Gov. Brown’s partisan Sec of State appointment

Jeanne Atkins_thb

Jeanne Atkins

by NW Spotlight

Gov. Kate Brown (D) appointed Jeanne Atkins yesterday as Secretary of State to fill the vacancy created by Brown becoming governor in the wake of the Kitzhaber resignation.

The Statesman Journal reports that Atkins “has a long history of experience in Oregon’s Democratic political establishment,” and recently retired from serving as the state director for Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley. In the past “she ran the Women’s and Reproductive Health division of the Oregon Department of Human Services for six years, and she has worked for Planned Parenthood.”

The Oregonian reports that while Atkins worked for Planned Parenthood, she oversaw seven abortion clinics. In the bio provided by the Governor’s office, it shows that Atkins also worked as a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood.

Kara Walker, the House Republicans’ Communications Director, had this to say on the appointment: “The law calls for a Democratic placeholder in the Secretary of State’s Office, but I don’t know that Governor Brown could’ve picked an individual with more partisan credentials than Ms. Atkins. This appointment comes a day after the governor named the former Oregon teachers’ union leader as her new education policy advisor. OEA yesterday, Planned Parenthood today – what’s tomorrow, Sierra Club? It’s clear that the same old revolving door of partisan ideologues is alive and well in Salem.”

The Oregonian is also reporting that Atkins will just be serving in a caretaker role; Atkins said she won’t run in 2016 for a full four-year term as Secretary of State. Listed as possibly being interested in running for Secretary of State in 2016 were: House Majority Val Hoyle, D-Eugene; Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum, D-Portland; and Sen. Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin. The Oregonian reported “Republicans, who haven’t won a statewide seat in Oregon since 2002, don’t seem to have a similar list of likely candidates.”

[Editor’s note] One of the commenters disapproved of referring to Planned Parenthood clinics as abortion clinics. All Planned Parenthood clinics in Oregon provide either abortion services or abortion referrals. “Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest single provider of abortions” and provides nearly 1 million abortions nationally every three years. (Planned Parenthood abortions: 2013 – 327,653, 2012 – 327,166, 2011 – 333,964)

In a June 2014 article on the closure of Planned Parenthood clinics in Oregon, the Oregonian noted “The closures come as teen birth rates both in Oregon and nationally are at their lowest point in decades.”