Kulongoski to appoint Brad Avakian to Labor post

Nigel Jaquiss at Willamette Week and Jeff Mapes at the Oregonian are both reporting that Governor Ted Kulongoski will appoint Senator Brad Avakian as the new Labor Commissioner.

Here's WW:

WWire has learned that Sen. Brad Avakian (D-Bethany) has told fellow Secretary of State candidates that he will be named the new BOLI commissioner tomorrow. No comment yet from the governor's office or Avakian.

And the Oregonian:

Gov. Ted Kulongoski will make an announcement Thursday on his replacement for Gardner. Anna Richter Taylor, the governor's spokesman, said he wants to move swiftly to "assure continuity at the agency." The word I hear is that it is going to be state Sen. Brad Avakian, D-Beaverton, who is currently running for secretary of state.

If true, speed is of the essence. Candidates who filed for the May primary ballot have until Friday to drop out and ensure they're not on the ballot.

Avakian is currently running for Secretary of State. What will this news mean for the SOS race? Winners? Losers?


  • JHL (unverified)

    Holy moley... Big bump for Rick Metsger! The liberal ladies will split the lefty Portland vote and now the suburban Dems will turn to Metsger. Go Rick!

    Well, that's my call.

  • Larry McD (unverified)

    Oh, Frakking Great!

    First I lost $100 on Angie Paccione in Colorado when the party establishment forced her to fold. Then I send poor dear desperate Darlene Hooley $250 and she bails because she's tired of it all. Now with $300 of my money in his campaign fund, Avakian loses interest.

    I can stand losing... but sending up the white flag after using my money to buy the pole? I'm getting very very tired of it.

  • verasoie (unverified)

    How does this impact Brad Avakian's seat? Is it competitive? Has anyone else declared? Will there be a special election for it?

  • Jack Murray (unverified)
    Posted by: verasoie | Mar 12, 2008 4:30:58 PM

    Avakian represents NW Portland, Cedar Hills, and a big chunk of the territory north of Hwy 26 out to North Plains. Rep. Mitch Greenlick (HD 33) and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (HD 34) serve that district in the House, and either one of them could easily move to the Senate.

    As a whole the Senate District is pretty solidly Democratic. In 2006, Republicans failed to recruit a candidate in the Primary. A write-in emerged and was on the ballot in the General, but lost handily to Avakian. (That same R, Piotr Kuklinski, is challenging Bonamici in the General for HD 34). Both HD 33 and HD 34 are pretty Democratic, but 34 is more of a swing district and needs a solid D candidate to win.

    Not sure which one will go to the Senate, or if neither will.

    Sam Chase, who ran against Avakian in 2006's primary, may want some of the action. Additionally, there are many people in Greenlick's district that want to serve, and one of them has already raised tens of thousands of dollars for 2010.


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    I know Brad Avakian, and I could not be happier for him. Brad has always been a huge supporter of Labor in this State. While Kate, the clear front runner for Secretary of State got the endorsement of the OEA, Brad was an extremely close second - deservedly so. So I know he will be excellent in this position, and should win election statewide easily.

    Congratulations, Brad. I wish you all the best.

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    Wow. If this turns out to indeed be the case, it sure makes things a little easier for me to make a decision in the SOS race. I'd been having a hard time choosing... too many good candidates.

    It'll be interesting to see what happens to Avakian's seat. Since he was elected in '06, his seat is between elections.

    In case anyone was wondering, here's what ORS has to say about filling Avakian's state senate seat...

    171.051 Filling vacancies in Legislative Assembly.

    (1) When any vacancy occurs in the Legislative Assembly due to death or recall or by reason of resignation filed in writing with the Secretary of State or a person is declared disqualified by the house to which the person was elected, the vacancy shall be filled by appointment if: ...

    (c) The vacancy occurs in the office of a state Senator before the 61st day before the first general election to be held during that term of office;

    (d) The vacancy occurs in the office of a state Senator at any time after the 62nd day before the first general election and before the 61st day before the second general election to be held during that term of office

    (2) The person appointed under the provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall be a citizen qualified to hold the office, an elector of the affected legislative district and a member of the same political party for at least 180 days before the date on which the vacancy occurred. The political affiliation of a person appointed under subsection (1) of this section shall be determined under ORS 236.100. The appointment shall be made by the county courts or boards of county commissioners of the affected counties pursuant to ORS 171.060 to 171.064. When the provisions of ORS 171.060 (1) are applicable, the appointment shall be made from a list of not fewer than three nor more than five nominees who have signed written statements indicating that they are willing to serve furnished by the Secretary of State. If fewer than three names of nominees are furnished, a list shall not be considered to have been submitted and the county courts or boards of county commissioners shall fill the vacancy. The vacancy must be filled by appointment within 30 days after its occurrence or not later than the time set for the convening of the special session described in subsection (1)(e) of this section when that is the basis for filling the vacancy.

    (3) If the appointing authority required by this section to fill the vacancy does not do so within the time allowed, the Governor shall fill the vacancy by appointment within 10 days.

