For most of his adult life, he has served in public office. Now the four-term Oregon governor resigns amid allegations that he and his fiancé used the influence of his office for her business endeavors. Governor Kitzhaber said that he would be cleared of the charges in his resignation announcement.
His resignation letter has a sad tone to it, clearly not what he wanted to do. In it, Kitzhaber apologizes to his supporters and makes a promise to continue to pursue the shared interests and goals in some way. He also speaks of being troubled personally by some of his colleagues who have known him for years and yet they are accepting the allegations reported in the media as fact.
The resignation letter is heartfelt as he expresses his love for the state in many ways. Kitzhaber goes on to say that he realizes he is now a liability and understands why he was asked to resign from his position as Oregon Governor. His hope is for the ongoing collaboration that Oregon has enjoy the last four years.
During his time as governor, Kitzhaber contributed greatly to communities throughout Oregon. During his tenure all capital punishment ceased, 95 percent of the people in the state have health insurance, he worked to resolve water issues in the Klamath area and in Umatilla, supported collective bargaining and the right to form a union, reformed the public pension system, provided tax relief to small business, raised revenue for mental health, and so much more.
Initially, Kitzhaber was not planning to resign his position, but finally he chose to step down so that Oregon could carry on with the business of running the state. While he says that he is confident he has not broken any laws the allegations he and his fiancé face will take months to resolve. This investigation would likely interfere with the job of governor.
Secretary of State Kate Brown will step into the position as interim governor until the 2016 election. Brown has some notoriety on Pinterest for being a bisexual role model even though she has been married since 1977 to a man. As the first openly bisexual governor, when she takes office she will be making history. She has had little to say since this began, but did say she will answer questions as soon as possible.
In 2008, Brown was elected to the position of secretary of state and as such was recognized as the first person to hold a statewide office who was openly bisexual. Prior to becoming secretary of state she served as a state legislator. She has served in the state House of Representatives and the state Senate, becoming the first woman in the position of Senate majority leader in Oregon.
Brown also practiced law with a focus on family and juvenile law for 20 years, in addition to her political career. She graduated in 1985 from Lewis and Clark Law School.
Brown will be sworn in to take over as Kitzhaber steps down. His resignation from the office of Oregon Governor is effective February, 18, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. He has become an Oregon icon during the 35 years he has served the state. He will be missed.
By Ailey Hines
Photo by Oregon Department of Transportation – License