Castillo takes oath, makes history.
SALEM - Susan Castillo of Eugene stepped down Monday from the state Senate and assumed her new role as Oregon's superintendent of public instruction.
Castillo took her oath in the Senate chambers as she began the first day of a four-year term.
Surrounded by her husband, parents, siblings and their spouses, Castillo said she would fight for adequate funding for schools in the face of falling state revenues.
"This is a time when we all need to step up and meet the needs of the kids of Oregon," said Castillo, who served six years in the Senate.
Castillo, 51, defeated outgoing Superintendent Stan Bunn and candidate Rob Kremer to become the first Hispanic to hold statewide office in Oregon. She will oversee 500 employees in the Department of Education and the state schools for blind and deaf students.
Across the Capitol in the House chamber, Dan Gardner of Portland gave up his seat there as he became state labor commissioner.
Gardner succeeds Jack Roberts, who opted against running for a third term so he could instead campaign for governor.
Roberts lost in a three-way GOP primary race and will continue to live in Eugene, where he will be the head of Lane Metro Partnership, the area's economic development agency.
Gardner said he wanted to use his position running the Bureau of Labor and Industries to do more than conduct worker and employer education programs and enforce workplace civil rights protections.
"There must also be a focus on economic development, that will benefit both labor and business," he said.
THOMAS BOYD / The Register-Guard Susan Castillo greets well-wishers as her husband, Paul Machu, looks on after Castillo was sworn in as superintendent of public instruction on Monday.