The Oregon Republican Party has named Lynn Snodgrass, a Sandy resident and Gresham Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer, as one of five people it recommends to succeed Secretary of State Dennis Richardson.
Richardson, a Republican, died Feb. 27, after a battle with brain cancer. He was 69.
The list of five nominees put forward by the Oregon GOP includes:
• Snodgrass, who was first elected to the Legislature in 1994 representing District 10. She was chosen as the Republican majority leader for the 1997 session, and later served as Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives. She made an unsuccessful run for Secretary of State in 2000.
• Former State Rep. Katie Eyre of Hillsboro;
• Former State Sen. Bill Kennemer of Canby;
• Former State Rep. Gene Whisnant of Sunriver; and,
• Debra Royal, chief of staff to Dennis Richardson.
Snodgrass said she's honored to be among the nominees suggested by the GOP.
"We're blessed in Oregon to have a lot of people who are qualified to be Secretary of State," Snodgrass said. "The office, while it's Republican because that's who was recently elected, there are dozens and dozens of people who are qualified to do the job. And I'm proud of Gov. Brown's office for taking the time to do the job right. They're trying their best to do a good job in uncharted territory."
During a March 15 press conference, Brown discussed her plans for interviewing Republican nominees, disclosing her preference that the appointee would not run for election to the office in 2020.
"My appointment will oversee another presidential election," Brown said. "I don't want someone who is both running for office and overseeing a presidential election when they've never done elections before. So that's why I am committed to appointing someone who doesn't run for the office again."
Snodgrass said she learned her name was on the list of five when she received a call from the Oregon Republican Party chair. Since then, Snodgrass has had two interviews with staff from the governor's office.
"They are doing their due diligence," Snodgrass said. "They are dealing with a process that is unfamiliar — uncharted territory — of having a Secretary of State passing away. So they are working on a process at the same time they are trying to find a replacement."
Snodgrass was not willing to speculate on how the appointment would mesh with her full-time job as CEO of the Gresham chamber.
"It's so far down the road, I'm not sure I can answer that question," Snodgrass said. "I've had a second interview, and it could be a second interview out of 10. It could be a long time before the governor's office knows who they are going to appoint. So I don't want to borrow trouble, or borrow worry by trying to plan too soon. I'm trying to do everything I can to do a good job today with my Chamber … I love my job. We'll see what happens."
The Oregon Secretary of State is first in line of succession to the governor's office. Among its duties, the office audits public accounts and serves as the state's chief elections officer and administrator of public records. The Secretary of State also may play a large role in legislative redistricting.
If Snodgrass gains the appointment, she said she would work hard to carry on from where Richardson left off.
"I've said in the past that I, personally, couldn't fill (Richardson's) shoes, but I would do my best to fulfill his mission," Snodgrass said. "He campaigned, and his office took on the responsibility, of talking about integrity and accountability and transparency."
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