STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

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.

Article Comments

Medford
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 81°
Brookings
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 52°
Crater Lake
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 71°
Grants Pass
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 81°
Klamath Falls
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 71°
Brighter & warm Easter weekend
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

April 9th - Pet of The Week

Image

Thursday, April 9 afternoon weather

Image

Thursday, April 9 morning weather

Image

Wednesday, April 8th Evening Weather

Image

Anywhere Learning: Bilingual P.E.

Image

Anywhere Learning: Underwater Adventure

Image

Smokejumpers use their sewing skills to make homemade face masks

Image

A closer look at what makes COVID-19 testing so complicated

Image

Monarque Health & Wellness offers virtual sessions for patients in need

Image

Testing at SkyLakes