Tuesday, April 24 is the reservation deadline for the April 25 DemoForum. Kwan's requires a headcount on the day before the luncheon to ensure adequate seating and food servings.
Brad Avakian (born February 4, 1961) currently serves in the non-partisan position of Labor Commissioner. He was sworn-in by Governor Ted Kulongoski in April 2008. Avakian previously served in both houses of the Oregon Legislative Assembly as a Democrat.
Avakian was born in Fresno, California. His paternal grandparents immigrated to America from Armenia. He currently lives in Beaverton.
Avakian was raised in Washington County, Oregon. He earned an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Oregon State University in 1984, and a degree from Lewis & Clark Law School in 1990.
Avakian then worked as a civil rights attorney. He co-founded the Oregon League of Conservation Voters' (OLCV) Washington County chapter. He serves as Honorary Chair of the Oregon Business Leadership Network, a coalition of employers committed to hiring the disabled.
Avakian’s first run the legislature was 1998 when he ran for the Oregon State Senate losing to incumbent Republican Tom Hartung. He was elected to represent House District 34, on Portland's west side, in in 2002 defeating Portland police officer John Scruggs, the only Republican to lose in Washington County that year. In 2006, Avakian was elected to represent Oregon State Senate District 17.
While in the legislature, Avakian was honored by both the Oregon AFL-CIO and SEIU local 503 for his work on behalf of working families. In the 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 improve water supply development for rural communities.
In July 2007, Avakian entered the 2008 race for open position of Secretary of State. He ended his candidacy in early 2008 when Governor Kulongoski appointed him Labor Commissioner. He served the last year of the term of Dan Gardner who resigned to accept another position. He won a special election in November 2008 for a full 4 year term that will end in January 2013.
In April 2011, Avakian announced that he would seek the Democratic nomination for Congress Oregon's 1st congressional district after the seat was vacated by David Wu. Avakian lost in the Democratic primary to Suzanne Bonamici.
Since his election as Labor Commissioner in 2008, Brad has focused on apprenticeship training and workforce development. He has teamed up with both business and labor to protect the rights and wages of workers on the job and ensure that people are trained for the high-wage, high-demand jobs of the future. He has worked hard during his tenure to strengthen civil rights enforcement, stop wage theft, and bring career and technical education back to our middle and high schools.
Brad is currently seeking re-election to a second four year term as labor commissioner. He is faces a challenge for the non-partisan position from Republican State Senator Bruce Starr in the general election.
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