Executive Office Team

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Cheryl Myers (she/her)

Deputy Secretary
Tribal Liaison

Cheryl Myers

Ms. Myers'​ professional background includes public policy, organizational leadership, economic development, public education/youth advocacy, and a history of assisting organizations to construct equitable cultures and embed collaborative practices. 

Her prior public service roles include Director of Economic & Business Equity in the Governor’s Office, Chief of Staff for the Higher Education Commission and as Operations & Engagement Director for Educator Advancement in the Chief Education Office and 8 years as an elected school board member. Her longstanding private sector business ownership lends insight into the varying aspects of unique business needs. She is the second person of color and the first person from the Asian American community to serve as Oregon’s Deputy Secretary of State. 

Myers began life as an orphan in Korea before she was adopted by an Oregon family and raised in a SE Portland working-class family. She is deeply committed to community with service on local and national boards. She enjoys their floating home life with family and puppy, sharing meals with friends, paddle boarding, boating and riding her Harley.

​​​​​​​​​​Ben Morris (he/him)

​Chief of Staff

Ben Morris

Ben is the Chief of Staff for Secretary Griffin-Valade. His background is in communications and marketing, having served as the Communications Director for SEIU 503, Oregon’s largest labor union, and Communications Manager for the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center.

​Ben has a bachelor’s degree in political science from James Madison University. He is a somewhat recent transplant to Oregon, having moved from Washington, D.C. to Portland in 2014 along with his partner and their dog Trix.

Email: ben.morris@sos.oregon.gov

​​​​​​​​​​Laura (Fosmire) Kerns (she/her)

​Interim Communications Director

Laura Kerns

Laura is the interim Communications Director for Secretary Griffin-Valade. She has been with the Secretary of State’s Office since 2015 as an auditor and communications specialist with the Audits Division, serving as a key quality control for the division’s audit reports and leading media relations and communications efforts on behalf of the division. Her professional background is in journalism, having worked as a reporter for the Salem Statesman Journal.

Laura is a member of the National Association of Government Communicators. She holds a Master of Science in journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and arts and humanities from Michigan State University. She is passionate about Oregon wine, camping, kayaking, and spending time with her husband, two small cats, and two big dogs.

Email: laura.kerns@sos.oregon.gov

​​​​​​​​​​P.K. Runkles-Pearson (she/her)

​Chief Legal and Risk Counsel​

P.K. Runkles-Pearson

P.K. is the Chief Legal and Risk Counsel for Secretary Griffin-Valade. She advises the Secretary and all Division Directors on legal matters, serves as the agency’s conduit to the Oregon Department of Justice, and participates in all litigation in which the agency is a party. She is a Special Assistant Attorney General appointed by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. Before joining the Secretary of State’s office, P.K. was in private practice, handling advice, litigation, and appeals for government and nonprofit entities, with a focus on constitutional law and higher education. She previously served in the General Counsel’s office at Portland State University.

P.K. earned a B.A. in political science from Pacific University and a J.D. from NYU School of Law, where she served as Executive Editor on the NYU Law Review. She was honored to clerk for Justice Thomas A. Balmer of the Oregon Supreme Court.

Email: pk.runkles@sos.oregon.gov

​​​​​​​​​​Lorraine Wilson​ (she/her)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director

Lorraine Wilson

Lorraine is the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director at the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office. She is an immigrant from the beautiful twin island state of Trinidad and Tobago.

Lorraine’s upbringing is grounded in racial justice, and as such, she volunteered in various areas to drive those conversations and changes. She served as a Commissioner on the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs (OCBA) from 2010 -2013, serving as Vice Chair. There she championed racial equity and challenged the state to focus on hate crimes during the “Post Racial” period (2008-2016).

Her field of study is in Organizational Leadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational Behavior (Culture Change). She holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership and a BSc. in Business Management (emphasis on Organizational Behavior), and Cornell University certificate program entitled Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Email: lorraine.wilson@sos.oregon.gov

​​​​​​​​​​Jessica Ventura (she/her)

​Chief of Legislative & Policy Affairs​

Jessica Ventura

As Chief of Legislative & Policy Affairs, Jessica Ventura manages legislative affairs, State Land Board, State Education Board, and other government relations duties for the Secretary of State’s Office (SoS). Prior to this role, Jessica was the Legislative Director for the SoS. Before joining the SoS, Jessica spent seven years at the Oregon Department of Education, first as State Board of Education Administrator and then promoted to Legislative Director. Jessica has had a long career in state government with her first stint in the legislature in 2010 as le​gislative intern for then Senate Pro-Tempore, Ginny Burdick. Jessica went on to be Chief of Staff for Representative Gallegos and then moved on to get a master’s in public policy from Oregon State University. Jessica also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Portland State University. Originally from El Salvador, Jessica has lived in Oregon since she was five years old. She is raising two elementary school age children with her wife. She enjoys hiking, kettlebells and is passionate about coffee.

Email: jessica.ventura@sos.oregon.gov