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Governor Kitzhaber nominates Cameron Smith as new Director of ODVA

​(Salem, OR) — Governor Kitzhaber announced today that he has nominated Cameron Smith, a former Captain in the United States Marine Corps and veteran of the war in Iraq, to serve as director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The ODVA Advisory Committee has approved the nomination, and the Governor will submit Smith's name for Oregon State Senate confirmation during the legislative session. If confirmed, Smith will replace Jim Willis, who is retiring as ODVA director as of March 1, 2013.

“Cameron brings extensive management and leadership experience and a deep respect for the ODVA team and their important work,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “His passion, energy, education, and experience serving our country during wartime gives me every confidence he will further ODVA’s mission to honor and serve all of Oregon’s veterans."

The Governor also thanked ODVA Director Jim Willis. “As a proud Vietnam veteran, Jim has brought a strong legacy of service to all veterans over the last decade. His retirement comes after 48 years of dedicated public service at the local, state and national levels, including the United States Air Force, Oregon State Police, and local law enforcement.

Smith served as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, with five years of active duty and three deployments to Iraq. He also served as a senior policy advisor to former Governor Ted Kulongoski and is currently a senior policy advisor to Governor Kitzhaber focusing on Military and Veterans’ Affairs.

Smith thanked the Governor for the opportunity. “I am excited and humbled by the Governor’s nomination to serve as director of ODVA. The department’s staff and diverse partners work tirelessly to help returning veterans transition back to civilian life. With current operations overseas winding down, we must redouble our efforts to connect all veterans to their benefits while providing critical support and services for their health, continuing education, employment, and community.”

Kevin Owens, Chair of the ODVA Advisory Committee, praised the nomination. “Cameron will serve as a positive connection to the veterans’ community. His understanding of our most recent veterans’ experiences and his knowledge, thoughtfulness, and respect for history will ensure a smooth transition in leadership for ODVA. The Advisory Committee looks forward to working with Cameron and the ODVA team to continue serving veterans of all eras.”

Smith's headshot available here.

Media Contact:

Tim Raphael, 503-689-6117
Amy Wojcicki, 503-689-5324

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