glenn430330
Calaveras381780
Del Norte356141
Colusa301718
Inyo196739
Mono16445
Plumas15756
Mariposa127315
Trinity86011
Modoc6698
Unassigned1860
Sierra1760
Alpine1020
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