Editorial: Vote Richardson for secretary of state

If you are voting in the May Republican primary, Dennis Richardson should be your pick for secretary of state.

Richardson has the experience in government and in the private sector. He was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam. He was an attorney in private practice for many years before devoting his life to public service. Richardson served on the Central Point City Council before distinguishing himself for 12 years as a state representative. In the Legislature, he was one of the co-chairs of the joint Ways and Means Committee. During that time, he helped lead the state out of a $3.5 billion budget hole.

A key function of the Secretary of State’s Office is auditing. It looks at state programs to ensure the public’s money is spent properly and that the programs do what they are supposed to. It’s hard to imagine a better candidate for leading that function than Richardson. He knows from experience how the state works and what legislators need to know to make good budget decisions.

The secretary of state also oversees the state’s election division and corporate records. He wants to make it easier for the public and businesses to deal with both. For instance, as good as Oregon’s campaign finance disclosure rules are, it can be a chore to navigate the state’s website to get campaign finance information. He wants to fix that.

Sid Leiken is the other Republican candidate in the primary. Leiken was mayor of Springfield for 10 years and is now a Lane County commissioner.

He has a good idea to expand the small business advocate’s staff to help more businesses with state regulations. And Richardson, himself, says that Leiken would make a good Oregon secretary of state. Leiken would, probably. He did once convert campaign funds for personal use and he freely admits he was wrong. He was fined $2,250 by the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office in 2009.

The primary is about picking the best candidate for the job. Richardson should get your vote.

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