With the resignation of John Kitzhaber as governor of Oregon, Kate Brown, the secretary of state who is 54, was promoted to replace him. The liberal Democrat has long been considered to be eyeing the top elected position in Oregon.
Brown is left of the departing governor and will become the first governor in the U.S. who is openly bisexual. She will not assume the governor’s office until this coming Wednesday, when the resignation of Kitzhaber takes effect. He resigned amidst suspicions that his fiancée had used the couple’s relationship for landing contracts for her consulting business.
Brown on Friday said that it was a sad day in Oregon, but she was confident the legislators would be ready to join together and move Oregon forward.
Unlike the majority of states, Oregon does not have a lieutenant governor. Under the constitution of the state, the secretary of state becomes the governor if the governor were to die or step down. Since its statehood, that has happened on eight occasions, according to the state almanac.
Until just a few weeks ago, the assumption was that the governor would complete his full term, his fourth, and Brown would be the 2018 top contender to succeed him.
Brown’s new job requires here to start running immediately for election, said a retired political analyst.
Brown will not serve the full term of Kitzhaber but must go on the ballot for the 2016 general election.
Brown is a native of Minnesota, attended law school in Portland, the largest city in the Oregon and established her law practice there before running for the state legislature.
Her sexuality had not been a prominent issue with the people of Oregon, where Portland has recently had a mayor who was openly gay and where the current House Speaker is lesbian.
News accounts say that Brown is married but considers herself to be bisexual. Her biography in the state’s Blue Book says she is a Portland resident with Dan, her husband.