UCC Mainstream Online

Governor Kate Brown

Bringing fresh perspective to Oregon office

Kate Brown Official Photo/Oregon.gov

With the resignation of John Kitzhaber, Oregon now has a new governor. Kate Brown is the second female governor for the state, the first being Barbara Roberts who served from 1991 to 1995. According to Brown’s biography on the Oregon State Governor’s website, Brown has served as Secretary of State since 2008, prior to which she served five years as a State Representative and 12 years as a State Senator. Furthermore, Brown was the first woman to serve as the Senate Majority leader, after being elected by colleagues in 2004.

Many people may be curious what kind of leader Brown will be during her time as governor. In her address to the Oregon public following her swearing in, Brown said the following: “Before I sought public office, I worked as a family law advocate. There, I witnessed first-hand the problems of people whose lives were dramatically impacted by the law, but who seldom had an impact on shaping it – the child who needs a more stable home; the survivor of domestic violence; the family struggling to make ends meet. I carry with me their faces and stories every day when I come to work.

“And throughout my 24 years in public service, I have also sought to promote transparency and trust in government, working to build confidence that our public dollars are spent wisely. As Governor, this will not change.” 

Inheriting Governor
Unlike many other states, Oregon does not have a lieutenant governor to whom the role of governor would pass. Instead, in Oregon, the role of governor is passed down, in order, to the following people:
Secretary of State › State Treasurer › President of the Senate ›Speaker of the House of Representatives

One issue many believe Brown will continue to champion is rights for LGBTQ citizens. For example, according to Brown’s biography, “In 2007, she helped to pass the Oregon Equality Act, a civil rights law that prohibited discrimination in employment and housing on the basis of sexual orientation. And Brown was instrumental in passing Oregon’s Family Fairness Act, which legally recognizes committed same ¬ sex relationships as domestic partnerships.”

Other causes Brown may continue to fight for are family and medical leave, government accountability, and voter rights and access. The Oregon Motor Voter Bill is one that Brown worked for as Secretary of State and it recently passed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, landing on Brown’s desk to sign into law. According to a statement by Governor Brown, “It modernizes how the DMV and the Secretary of State’s Office work to register eligible citizens to vote. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for eligible voters to participate in our elections”

Governor Kate Brown will serve as Oregon’s governor until 2016, when there will be another election. At that time, Brown may run for the remainder of Kitzhaber’s unfinished term which ends in 2019.