Pioneering former secretary of state Norma Paulus dies

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Pioneering Oregon Republican Norma Paulus, who was the first woman elected to statewide office, has died.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Paulus died Thursday after spending time in hospice for health problems related to dementia, according to Kerry Tymchuk, a longtime friend of Paulus. Paulus was 85.

Paulus was a member of the Legislature, Oregon’s secretary of state from 1977 to 1985, her party’s nominee for governor in 1986 and the state’s elected superintendent of schools for two terms in the 1990s.

A fiscal conservative, Paulus was a feminist and environmentalist who crafted bipartisan legislation with Democratic women in the House in the 1970s and championed the auditor’s role in the secretary of state’s office.

Paulus grew up in poverty in eastern Oregon.

She was a founding member of the Oregon Women’s Political Caucus and helped push the Equal Rights Amendment in Oregon.