By Ian K. Kullgren
Kate Brown's deputy, Robert Taylor, took over as Oregon's acting secretary of state when Brown was sworn in as governor Wednesday.
Taylor will manage the day-to-day responsibilities until the new governor chooses a more permanent successor, secretary of state spokesman Tony Green said. That will include planning and overseeing the elections, auditing public spending and serving as the state's chief archivist.
"The deputy secretary, in absence of the secretary, has all legal power of the secretary," Green said.
According to Green, Taylor spent most the day Wednesday preparing for the secretary of state's annual budget presentation to the Legislature's Joint Ways and Means Committee.
Kristen Grainger, Brown's new communications director, said she's not sure when Brown plans to announce an appointment.
Rep. Val Hoyle and Sen. Diane Rosenbaum, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, are viewed as top choices by many in the Legislature. Rosenbaum, D-Portland, said she'd consider it; Hoyle, D-Eugene, hasn't said either way.
Depending on how long he serves as acting secretary, Taylor could be left to push for the so-called "motor voter" bill. Introduced at Brown's request, House Bill 2177 would automatically register people to vote when they apply for a driver's license at Driver and Motor Vehicle Services.
It's unclear how much of John Kitzhaber's staff Brown will retain. She announced four new hires before her swearing-in: Brian Shipley as chief of staff, Benjamin Souede as general counsel, Kristen Grainger as communications director and Gina Zejdlik as senior policy adviser.
Although Brown's inauguration speech focused on restoring faith in state government, she's expected to hold on to some experienced staff to ease the transition.
"It's one thing to say you're going to get rid of everybody -- it's another to find people to replace them," said Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario. "It's vastly premature to say what she might do."
(c)2015 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)