Phil Keisling

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Phil Keisling
Oregon Secretary of State
In office
January 14, 1991 – November 8, 1999
Governor Barbara Roberts
John Kitzhaber
Preceded by Barbara Roberts
Succeeded by Bill Bradbury
Member of the Oregon House of Representatives
from the 12th district
In office
Preceded by Richard S. Springer
Succeeded by Gail Shibley[1]
Personal details
Born (1955-06-23) June 23, 1955 (age 62)
Political party Democratic
Residence Portland, Oregon
Alma mater Yale University
Occupation Director of the Center for Public Service at Portland State University

Phil Keisling (born June 23, 1955)[2] is a politician and business executive in the U.S. state of Oregon. He served as Oregon Secretary of State from 1991 to 1999 and previously served in the Oregon House of Representatives. He is known for having championed the state's vote-by-mail system.[3]

Currently, Keisling is the Director of the Center for Public Service, located in the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University. Keisling oversees more than a dozen separate programs serving local, state, federal government, and international organizations in the U.S. and several countries (including Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, and China).[4]

Background and career[edit]

Keisling graduated Yale University in 1977 and pursued a career in journalism, including six years as a reporter and correspondent in Portland, Oregon, and Washington, and two years as editor of Washington Monthly.[5]

From 2000 to 2009, Keisling was a Senior Vice President for Marketing for the Oregon high tech company, CorSource Technology Group, Inc. (formerly Hepieric, Inc.),[6] has remained deeply involved in politics and civic affairs since leaving office, serving on a variety of local, statewide and national committees, commissions and organizations, both inside and outside of government.

In 2010, Keisling joined a new statewide Trade association, Smart Grid Oregon,[7] as its Board Chairman. The organization has been created to enable, promote and grow the smart grid industry and infrastructure in the State of Oregon.

He accepted appointment in 1998 to the Performance Audit Implementation Steering Committee of the Portland Public Schools, which guided the financially troubled district through comprehensive reform in response to an independent performance audit.[8]

When a proposal came before the Oregon State Legislature in 2003 transfer responsibility for audits of state agencies and programs from the Audit Division of the Secretary of State to the Legislature, Keisling joined with four other former Secretaries of States of both parties, Mark Hatfield, Clay Myers, Norma Paulus, and Barbara Roberts, to publicly denounce the move.[9]

Keisling is a chief proponent of open primaries in Oregon, contributing to and later promoting a 2004 white paper sponsored by the non-partisan Oregon Progress Forum.[10] The Public Commission on the Oregon Legislature included open primaries among its sweeping proposals for reforms to the legislature.[11] Keisling and Paulus, a Republican, headed an initiative petition signature drive to place the issue on the 2006 ballot. Of the 91,401 petition signatures submitted, only 67% were determined to be valid, and the measure did not make it to a vote.[12] They tried again in 2008, successfully placing Measure 65 on the ballot.[13][14]

A longtime supporter of open government, Keisling serves on the Board of Open Oregon, a statewide advocacy and watchdog organization involved in Oregon Public Meeting Law (Sunshine Law) enforcement, and other government secrecy issues.[15] He is also a co-founder and board member of the Oregon Public Affairs Network (OPAN), roughly based on the C-SPAN television model.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Oregon Legislators and Staff Guide, 1991 Regular Session (66th)" (PDF). Oregon State Archives. Retrieved June 19, 2016. 
  2. ^ Oregon Blue Book 1997 p. 15
  3. ^ Mapes, Jeff (November 9, 2003). "Mail ballots hit in state, iffy beyond, forum says". The Oregonian. 
  4. ^ "Profile [of Phil Keisling]". Portland State University College of Urban & Public Affairs. Retrieved 2016-02-23. 
  5. ^ "Inside: Phil Keisling". Washington Monthly. Archived from the original (official website) on 2006-11-09. Retrieved 2006-11-28. 
  6. ^ "News Release" (PDF) (Press release). CorSource Inc. 17 June 2005. Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  7. ^ "Smart Grid Oregon". Smart Grid Oregon. 2010. Archived from the original (official website) on 2010-06-19. 
  8. ^ "Performance Audit Implementation Steering Committee" (official website). Portland Public Schools. 1999. Retrieved 2006-11-28. 
  9. ^ Wong, Peter (July 31, 2003). "Former state secretaries urge audits preservation". The Statesman Journal. p. 1A. 
  10. ^ Mapes, Richard (May 10, 2004). "Primary system getting a 2nd look". The Oregonian. p. A1. 
  11. ^ Wong, Peter (May 23, 2006). "Panel urges shakeup of legislative elections". The Statesman Journal. p. 1A. 
  12. ^ Walsh, Edward (August 3, 2006). "Open vote in primary fails to gain ballot spot". The Oregonian. p. B1. 
  13. ^ Measure 65 web site Archived 2008-09-29 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ Keisling, Phil; Norma Paulus (April 13, 2008). "Reviving Oregon elections: Let's make primaries truly open, inclusive and fair". The Oregonian. 
  15. ^ "Board members". Open Oregon. 2006. Archived from the original (Official website) on 2006-10-29. Retrieved 2006-11-28. 
  16. ^ "Oregonians support the network, but many don't have access to it". The Statesman Journal. July 10, 2003. p. 1A. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Barbara Roberts
Secretary of State of Oregon
Succeeded by
Bill Bradbury