|Labor Commissioner of Oregon|
|Assumed office |
April 8, 2008
|Preceded by||Dan Gardner|
|Succeeded by||Val Hoyle (Elect)|
|Member of the Oregon Senate|
from the 17th district
January 2, 2007 – April 8, 2008
|Preceded by||Charlie Ringo|
|Succeeded by||Suzanne Bonamici|
|Member of the Oregon House of Representatives|
from the 34th district
January 2, 2003 – January 2, 2007
|Preceded by||Charlie Ringo|
|Succeeded by||Suzanne Bonamici|
|Born||February 4, 1961|
Fresno, California, U.S.
|Education||Oregon State University, Corvallis (BA)|
Lewis and Clark College (JD)
Bradley Paul Avakian (born February 4, 1961) is the Commissioner of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. He was appointed by Governor Ted Kulongoski on April 8, 2008 and subsequently elected statewide on November 4, 2008. He was re-elected in 2012 and 2014. While the Commissioner of Labor and Industries has been a nonpartisan position since 1995, Avakian is known to be a Democrat; he served in both houses of the Oregon Legislative Assembly as a member of that party, and ran in a Democratic primary election for the United States House of Representatives.
Born in Fresno, California, he is the son of Larry and Catherine Avakian, who now reside in Thousand Oaks, California. He is of Armenian descent. His grandfather was Avak Avakian, who came to America from Muş in 1898. His grandmother, Sirpoohi Antoyan, came from Bitlis in 1900.
Avakian was raised in Washington County, Oregon. He was educated in Oregon's public schools and graduated as a Juris doctor from Lewis & Clark Law School in 1990. He helped create the YMCA's Juvenile Restitution Program while in law school.
Avakian then worked as a civil rights attorney. He co-founded the Oregon League of Conservation Voters' (OLCV) Washington County chapter, and he was appointed by Governor Barbara Roberts to lead the State Board of Psychologist Examiners. He serves as Honorary Chair of the Oregon Business Leadership Network, a coalition of employers committed to hiring the disabled. Avakian lives in the Portland metropolitan area in the city of Beaverton.
Avakian was elected to represent District 34, on Portland's west side, in the Oregon House of Representatives in 2002. He defeated Portland police officer John Scruggs, the only Republican to lose in Washington County that year, with 53 percent of the vote.
While in the legislature, Avakian was honored by both the Oregon AFL-CIO and the SEIU Local 503 for his work on behalf of working families. In the state Senate he chaired the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, and in 2007 the OLCV named him the "Consensus Builder of the Year," recognizing him for passing an extension of the Oregon Bottle Bill and a renewable energy act. In 2008 he led a coalition to approve water supply development for rural communities.
In July 2007, Avakian announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Oregon Secretary of State. He later withdrew from the race when he was appointed by governor Ted Kulongoski to be Commissioner of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries in early 2008 after Dan Gardner announced his resignation. Gardner was the first Commissioner of Labor and Industries to leave mid-term for a new job.
In April 2011, Avakian announced that he would seek the Democratic nomination for Oregon's 1st congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. The seat was held by fellow Democrat David Wu, who resigned from Congress before the end of his term due to allegations of sexual misconduct. Avakian lost in the Democratic primary to Suzanne Bonamici, who succeeded him in both the Oregon House and Senate.
In July 2015, Avakian ordered Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham, to pay a lesbian couple $135,000 in damages for unlawful discrimination in public accommodations after the bakery refusing to make a cake for the couple's wedding. The owners cited their Christian beliefs against same-sex marriage. The Kleins' appealed in the Oregon Court of Appeals, but the ruling was upheld.
On November 8, 2016, Avakian lost his bid for Oregon Secretary of State to Republican Dennis Richardson, the first time a Republican was elected to statewide office in Oregon since 2002.
Avakian announced in July 2017 he would not seek reelection to a third full term.
|Oregon House of Representatives 34th District Election, 2004|
|Democratic||Brad Avakian (inc.)||17,835||96.56|
|Oregon State Senate 17th District Democratic Primary Election, 2006|
|Oregon State Senate 17th District Election, 2006|
|Oregon Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries Election, 2008|
|Nonpartisan||Brad Avakian (inc.)||690,000||67.21|
|Oregon 1st Congressional District Special Democratic Primary Election, 2011|
|Democratic||Todd Lee Ritter||651||0.85|
|Oregon Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries Election, 2012|
|Nonpartisan||Brad Avakian (inc.)||681,987||52.53|
|Oregon Secretary of State Democratic Primary Election, 2016|
|Oregon Secretary of State Election, 2016|
|Independent||Paul Damian Wells||50,070||3.30|
|Pacific Green||Alan Zundel||34,623||2.28|
- "New labor leader hopes to boost job training in Oregon". Statesman Journal. April 9, 2008.[permanent dead link]
- Brad Avakian for Oregon Archived July 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.: Meet Brad, from bradavakian.com. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
- About Oregon's Labor Commissioner Archived September 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.: Meet Commissioner Brad Avakian, from oregon.gov. Retrieved 2008-04-09.
- Don Hamilton (October 19, 1998). "Avakian, Hartung war chests fuel fierce senate seat race". The Oregonian.
- Courtenay Thompson (November 7, 1998). "GOP gains, loses in the legislature". The Oregonian.
- Laura Gunderson and David R. Anderson (November 7, 2002). "Vote trends show stronger division from east to west". The Oregonian.
- Richard Colby (November 6, 2002). "Washington County legislative races tight". The Oregonian.
- "How Oregon voted: ballots counted -- 95%". The Oregonian. November 7, 2002.
- Avakian jumps into secretary of state race, The Oregonian. July 31, 2007
- Mapes, Jeff (April 18, 2011). "Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian will run in Democratic primary against Rep. David Wu". The Oregonian. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
- "Rep. David Wu announces he will resign after accusations of sexual misconduct". The Oregonian. July 26, 2011. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
- Rede, George (July 2, 2015). "Sweet Cakes: State orders Oregon bakery owners to pay $135,000 for denying service to same-sex couple". The Oregonian.
- Casey Parks (August 24, 2016). "Oregon lawyers: Sweet Cakes by Melissa $135,000 damage award was justified". The Oregonian.
- Friedman, Gordon R. (December 28, 2017). "Appeals Court Upholds Fine Against Christian Bakers Who Refused to Make Same-Sex Wedding Cake". OregonLive. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
- Mike Rogoway, Dennis Richardson tops Brad Avakian for Oregon secretary of state, breaking Democrats' hold on statewide office, The Oregonian/OregonLive (November 8, 2016).
- Friedman, Gordon R. (July 11, 2017). "Brad Avakian, Oregon labor bureau chief, will not seek re-election". The Oregonian. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
| Labor Commissioner of Oregon