Gov. Kotek won’t appoint new secretary of state until after May 16 election

SALEM, Ore. (KGW) — Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek has still not put forth an exact timeline to appoint a replacement for former Secretary of State Shemia Fagan, but she clarified Tuesday she wants to get through the May 16 Special Election first.

“Local elections are underway across the state, culminating in Election Day next week on May 16, and I do not want to distract from the important work of the staff in the Secretary of State’s office and the elections team who are working to ensure the election goes smoothly and without disruption,” Kotek said in a statement. “Therefore, I will announce updates on my plans to appoint a new Secretary of State after the election.”

Fagan’s resignation took effect Monday. She announced last week that she would step aside after Willamette Week reported that she held a lucrative consulting side job for the owners of a troubled marijuana dispensary chain, even as her office was auditing Oregon’s cannabis industry regulations.

Deputy Secretary of State Cheryl Myers has taken over as acting secretary of state in the short term, but it falls to Kotek to appoint a replacement who will serve out the remainder of Fagan’s term. The next secretary of state election will be the regularly scheduled one in November 2024.

Under Oregon law, Kotek must appoint a replacement from the same political party as their predecessor — a Democrat, in this case — but there are few other specific restrictions and no hard deadline for Kotek to make her choice.

Kotek said in a statement last week that her office would start the process of looking for a replacement, but that her immediate focus would be on supporting the secretary of state’s office through the election.


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