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Former Secretary of State Norma Paulus dies


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Pioneering Oregon Republican Norma Paulus, a former secretary of state who was the first woman elected to statewide office, has died.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Paulus died Thursday after spending time in hospice for health problems related to dementia, according to Kerry Tymchuk, a longtime friend of Paulus. Paulus was 85.

Paulus was a member of the Legislature, Oregon’s secretary of state from 1977 to 1985, her party’s nominee for governor in 1986 and the state’s elected superintendent of schools for two terms in the 1990s.

A fiscal conservative, Paulus was a feminist and environmentalist who crafted bipartisan legislation with Democratic women in the House in the 1970s and championed the auditor’s role in the secretary of state’s office.

Paulus grew up in poverty in eastern Oregon.

She was a founding member of the Oregon Women’s Political Caucus and helped push the Equal Rights Amendment in Oregon.

SALEM – Oregon Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, released the following statement today regarding the passing of former Secretary of State Norma Paulus:

“Norma Paulus came from humble beginnings and was determined to be successful, working through law school and achieving victories as a woman in a field at the time dominated by men. She was an inspiration to women leaders throughout Oregon. She was ahead of her time, and I will miss her.”

Statement from the Oregon House Republican Office:

SALEM, Ore. – We are saddened by the loss of a towering figure in Oregon politics. We remember Norma Paulus who served the people as a legislator, Superintendent of Schools, and as Secretary of State.

Norma Paulus broke through gender barriers in 1976 when she became the first woman elected to statewide office in Oregon and served as Secretary of State for eight years. Voters demonstrated their esteem for Paulus by twice electing her as Superintendent of Schools. She was an advocate for women and an environmental leader, serving in the Oregon House for three terms.

We wish to express our appreciation for her years of service and our deepest sympathies go out to Norma’s family.

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