SALEM — More than a year into his role as the Oregon secretary of state’s first Citizen Outreach and Inclusion Coordinator, Larry Morgan will still work for the agency, but on a contract basis.
Morgan, a 27-year-old registered Democrat who also serves as a Troutdale city councilor, was hired by Secretary of State Dennis Richardson to oversee the office’s outreach and inclusion efforts. While the terms are changing, Morgan says his role going forward will be much the same.
Richardson, who in 2016 was the first Republican elected to Oregon statewide office since 2002, created the dedicated position. Morgan says he asked to move onto contract employment as he gears up for re-election to the Troutdale City Council this year and as he intends to spend more time with his family.
The contract began Feb. 1 and continues until the end of Richardson’s term, Morgan said. Terms of his employment have changed in the past year, he says: he has previously worked on a contract and as a limited-duration employee.
The secretary of state is second in line to the governor, and oversees state elections and houses the state auditing team, along with other duties. As coordinator, Morgan, who is African-American, has spearheaded efforts to connect the Secretary of State’s Office with the state’s minority groups. In the past year, these projects have included a “Kid Governor” program, a panel on diversity in business focused on the LGBTQ community, and an exhibit at the State Archives on Oregon’s black pioneers.
Morgan also organized a naturalization ceremony at the Capitol on the state’s birthday, Feb. 14, according to Richardson’s chief of staff, Deb Royal.
In 2018, Morgan says he will continue connecting with Oregonians, including putting on a second diversity in business panel — this one focused on veterans — and further the secretary of state’s efforts to reach voters in all corners of the state.
Morgan is a registered Democrat, but was an Independent when he started working for the secretary of state, according to voter registration records and archives of the Portland Tribune.
Morgan acknowledged that he may work for a Republican, but that he felt Richardson, whose idea it was to bring on a staff member focused on inclusion and diversity, performed his duties in a nonpartisan way.
“This has not been an easy job,” Morgan said. “But you know what? When I die one day and give account for what I did in life, they’re not going to ask me if I was a Democrat, if I worked for a Republican. They’re going to ask what I did to make the lives of my fellow men and women better.”