The time has come for me to turn to a new chapter in my career. Oregon swears in a new Governor today, and she is seeking a new director to lead the Oregon Lottery; thus today I resign my position as director/CEO of the Oregon Lottery after six amazing years leading this fantastic organization.
Since I took the helm, the Lottery transferred more than $4.5 billion for critical programs Oregonians value. We modernized our technology, our systems, and our approach to our business. Our approval ratings and Oregonians' knowledge of our support of responsible gaming and our beneficiaries is at an all-time high. We maintained high bond ratings even through the pandemic upheavals impacting our operating revenue, ensuring the legislature can continue to bond off our revenues at optimal interest rates. We made historic inroads in our relationship with Oregon's nine federally recognized Tribes. The organization is well positioned to continue its constitutional mandate to maximize profits commensurate with the public good, long into the future.
Now I turn my sights to the next challenge. I’m looking for an opportunity to use my skills as a people-centered leader, bringing a customer and employee experience focus to strategy development and execution. I want to thank my team at the Lottery and all the amazing employees that make the organization run so successfully. I wish you all the best in the future.
Mike Wells — Interim-Director
Andrew Phelps of the Department of Emergency Management and Barry Pack of the Oregon Lottery joined the state agency directors exiting on Jan. 9, Tina Kotek’s first day as governor as she prepares to remake a number of agencies. Phelps has led Emergency Management, which only became an independent department in July, since 2015. Pack is a Democratic stalwart, including serving as Gov. Kate Brown’s deputy when she was secretary of state.
Acting directors will lead the agencies until permanent executives are appointed, a process that can take months or a nearly a year if national searches are conducted. Besides the directors whom Kotek asked to resign, vacancies exist at other key departments, including Corrections, Public Safety Standards and Training, Employment, Administrative Services and Agriculture. Gov. Brown appointed interim leaders, allowing Kotek to choose her own top managers.
The U.S. Senate on a voice vote Wednesday confirmed Alexis Taylor, who until Sept. 30 was director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, as USDA undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs. President Joe Biden nominated her for the position in May. Lauren Henderson is acting director of the state Agriculture Department.
Sen. Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, whom the majority Democrats will nominate to succeed Peter Courtney next month as Senate president, has chosen Tom Powers as chief of staff, Carol Suzuki as deputy chief of staff and Dominique Rossi as legislative director. All three were on Wagner’s staff when he was Senate majority leader. Suzuki is the operations manager for the Senate Majority Office, which is now recruiting for an office manager. Powers was the caucus administrator and chief of staff until leaving in August to become Washington County’s government relations manager. Rossi, who was the caucus legislative director, then filled in as interim caucus director until departing last month to become state lobbyist for the city of Portland. A legislative job listing was posted this week for caucus and president’s office communications director.
Claire Lynn is the new communications director for the Oregon House Republican Office. She worked for the Oregon Farm Bureau upon returning to her home state after working in Washington, D.C., for congressmen Mike Garcia of California and Cliff Bentz of Oregon.
Gov. Brown appointed Jackson County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Markiewicz to succeed retiring Jackson County Circuit Judge Lorenzo Mejia. Brown named indigent defense attorney Stephen Hedlund to replace retiring Klamath County Circuit Judge Daniel Bunch. The appointments take effect Dec. 31.