Until the end of last week, it appeared as though our own Chamber President & CEO, Brad Hicks, might be Oregon’s next Secretary of State, replacing his friend and fellow Southern Oregonian, Dennis Richardson. Governor Kate Brown called Hicks just before her 3:30PM announcement on Friday March 29th naming former Speaker of the House, Bev Clarno to the post. Richardson was the first Republican elected to statewide office in over 14 years and served two years in the office until succumbing to brain cancer in February. Richardson was known to travel the state educating other chambers of commerce to get in the game of electing pro-business candidates to office. He would often say, “I wouldn’t be standing here as your Secretary of State if it weren’t for the Medford Chamber.” Hicks recalled a phone conversation with Richardson several months before the Secretary’s passing in which he asked Hicks if he would be interested. “First, I laughed out loud,” said Brad Hicks, then, when I realized he wasn’t joking, I said, you are the only person I want to be Secretary of State. Focus on your treatment so you can get back to work.” Hicks said he never gave it another thought until he heard that his name was on a rumored “short list,” a rumor confirmed when he got a call from Governor Kate Brown.
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After a flurry of phone and face-to-face interviews over several weeks, the suspense came to a close when Governor Brown appointed Clarno. Hicks praised the Governor’s choice, “Bev is a long-time friend and someone in whom I have great confidence. She is a veteran of Salem and will have no problem jumping right into the work of Secretary of State,” continuing with, "if I’m going to be runner-up to anyone, I’d pick Bev Clarno. That’s pretty good company.”

Hicks made it clear during the process that he never sought the position, nor would he seek re-election, but is finding the number of calls, texts and emails asking him to run for the office next cycle overwhelming. “Nothing like such a process to make you take inventory of the blessings you already have. I love my career at The Chamber, I love my family, my friends, my home, this community. With all of that in mind, it was already quite a leap to consider this appointment. I know full well that running for statewide office is an entirely different deal altogether.”  

Others have praised Hicks for simply being in the conversation.  “It says a lot about Brad and about our Chamber for him to be so highly considered,” said Chamber Treasurer and Past-Chair, David Wright. “The reasons that allow him to be such an effective advocate for business in Southern Oregon are the exact reasons why he would be considered for this position. Brad has a reputation of being determined but pragmatic and has deep and long-term relationships on both sides of the political aisle,” said Travis Snyder, Chair of the Legislative Action Team for The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County. “There were as many Democrats as there were Republicans pulling for Brad in this process and I think that speaks to the way in which Brad would have approached the job of Secretary of State, with an unbiased application of the law.” Snyder continued with, “just being in the running is a good example of what can happen when local chambers lead.”

Looking back at the whirlwind process, Hicks remarked, “it was an honor of a lifetime to be in the mix and it would have been an even greater honor to have served the Governor and the Great State of Oregon, but most importantly, to have served the Oregonians who marked their ballots for Dennis Richardson, by securing his legacy.”
Hicks Finalist for Secretary of State Appointment
BY Lydia Salvey | April 9, 2019
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Chamber President & CEO goes down to the wire in process to replace the late Secretary of State, Dennis Richardson.
The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County
101 E. 8th St.  |  Medford, OR 97501
Phone: (541) 779-4847

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