Ore. statewide officials take oath, begin new term

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Four Oregon Democrats took the oath of office Friday to continue in their jobs after winning the November election.

Secretary of State Kate Brown, Treasurer Ted Wheeler and Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian all won their second elections. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum won her first election after being appointed to the office in June. All four will serve four-year terms.

Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber, whose office was not on the ballot last year, administered the oath.

Rosenblum, the first woman elected Oregon attorney general, acknowledged the milestone but said she looks forward to a day when there are no more milestones to celebrate.

"Together with the 1,300 employees at the Department of Justice, we will do justice, we will serve the rule of law, we will work every day to protect and advocate for the most vulnerable among us," Rosenblum said.

Kitzhaber appointed her to the job after she won the Democratic primary in May. She replaced John Kroger, who left office six months early to become president of Reed College. In the November election, Rosenblum easily defeated a Republican who didn't spend much money.

As treasurer, Wheeler pledged to be a fiscal watchdog, champion access to higher education and vocational training, work on implementing his Oregon Investment Act and partner with other West Coast states to improve access to funding for infrastructure projects.

"All of these are big ideas," Wheeler said. "All of them require a heavy political lift. But I'm confident that if we all pull together, as we typically do here in the state of Oregon, that we will get these things and many others done."

Wheeler was first appointed treasurer in 2010 and was elected to the job later that year after the death of Ben Westlund.

Brown said she'd use a second term as secretary of state to ensure effective auditing of government agencies and would ask the Legislature for authority to create an office to help small businesses navigate the state regulatory process. She also said it's time for Oregon to limit contributions to political campaigns.

"I will put the strength of democracy before politics," she said.

Avakian said the four statewide elected officials work together as a team to do good work for the people of Oregon.

"Every Oregonian is touched in some way by the very important work that these four offices do," Avakian said.

State legislators will begin their terms Jan. 14.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.