Dennis Michael Richardson (born July 30, 1949) is an American lawyer, businessman, and politician. He is the 26th and current Secretary of State of Oregon. Richardson is from Central Point, Oregon and served six terms in the Oregon House of Representatives as a member of the Oregon Republican Party. He represented House District 4, which includes portions of Jackson and Josephine counties, and was the Republican nominee for Governor of Oregon in the 2014 election, losing to incumbent John Kitzhaber.
|26th Secretary of State of Oregon|
Assumed office |
January 2, 2017
|Preceded by||Jeanne Atkins|
|Member of the Oregon House of Representatives|
from the 4th district
January 2003 – January 2015
|Preceded by||Cherryl Walker|
|Succeeded by||Duane Stark|
Dennis Michael Richardson|
July 30, 1949
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Education||Brigham Young University, Utah (BA, JD)|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
The son of a carpenter, Richardson grew up in Southeast Los Angeles but has been an Oregon resident since 1979. He enlisted in the U.S. Army’s Warrant Officer Helicopter Pilot Training Program and during his 1971 deployment, he flew combat missions out of Chu Lai, Vietnam. The South Vietnamese Army awarded him its Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Two years following his honorable discharge from the Army, Richardson and his wife Cathy were married. They are parents of one son and eight daughters. Richardson earned his bachelor and law degrees at Brigham Young University. After law school, Richardson set up his legal practice in Central Point, Oregon, where he worked for more than 30 years before retiring in 2010.
In 1984 Richardson was invited by the Reagan Administration to participate at the White House in a series of briefings by President Ronald Reagan and his Cabinet. Richardson served as Chairman of the Oregon Republican Party’s Second Congressional District in 1996–2000, and Treasurer of the Oregon Republican Party in 1999–2003. In 2000, Richardson was recruited to serve on the Central Point City Council, which helped inspire his decision to run for the Oregon State Legislature.
Richardson was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 2002, where he served for 12 years (six terms).
In his second term, Richardson was elected by unanimous vote of both Democratic and Republican colleagues as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Oregon House of Representatives’ 73rd Legislative Session (2005) and chosen to oversee multibillion-dollar health and human service budgets as Chair of the Joint Senate–House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.
In his third term, Richardson was reelected and served in the 74th Legislative Assembly (2007), where he was selected to serve as the Minority Whip and as Vice-Chair of the House Health Care Policy Committee.
Prior to the opening of the 2011 session, Richardson served on the Republican negotiations team and helped craft the “Oregon Co-Governance Model." Later in 2011, Richardson was selected to oversee the $55 billion combined State budgets as Co-Chair of the Full Joint Senate–House Ways & Means Committee.
In July 2013, announced his candidacy as a Republican candidate for the Governor of Oregon in 2014, with a strong focus on small business growth in the state. He won the nomination with 65% of the vote. Richardson went on to lose the 2014 General Election to Democratic incumbent, John Kitzhaber, who was elected to his fourth term as Oregon’s Governor.
In the concluding weeks of the campaign, Richardson emphasized the corruption of Governor Kitzhaber and his administration and called for a federal investigation with a 13-page letter sent to the Federal Prosecutor in Portland, Oregon. Although insufficient to turn the tide on election day, newly re-elected Governor John Kitzhaber announced his resignation three months later on February 13, 2015.
He is the first Republican to win a statewide election in Oregon since 2002, and the first Republican nominee to win a Secretary of State election in Oregon since 1980. Richardson was administered the oath of office on December 30, 2016, and formally took office on January 2, 2017.
|Democratic||Dennis Richardson (write-in)||73||29.92|
|Democratic||Dennis Richardson (write-in)||42||48.84|
|Constitution||Richard D. Hake||3,047||12.45|
|Pacific Green||Jason Levin||29,561||2.01|
|Constitution (Oregon)||Aaron Auer||15,929||1.08|
|Pacific Green||Alan Zundel||48,946||2.55%|
|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for Governor of Oregon
| Secretary of State of Oregon