Oregon women achieve historic milestone next week

January 5, 2019
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FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2015, file photo, Oregon Rep. Val Hoyle, D-Eugene, speaks during a legislative forum at the Capitol in Salem, Ore. When Hoyle, Oregon's next labor commissioner, is sworn in on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, for the first time in Oregon history a majority of statewide elected executive offices will be held by women. Gov. Kate Brown and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum will administer the oath of office to Hoyle. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — When Oregon’s next labor commissioner is sworn in, the state’s governor and attorney general, both women, will be administering the oath of office.

It’s significant, Gov. Kate Brown noted on Friday, because Labor Commissioner-elect Val Hoyle is also a woman.

“For the first time in Oregon history, a majority of statewide elected executive offices will be held by women,” Brown’s office said in a statement.

Brown’s office said she and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum will celebrate the milestone at the swearing-in on Monday, one month before Oregon’s 160th birthday.

Hoyle, a former Democratic member of the Oregon Legislature, was elected in the May primary last year, winning more votes than her two male challengers combined.

Oregonians electedfive statewide officials to the executive branch: governor, secretary of state, treasurer, attorney general, and commissioner of labor and industries. The secretary of state and treasurer are men.

The swearing in will take place in the state House of Representatives, whose speaker and majority leader are both women.

Hoyle will soon be facing a big decision as head of the Bureau of Labor and Industries, known as BOLI: What to do about an investigation the agency released Thursday that found top lawmakers didn’t do enough to stop sexual harassment in the Oregon State Capitol.

Hoyle’s predecessor, Brad Avakian, had called for the investigation of leaders in the state house — all fellow Democrats.

It was precipitated by claims that state Sen. Jeff Kruse had inappropriately touched women for several years in the Capitol. Kruse resigned last year after another investigation supported the accusations.

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