About Me

If we want a better government, we need better leaders to step forward. That’s what I’m doing in this race.

I’m an expert in government performance – how to measure it, and how to improve it

For over 30 years, I’ve studied performance measurement in governments and non-profits – specifically, how different measures can lead to the more efficient and effective delivery of public services. During that time, I’ve held faculty appointments at Willamette University, the University of Washington, Pepperdine, Texas A&M, and Central Washington University, where I served as Department Chair.

In addition to academic work, I have been appointed, elected and hired to serve in leadership roles in nonprofits, businesses and governments. This includes serving as Interim Executive Director for Wheels for Humanity, Director at the Northshore School District and co-founder of the Institute for Better Governance.

This experience is vital, because in Oregon, the Secretary of State is responsible for auditing the performance of your government, and how it can be improved. Which means I’m more qualified than any other candidate to ensure that the governments that represent you, and spend your tax dollars – schools, government agencies, municipalities – are doing so wisely.

You can read some of the academic work I’ve published here.

I know how to measure and improve financial performance, too.

That’s because I’m a trained auditor and a former certified public accountant. I’ve taught the principles of accounting for the last thirty years, specializing in government and non-profit financial performance. I even wrote the book on it, authoring the governmental chapters of the Advanced Accounting textbook (11th, 12th, and 13th Editions, by Pearson).

Again, this is vital experience, because the Secretary of State in Oregon is responsible for auditing public finances. Which means I’m more qualified than any other candidate to ensure that the governments that represent you spend your tax dollars wisely, and provide exceptional service to the people of this great state.

In 2012 I received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Government Accounting Research from the Association of Government Accountants. I want to dedicate that lifetime of experience to ensuring that your government works well for you.

I’m passionate about public service.

I chose to focus my academic career on government performance because I believe passionately that government should work for all of us. That same belief led me to contribute in other ways: I served on the Internal Audit Committee of the Oregon Department of Human Services from 2005-2010, and I co-founded the Oregon Public Performance Management Association in 2005, serving as its president from 2008-2013.

In 2015, I was elected to the Northshore School Board – one of the largest districts in the state of Washington, near Seattle – and I served until 2017. “He was a huge asset,” said Wendy Reynolds, a concerned parent who became a local leader recognized by the League of Education Voters. “He’s passionate about transparency and equity, and worked tirelessly to improve the District.”

Now I’m running for Oregon Secretary of State so I can work tirelessly – and independently – for you.


“Ken Smith is passionate about transparency, accountability and good governance. He has a relentless drive, and seeks to improve systems through thoughtful and impartial analysis, fair leadership, and hard work.”

Lori Waight, Administrator of the KSD Community Discussion Group