Kate Brown Speaks at Oregon’s Statehood Day Celebration
Saturday, February 14, 2015
While there was considerable fanfare, Brown’s comments were upbeat in nature and did not address her plans once she takes the oath of office next week as Oregon’s second woman Governor. Instead, she focused on the celebration at hand.
She is still the Secretary of State, yet Brown was flanked by Oregon State Troopers from the Dignitary Protection Unit who are typically reserved for the Governor. As she entered the room she was surrounded by a scrum of cameras, reporters and curious onlookers.
Brown was joined by past Oregon Governors Barbara Roberts and Ted Kulongoski, both of whom shared the podium to make comments. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum played the role of “Vanna White,” to Oregon Historical Society Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk, holding up historical artifacts as he spoke of them.
Rosenblum’s husband Richard Meeker was in the crowd. His newspaper, Willamette Week, began the unraveling of the Kitzhaber administration, reporting of the unusual tie-ins between his fiancés role as first lady and a consultant on issues she worked on for his administration. Those allegations continued to snowball until Kitzhaber’s resignation Friday.
Other notable attendees included Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish who was overheard joking that he was on hand to “kiss the ring,” and Gerry Frank, who served as Senator Mark O. Hatfield’s long-time confidant. Hatfield’s widow, Antoinette, is a fixture at this annual event. OHS Director Tymchuk, as in past years, introduced Antoinette as “Oregon’s true First Lady,” which appeared awkward given the current First Lady’s woes. Even former Democratic Kingmaker Terry Bean, currently under indictment, attended the event.
The Statehood Celebration is unlikely to see this size of an audience again for years to come.