The next secretary of state will hold the second highest-ranking position in state government, one that has been a stepping stone for higher office. The secretary of state oversees several divisions of state government, including one that oversees elections and another that audits state agencies. The secretary of state also serves with the governor and the treasurer on the State Lands Board, which oversees nearly 1.6 million acres of agricultural, grazing, forest and submerged and submersible land.
Here's a look at what the candidates for the May 20 Democratic nomination would like to do with some of the key areas of responsibility for secretary of state:
KATE BROWN: Use the office to educate Oregonians about sustainability practices and global warming, following in the work of current Secretary of State Bill Bradbury.
RICK METSGER: Push to make the office nonpartisan. Use the office to provide leadership on a broad range of issues facing the state.
VICKI WALKER: Bring greater accountability and transparency to government. Seek a constitutional amendment allowing campaign contribution limits.
BROWN: Build on her recent initiative-reform legislationwith more staff time devoted to investigations into signature-gathering activities to ensure laws are being followed. Consider using retired judges to draft ballot titles and the Legislature's in-house lawyers to draft initiatives. Transfer signature-verificationfrom the counties to the state Elections Division. Encourage greater voter participation, especially among young people.
METSGER: More spot-checks of the signature-gathering process to be sure initiative laws are being followed. Make the secretary a nonvoting member of the state Board of Education to ensure civic engagement is instilled in students. Push a constitutional amendment so constitutional changes can limit government, but not private parties. Reform campaign finances by seeking constitutional change so corporations cannot contribute to campaigns.
WALKER: Reform campaign finances by limiting contributions and banning money transfers from candidates, political parties and leadership committees to other candidates and committees. Reform the initiative system through an amendment that prevents those with repeat election-law violations from filing new measures, and putting the state in charge of signature verification.
BROWN: Expand the use of performance audits to make sure government programs do what they're supposed to. Take a leadership role with audited agencies to help them implement recommendations.
METSGER: Do more performance audits to ensure government programs are getting intended results. Better communicate audit findings - when government is working well and when it isn't - to policy-makers and the public.
WALKER: Seek authority for limited audits of businesses that get tax subsidies to measure their job creation and other benefits. Use auditing power to ensure minority-owned businesses can access economic incentive programs.
STATE LAND BOARD MEMBERSHIP
BROWN: Oversee the management of state lands while following the Iroquois philosophy of seeking to benefit those to come seven generations into the future. Look into whether the state is subsidizing ranchers' use of state lands for grazing. Ensure certainty on which waters are navigable and open to boaters and which are not.
METSGER: Pursue policies of using forests and grazing lands to put money into schools - but in a sustainable way. Govern with a philosophy of sustainability so today's residents and those of the future both benefit. Pursue public-private partnerships to use state lands for green energy production.
WALKER: Promote transfer of state trust land management and Common School Fund programs from the Department of State Lands to a new Common School Fund agency. Pursue state ownership of the 2,673 acres the federal government has owed Oregon since statehood. Encourage renewable energy production on state trust lands.
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|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Apr 30, 2008|
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