SALEM, Ore. - Former state lawmaker and Oregon House speaker Bev Clarno took the official oath of office to become secretary of state at her Redmond home Sunday night before heading to Salem to take up her new official duties, a spokesman said.
Former Deschutes County Chief Circuit Judge Michael Sullivan, a longtime friend, administered the oath to Clarno after her return home, aide Randy Hilderbrand said. A formal ceremony is planned for later this week in Salem.
Gov. Kate Brown on Friday appointed Clarno to serve as secretary of state, completing the nearly two unfilled years of the term of Dennis Richardson.
During her tenure in Salem, Clarno served as House speaker and Senate Republican leader. She was also appointed by President George W. Bush as director for Region 10 of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“Bev’s career is marked by her trailblazing spirit, focus on fiscal responsibility, and a commitment to Oregonians,” Brown said. “Bev’s experience as a legislator and as a manager of a large government organization is key to the success of the programs and employees the Secretary of State oversees. I’m confident that Bev will continue the legacy of accountability and integrity that Secretary Richardson left on the office of Secretary of State."
Clarno said, “I'm honored by the confidence that Governor Brown has placed in me and pledge to be a good steward of the office.
"I know there is not a Republican way or a Democrat way to oversee elections—there is only a fair and honest way. There is not a Republican way or a Democrat way to audit state agencies, there is only a fair, thorough, and honest way. I will administer the key functions of this office in a way that will earn the trust and faith of all Oregonians,” she added.
Brown had committed to choosing a Republican who promised not to seek re-election in 2020. Brown said she wants the secretary of state to focus on overseeing the election, not on running for office. The position is the state's second-highest office, behind the governor.
Clarno, 83, was born in Langlois and had been a hog farmer and cattle rancher, real estate broker and appraiser, among other occupations, before her election in 1988 to the Oregon House. She was reelected three times and served as House speaker from 1995 to 1997.
Clarno did not seek reelection to the House again in 1996, choosing instead to run for state treasurer, but lost to the then-incumbent, Jim Hill.
She was elected to the Oregon Senate in 2000 and served as Senate Republican leader in the 2003 session. During that session, the Oregon Senate had a 15-15 Republican-Democrat split.
A dedicated community volunteer, Clarno has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Oregon Historical Society, the Maryhill Museum, the Deschutes River Conservancy, the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center, the Central Oregon Community College Foundation and the Redmond Chamber of Commerce.
Brown's office said Clarno will take the oath of office over the next several days, and she will be sworn in ceremonially the week of April 1. Updates from Clarno's team will be posted to the @BevClarnoPublic Twitter account.