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Kate Brown Sworn In as Oregon’s 38th Governor

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

 

“Governor, unlike Elvis, you never left the building.”

That was the introduction for the Honorable Kate Brown, who was sworn in as Oregon’s 38th Governor Wednesday morning on the House floor. 

Governor Brown, who was introduced by Senate President Peter Courtney, received a standing ovation filled with whoops, hollers and hugs from her house and senate colleagues as she took the oath of office. 

“Oregon has been in the national news for the wrong reasons — that changes today,” Brown said. 

At Brown’s side for the ceremony, which fell on Ash Wednesday, were her husband, Dan Little, and her family. 

Brown acknowledged Kitzhaber’s contributions to the state over his four decades in office. But, she pointedly pledged reforms moving forward from Kitzhaber’s last months as governor. 

Brown pledged never to accept outside compensation while she is in office. Brown also promised no members of her household would seek outside income that involved government work. 

 “It’s been a tough few months. The people of Oregon have had reason to question their trust in state government,” said Brown. 

Brown promised to strengthen laws to enforce the release of public documents, an issue that arose during Kitzhaber’s tenure. 

More than 1,700 bills have been filed in the legislature this session. Brown was escorted directly to the governor’s office after her address, where she will get to work. 

 

Related Slideshow: Timeline of Kate Brown’s Life and Political Career

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Childhood

Brown was born on June 21, 1960 in Torrejón de Ardoz, Spain where her father was serving in the U.S. Air Force, but she grew up mostly in Minnesota. 

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Education

Brown graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.A. in Environmental Conservation. She then went on to earn a degree in environmental law from the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College. 

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Law Career

Before Brown began her legislative career, she worked at Portland State University and worked as an attorney with the Juvenile Rights Project, a non profit in Portland that provides legal services to children and families. 

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House of Reps

Brown began her legislative career in 1991 in the Oregon House of Representatives where she served two terms. 

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Senate

Kate Brown was elected to the Oregon Senate in 1996 and two years later was elected Senate Democratic Leader. 

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Senate Majority Leader

In 2004 Kate Brown became the first woman to serve as Oregon's Senate Majority Leader. Brown served until July 2007 when she announced that she would give up her seat in the Oregon Senate to run for Secretary of State. 

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Secretary of State.

On May 20, 2008, Brown won the election for the Democratic nomination for Secretary of State and on November 5 she won the general election by a 51-46 percent margin against Republican candidate Rick Dancer.

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Rising Star

In 2009 the Aspen Institute named Brown as one of 24 "Rising Stars" in American politics and awarded her with a Rodel Fellowship

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Personal Life

Brown lives in Portland with her husband Dan Little who she has been married to for almost 20 years and is also a stepmother to  two children. She identifies as bisexual and was America's first openly bisexual statewide officeholder. 

Photo: Brown kissing Storm Large at Basic Rights Oregon's 27th annual Dinner Auction in 2009. Photo by Byron Beck.

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Cut D.C. Trip Short

On Wednesday, Feb. 11 2015 Brown left is the national conference for the Association of Secretaries of State in Washington D.C. two days early.

The 2015 Winter Conference runs from February 10-13, 2015, and draws top state officials from around the country.

Brown's spokesperson, Tony Green, confirmed she is on her way back to Oregon, and that her return is ahead of schedule. 

According to multiple sources at the highest level of State Government, her return is tied to a potential resignation by the embattled Governor John Kitzhaber.

Photo: Kate Brown with Peter Johnson (left) and George Vranas (right).

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Governor of Oregon

Governor John Kitzhaber released a statement Friday, Feb. 13 announcing his resignation.

Kate Brown will now serve as the Governor until the next general biennial election. A new governor can be elected in 2016. 

Kate Brown will be the second female Governor of Oregon. 

Photo Credit: Kate Brown with Dianne Lin by Byron Beck

 
 

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