    (4) Notwithstanding any appointment under the provisions of subsection (1)(c) of this section, when a vacancy occurs in the office of a state Senator before the 61st day before the first general election to be held during that term of office, the remaining two years of the term of office shall be filled by the electors of the affected legislative district at the first general election.

    (5) Candidates for the remaining two years of the term of office of a state Senator under subsection (4) of this section shall be nominated as provided in ORS chapter 249 except as follows:

    (a) A major political party, minor political party, assembly of electors or individual electors may select a nominee for any vacancy occurring before the 61st day before the first general election; and (b) The Secretary of State shall accept certificates of nomination and notifications of nominees selected by party rule and filed with the secretary pursuant to a schedule for filing set by the Secretary of State but in any case not later than the 62nd day before the first general election.

    (6) The remaining two years of the term of office of a state Senator under subsection (4) of this section will commence on the second Monday in January following the general election. Any appointment under the provisions of subsection (1)(c) of this section shall expire when a successor to the office is elected and qualified.

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    I am incredibly happy for Brad to see him potentially appointed to this important position. I know he'll be a fair and thoughtful champion of the people he's represented throughout his career as a labor and civil rights attorney. In Salem, Brad's been an environmental hero, a tireless advocate for schools, and one of the hardest working legislators down there.

    This was always my least favorite primary, hands down. I was proud to support Brad, but hated chosing between him and Kate. I worked in the legislature with Kate and think she's destined for greatness. I think she wins this race, but most importantly, will do a great job as Secretary of State for the next four years.

    Governor, if this is what it appears to be, GREAT call.

  • Jack Murray (unverified)

    Italics off.

    This makes the progressive/liberal choice for SoS that much easier. Kate Brown!

  • Alan Fleischman (unverified)

    I second Charlie Burr's statement.

    While I would be sad to see Brad end his SOS candidacy, I can't think of a better appointment to replace Dan Gardner @ BOLI. Brad has a long record of solid advocacy for Oregon's working families and I have no doubt about his commitment to open, ethical, and progressive governance.

  • Jack Murray (unverified)

    I would like to take this opportunity to formally challenge Brad Avakian to grow a moustache.

    Because we haven't had a non-moustachioed Labor Commissioner since Mary Wendy Roberts.

  • lonnie G. (unverified)

    This is wonderful news! Good for Brad! I'll miss Dan terribly, he was certainly one of the more colorful statewide officials in Oregon. Nice guy and down to earth but always a champion.

  • John English (unverified)

    First of all, Jack Murray, I wasn't aware that Jack Roberts had a mustache, and I think Dan shaved his when he ran, but that's irrelevant.

    WWeek floated Alice Dale's name. I guess they figured that anyone who had fired as many people as she would know something about labor law.

    Brad's a great choice.

  • Bill Whitlatch (unverified)

    Brad Avakian once helped me secure social security disability at a time I could not work due to a heart transplant. He is a good man and does care about people very much.

    Good Luck Brad !

  • (Show?)

    This sounds like a great development, and it certainly will make the SoS campaign more interesting. I have a very high opinion of Brad Avakian and I know he will be a strong advocate for working people in the BOLI job.

  • (Show?)

    I think many of us who were torn between Brad and Kate are breathing a sigh odf relief today, as perhaps the most difficult choice for SOS has been made moot. Best of luck to Brad in his post as BOLI, and good luck to Kate in her run too.

  • LT (unverified)

    Great fan of Brad, now I know who I will vote for in Sec. of State race ---was torn between 2 before.

  • Jon (unverified)

    I for one would love to see Mike Shaufler run for BOLI. Nothing against Brad I just think that Mike would be a better choice.

  • sadie (unverified)

    As a long-time Brad Avakian supporter, if this makes him happy I'm OK with it.

    Perhaps something can be done to increase the power of individual employees and strengthen the ability for individuals to start up small businesses by finally doing away with our ridiculous non-compete laws! We could copy CA on that and do quite well.

    At least I think being in charge of labor would give some power to Brad to do something to give power to the laborers in this regard.

  • Gary (unverified)

    I thought this was an interesting take on it from politicker:

    Washington County has been an Avakian stronghold in previous races; the Senator enjoyed a three to one vote advantage in 2006.

    “Now this Loyal base of support is completely up for grabs,” according to Jack Isselmann, a partner in the Government Relations Practice Group at Tonkin Torp.

    Brown and Metsger, who have led Walker in fundraising, are expected to enjoy the benefit of the votes that once would have been Avakian’s, but the ultimate outcome is a toss-up between geography and ideology.

    Brown, from Portland, would enjoy an urban allure in the area, although Metsger—who generally appeals to more rural and agricultural voters—spent many years as a journalist at KOIN-TV, a Portland based station. Many of the voters in the county tend to be more moderate Democrats, which might suggest Metsger will have more appeal, according to Isselmann.

    “Senator Brown has the advantage of geography, but Sen. Metsger might have the advantage of ideology in Washington County,” Isselmann said.

    Metsger, now the only man in the race, might also benefit from the new gender differential. Although there are more registered women Democrats in the county, it is possible that their votes will split between Brown and Walker in the primary, making way for Metsger.

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