The race for Oregon’s Secretary of State is far from glamorous. Those running for the position tend to fly under the radar with far too little understanding amongst Oregonians about the importance of the post and its functions. Oregon’s Secretary of State is the second most powerful person in the state. The functions of the role include oversight of 5 divisions within the office – Executive, Archives, Audits, Corporation, and Elections.
Although the race between Knute Buehler and Kate Brown is a partisan one, we agree with both candidates that there is no room for partisanship in the Secretary of State office.
Too many questions currently exist regarding the use of taxpayer dollars to fund state programs and services. The function of auditing Oregon’s expanse of state agencies is a crucial role that requires high levels of communication to all Oregonians. With over 150 agencies, Oregonians should hear much more than we currently do about the successes and failures of agency operations as auditing officials dig deep into agency budgets.
Recent issues that should concern all voters include the $2.1 million dollar Oregon tax refund obtained by Krystle Reyes and originally approved by the Oregon Department of Revenue. What controls are in place operationally to guarantee all Oregonians that this will never happen again?
Or what about the $392 million in overpayments identified over the past few years that have been paid to Oregonians through the unemployment benefit system? We sympathize with the overwhelming caseloads that are given to hard working and capable employees in the Oregon Employment Department. But should we accept the fact that 12 percent of unemployment claims paid by the department in recent years are directly tied to fraud and should never have been paid?
More transparency is needed when assessing the operational integrity of state agencies and the outcomes received in return for the dollars spent by taxpayers.
A secretary of state office that is tenacious and aggressive is needed in representation of all Oregonians. We believe Knute Buehler will be as aggressive as they come in holding agency departments accountable and shining a brighter light on the operational successes we can all be proud of but also the areas that need serious attention.