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Democrat Jeanne Atkins takes oath of office to be Oregon's next secretary of state

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SALEM, Oregon — Jeanne Atkins has been sworn in as Oregon's new secretary of state.

Gov. Kate Brown administered the oath of office to Atkins on Wednesday.

Atkins, a Democrat, recently retired as the state director for U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, a post she'd held since 2009.

PHOTO: Gov. Kate Brown, left, swears in Jeanne P. Atkins as Oregon Secretary of State during a ceremony on Wednesday, March 11, 2015, at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem, Ore. Atkins was joined by her sister, Terry Anne Paquette; son, John P. Atkins, and husband, John Atkins (AP Photo/Statesman-Journal, Danielle Peterson)
Gov. Kate Brown, left, swears in Jeanne P. Atkins as Oregon Secretary of State during a ceremony on Wednesday, March 11, 2015, at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem, Ore. Atkins was joined by her sister, Terry Anne Paquette; son, John P. Atkins, and husband, John Atkins (AP Photo/Statesman-Journal, Danielle Peterson)

Before that, she was Merkley's chief of staff when he was speaker of the state House.

She was formerly staff director of the Office of Family Health in the state Department of Human Services.

Atkins says it's a privilege to have the opportunity "to protect and safeguard some of our deepest values as Oregonians."

Brown was secretary of state until she took over as governor following John Kitzhaber's resignation last month. Under state law, she appointed her replacement.

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