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State's top officers have political history

Brown was the Democratic caucus leader and Clarno led the Republicans in evenly divided Senate.

COURTESY GOV. KATE BROWN - Gov. Kate Brown and Secretary of State Bev Clarno.Gov. Kate Brown and newly minted Secretary of State Bev Clarno have a political history together — and now, a political present and future together.

After the 2002 election, when the Oregon Senate was evenly divided among Democrats and Republicans, Brown was the Democratic caucus leader and Clarno led the Republicans. They brokered a compromise under which Peter Courtney, a Salem Democrat, became Senate president. Democrats won an outright majority in 2004, and Brown became Senate majority leader. Courtney has been serving as Senate president ever since.

Brown was required to name a Republican to serve out the remainder of Dennis Richardson's term. She selected her former Senate counterpart, who resigned after the 2003 legislative session for an administrative position in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"Even though she and I may have disagreed about policies, we always agreed on a path forward," Brown said.

"As leaders, we knew that we could disagree on many issues," Clarno said. "But we also knew that if we were to succeed doing the people's business, we had to develop a relationship built on respect, honesty and trust."

Clarno thanked Brown for naming her as secretary of state, as well as her husband, Ray, for supporting her.

"The next 21 months will not be what we had imagined a few weeks ago," Clarno said. "A few trips have been canceled. But I know these will be busy times — challenging and fulfilling one."

Richardson died in February after a protracted battle with brain cancer. His office was managed for almost a full month by Deputy Secretary of State Leslie Cummings and other members of his staff.

Cummings and other former Richardson staffers left their positions at Clarno's request as she took office