Oregon governor names new secretary of state after last one resigned over work for pot industry
Jun 28, 2023, 11:09 AM | Updated: 11:24 am
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — LaVonne Griffin-Valade has been appointed Oregon’s new secretary of state, Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek announced in a news release Wednesday, filling the vacancy created when Shemia Fagan resigned last month over criticism for her consultancy work for a marijuana business.
Griffin-Valade worked as a government performance auditor for more than 16 years, according to Kotek’s news release.
“I told Oregonians in May that the primary objective of our next Secretary of State was to restore confidence in the office. LaVonne Griffin-Valade has the professional background and ethical judgment to rise above politics and lead the important work of the agency forward,” Kotek said. “This role demands accountability and transparency, especially at this moment, and I am eager to see her leadership restore faith in the Secretary of State’s office.”
Fagan paid $10,000 a month, with bonuses three times that amount if she helped the company get licensed in other states. The secretary of state’s salary is $77,000 annually.
Fagan started working for La Mota in February while her office was wrapping up an audit of the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission. The business has come under financial scrutiny, allegedly owing $1.7 million in unpaid bills and more in state and federal taxes, according to Willamette Week.
The new secretary of state, Griffin-Valade, was hired as an auditor for Multnomah County, home to Portland, in 1998. She then served as the elected Portland City Auditor from 2009 to 2014, according to Wednesday’s news release.
“I have the experience to bring back credibility, accountability, transparency, and trust to the Secretary of State’s office,” Griffin-Valade said in the news release. “It’s never been more important to have a leader who will focus on rebuilding the public’s trust in the Secretary of State’s office, and that is exactly what I will aim to do every day.”
Griffin-Valade will serve the remaining 18 months of the current term. She will be sworn in Friday in the state capital Salem.