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Oregon's governor appoints new secretary of state

SALEM — A former top aide to U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley will be taking over as Oregon's secretary of state.

Gov. Kate Brown announced Friday that Jeanne Atkins will succeed her in the job, which Brown left to become governor when John Kitzhaber resigned in an ethics scandal.

Atkins recently retired as the state director for Merkley, a post she'd held since 2009.

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.

Under state law, Brown, a Democrat, was required to choose a Democrat to succeed herself.