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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: 41348

Reported Deaths: 649
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah8955159
Marion5684107
Washington561274
Umatilla332844
Clackamas306165
Lane229427
Malheur189737
Jackson16176
Deschutes109813
Yamhill98315
Linn78815
Polk64315
Jefferson6009
Morrow5436
Lincoln51113
Union4652
Benton4336
Klamath4053
Wasco34715
Douglas3425
Hood River2771
Josephine2623
Columbia2531
Clatsop2370
Coos2360
Baker1143
Crook1002
Tillamook700
Curry571
Wallowa402
Lake340
Harney210
Sherman180
Gilliam110
Grant110
Wheeler10
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 898799

Reported Deaths: 17305
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2968216974
Riverside657571279
San Bernardino617261070
Orange580101440
San Diego53928867
Kern33669416
Fresno30471436
Sacramento25094482
Santa Clara23881388
Alameda23133456
San Joaquin21528488
Contra Costa18413240
Stanislaus17509396
Tulare17425284
Ventura14124162
Imperial12700336
San Francisco12032140
Monterey1128487
San Mateo11002159
Santa Barbara9715120
Merced9439154
Sonoma9163134
Kings820183
Solano728674
Marin7045128
Madera498174
San Luis Obispo412132
Placer408857
Yolo314458
Butte304652
Santa Cruz275325
Napa192815
Shasta183930
Sutter183712
San Benito143215
El Dorado13084
Yuba129310
Mendocino112121
Tehama8528
Lassen7641
Lake67915
Glenn6523
Nevada6038
Humboldt5619
Colusa5496
Calaveras33917
Amador31716
Tuolumne2624
Inyo22715
Siskiyou1880
Del Norte1781
Mono1762
Mariposa782
Plumas630
Modoc290
Trinity260
Sierra60
Alpine30
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