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Brad Avakian: Oregon's Labor Commissioner

Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian will run for Secretary of State, focus on progressive priorities

PORTLAND, ORE.—Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian today announced his candidacy for Oregon Secretary of State, emphasizing his progressive record on civil rights, clean energy, and skills training for Oregon workers.

“I’m running to the kind of active, progressive leader that Oregonians need on the priorities that are so important to our future,” said Avakian. “Increasing corporate accountability in the workplace, using a wider range of tools to create jobs, and combating climate change are just a few of the areas where this office can lead the way.”

Through the work of the Audits and Business Services Divisions, the Secretary of State can advance important economic priorities like ensuring equal pay for equal work. The Secretary of State also serves on the State Land Board, where its unique role managing state navigable rivers, forests and areas off the coast has tremendous potential for clean-energy job growth.

“When it comes to elections, Oregon is ahead of the curve,” added Avakian. “And we can build on this foundation by fostering more participation and civic engagement. A good place to start is expanding access to civics education in Oregon’s middle schools and high schools.”

As Labor Commissioner, Avakian has directed more than $22 million into the pockets of Oregonians who’ve been treated unfairly. Earlier this year, Avakian secured a record $2.5 million dollar settlement against Daimler Trucks North America stemming from complaints of racial discrimination and harassment. He led the charge to return 21st century shop classes to 200 middle schools and high schools, providing access to more than 100,000 students around the state so far.

Prior to serving as Labor Commissioner, Avakian worked as a civil rights attorney and served as a legislator from 2003 to 2008. He was named "Consensus Builder of the Year" by the Oregon League of Conservation Voters for his work passing the Oregon Renewable Energy Act of 2007 — the most significant climate legislation in a generation. Avakian led the effort to establish home care workers the right to organize. A long-time supporter of equal rights for all Oregonians, Avakian helped pass the Oregon Equality Act, carrying the bill on the senate floor.

When budget cuts slashed music and arts programs in local schools, Avakian worked with parents and educators to create the Southwest Music School.

He graduated from Oregon State University in 1984 with a BS in Psychology and Lewis and Clark Law School in 1990 with a JD. Avakian lives in Washington County with his wife and high school sweetheart Debbie. They have two children, Nathan and Claire, who are both pursuing careers in the performing arts.

Posted on October 6, 2015.

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