With so many traveling to be with family this week, the halls of the Capitol are especially quiet. I took the opportunity to spend a few minutes walking through this beautiful building reflecting on how thankful I am to have been given this unique opportunity to serve my state and each of you.
This first year as your Secretary of State has been a whirlwind—getting the Executive Office organized and learning my new responsibilities has been an exciting challenge and a joy. I’m so thankful for the assistance I and my Executive team received from the existing staff. In those early days, so many helped us get up-to-speed, and I couldn’t have asked for better support than we’ve received from our professional and dedicated staff.
I’m thankful for what our team has been able to accomplish for the people of Oregon in such a short time. We’ve protected voting rights for more than 60,000 Oregonians; we raised over $100,000 to restore and display the Oregon Constitution; we raised the government transparency bar by being the first Oregon state agency to post our checkbook online; we streamlined the process for Public Records requests; and we shifted our Audits Division into high gear to ensure state agencies are worthy of your trust as taxpayers. Our Audits Division produced Oregon’s first Audit Plan and issued an important Audit Alert last May to inform legislators of millions of dollars being wasted at the Oregon Health Authority.
I’m thankful to all those in public service who work diligently, both as individuals and team members, and who have saved Oregon taxpayers millions of dollars with their great ideas for more effective and efficient government. A few examples of such outstanding public servants include those I recognized earlier in the year: Mary Beth Herkert, Austin Schulz, Sarah Roth, Ashish Puri, and John McCormick.
I’m thankful for my wife Cathy, my children, and my faith. The most precious moments of my life have all been centered on them, and I wonder every day how I could have been so fortunate to be so blessed.
Lastly, I’m thankful for you, the people of Oregon. Thank you for trusting me with the responsibility of being your Secretary of State. We have accomplished much, and I will continue to honor you by working hard to bring accountability, transparency, and integrity to your state government with “liberty and justice for all.”