Secretary of State Dennis Richardson releases video updating the public on his cancer

For the first time since August, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson on Thursday updated the public about his brain cancer, releasing a social media video.

Since disclosing the tumor in late May, Richardson has receded from the public eye, deferring interviews and public appearances to executive staff. The videos have become Richardson’s chosen tool to be transparent about his health.

In Thursday’s video, also the longest at nearly three minutes, Richardson said the three most recent MRIs have shown his tumor hasn’t grown.

He said has struggled to speak because of the cancer. This is evidenced in the video, as Richardson several times gets stuck on a word, or says the wrong word.

“Somedays my speech feels unaffected, and other days I feel difficult to articulate the words even though I’m still thinking clearly,” Richardson said in the video. “It’s frustrating for me when my speech doesn’t keep up with my mind, but I’m sure glad that it isn’t the other way around.”

Richardson spoke slowly throughout the video, saying the treatment has left him tired. He also thanked the public for being so supportive and said he is committed to increasing transparency and integrity in Oregon government.  

Richardson remains silent about what type of cancer he has, his treatment or his prognosis.

In November, state executives told Salem Reporter that during the summer, Richardson confided to elected officials that he had glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. The staffers said Richardson was foregoing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, common forms of treatment for the disease.

Deb Royal, Richardson’s chief of staff, at that time insisted Richardson didn’t make such comments.

In Thursday’s video, Richardson said he and his staff remain busy. On Tuesday, the Secretary of State’s Office held a press conference for an audit it did on the Oregon Health Authority. The office releases audits frequently but doesn’t typically hold a press conference to announce them.

Royal made the opening remarks about the audit, and then gave the floor to other office staff. When a reporter asked where Richardson was, Royal responded he was at the southern office in Central Point.

Royal couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

Reporter Aubrey Wieber: [email protected] or 503-575-1251. Wieber is a reporter for Salem Reporter who works for the Oregon Capital Bureau, a collaboration of EO Media Group, the Pamplin Media Group, and Salem Reporter. (Enterprise editor Les Zaitz is also editor of Salem Reporter.)