Val Hoyle, former Democratic rep from Eugene area, wins state labor commissioner race

FILE - In this May 4, 2015 file photo, Rep. Val Hoyle arrives for a debate on the floor of the House of Representatives (Anna Reed/Statesman-Journal via AP, File)

EUGENE, Ore. - Val Hoyle scored a large lead over rival Lou Ogden for the post of Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries.

The job is a non-partisan statewide post once held by Jack Roberts of Eugene. Roberts was the last person elected to the post as a member of a political party, back in 1994. The state changed the race to non-partisan for the 1998 election.

As a result, a candidate could score an outright win in the primary with more than 50 percent of the vote.

Hoyle was leading Wednesday with 310,468 votes, 51.37 percent of the total, to Ogden's 216,688 votes, 35.86 percent. Jack Howard was a distant third with 74,835 votes, 12.38 percent. | ELECTION RESULTS

Hoyle is a former Democratic state representative for Eugene and Junction City. She unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic nomination for secretary of state in 2016. The Democratic nominee Brad Avakian - who is the current labor commissioner - went on the lose to Dennis Richardson in the general election. Richardson became the first Republican elected to statewide state office in Oregon in decades.

Hoyle says she'll stand up for workers; work with businesses; and protect civil rights.

Hoyle is the second woman in 115 years to serve as labor commissioner.

She says that is important at a time when women are looking to change the culture and feel safer in the workplace.

"Having a woman at the head of the Bureau of Labor and Industries I think helps make that change," she said. "It's not just by being there but also someone who can be that voice for people who don't feel like they have one."

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