Avakian nips Starr to retain Oregon labor commissioner post

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Democrat Brad Avakian has been re-elected Oregon labor commissioner.

Avakian fought off a tough challenge from Republican state Sen. Bruce Starr Tuesday to secure a second term at the helm of the Bureau of Labor and Industries.

The race is technically nonpartisan, but both parties invested heavily in electing their candidate. Avakian benefited from a late advertising blitz labeling Starr as extreme.

Avakian and Starr are both veteran state legislators and lifelong residents of Washington County. Avakian said he's beefed up workforce training and the prosecution of wage-cheating employers.

Starr said he'd be laser-focused on improving the climate for Oregon businesses in hopes of creating new jobs.

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