With more than 25 years of service to the people of Oregon, Kate Brown is well-prepared to serve as Oregon’s 38th Governor, making government more accountable and standing up for working families.
Some of her top achievements as governor include:
Working to create a seamless system of education from cradle to career to improve Oregon’s high school graduation rate:
Making the largest investment in K-12 and early childhood education in the state's history, including fully funding all-day kindergarten statewide for the first time and piloting Preschool Promise, giving 1300 Oregon three and four-year-olds access to preschool
Doubling funding for career and technical education and science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (CTE and STEAM) programs proven to connect students with careers and keep them on track to graduate
Expanding state scholarship grants to an additional 16,000 Oregon college students; and reducing community college tuition to as little as $50 per term
Creating the Governor’s Council on Educator Advancement to ensure teachers have the training and support they need to help all students succeed
Appointing Oregon’s first Education Innovation Officer working to make sure every Oregon student graduates from high school with a plan for his or her future
Supporting Oregon’s working families:
Passing the nation’s first minimum wage increase law to recognize economic differences region to region
Championing paid sick leave for all workers
Responsible environmental stewardship:
Passing the nation's first coal-to-clean law to end dirty, coal-powered electricity in Oregon
Investing more than $50 million in locally developed water planning and projects
Creating Cleaner Air Oregon to address industrial emissions and apply public health goals to environmental regulations
Holding school districts accountable for the environmental safety of classrooms and other school facilities so children and educators are healthy and safe
Demanding federal authorities stop oil train travel through Oregon until safety could be improved
Signing landmark collaborative agreements between the state, federal authorities, local ranchers and landowners, and environmental interests to keep the sage grouse off the Endangered Species list.
Healthy and Safe Communities:
In the aftermath of horrific gun violence at an Oregon community college, signing into law two bills to enhance gun safety in Oregon by keeping guns out of the wrong hands
Successfully implementing health care reforms, lowering Oregon’s number of uninsured to less than 6 percent statewide
Signing legislation to make birth control pills available without a doctor’s prescription, and for up to 12 months at a time
Taking action to bring racial profiling to an end
Restoring public trust in state government by improving efficiency, transparency, and accountability:
Appointed new leadership in more than a dozen state agencies
Through her landmark, first-in-the-nation automatic voter registration law, put ballots in the hands of hundreds of thousands of new Oregon voters in its first year
Passing ethics reform to make state government more open and hold public officials accountable by increasing access to information and enhancing lobbyist disclosure requirements and penalties for public officials who use public office for personal gain
Requiring state agencies to maximize opportunities for public input into processes that implicate Oregon’s natural resources such as land, air, and water
Making all Governor’s Office public document requests and the responding documents available to everyone by posting them on the Governor’s website
From 2009 to 2015, Brown served as Oregon’s Secretary of State, where she was a leader in increasing government transparency and accountability. In that office, Brown oversaw an Audits Division that identified millions in savings by increasing government efficiencies and rooting out waste. She streamlined business registration and licensing by implementing Business Xpress, an online ‘one‐stop shop’ that enables business owners and entrepreneurs to establish and run a business in Oregon without getting bumped around from state agency to state agency.
Brown successfully implemented an online voter registration system, which made it easier for Oregonians to register to vote and saved taxpayer dollars. Oregon received national recognition for Brown’s work utilizing technology to make it easier for active‐duty service members and people with disabilities to vote.
Prior to serving as Secretary of State, Brown served for 17 years in the state legislature: five years in the Oregon House of Representatives and 12 years in the Oregon State Senate. In 2004, Brown made history when she became the first woman in Oregon history to serve as Senate Majority Leader, after being elected by her colleagues.
During her time in the legislature, Kate Brown led efforts on government accountability and reform. In 2007, she successfully spearheaded legislation that The Oregonian called the “state’s most sweeping package of ethics reforms in 34 years.” And she led a bipartisan group of legislators to pass Oregon’s most significant campaign finance reform law in a generation, making campaign contributions more transparent than ever before by creating an online database for campaign finance reporting.
As a leader who has always been on the side of working Oregon families, Brown successfully helped pass Family and Medical Leave, making Oregon one of the first states in the nation to allow parents to stay home with their sick children without fear of losing their jobs. She also put Oregon on the map as the first state to require insurance companies to cover annual breast exams for women over 18 as part of preventive health care screenings.
Brown has also been a longtime leader in advancing civil rights and marriage equality. 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.
Prior to running for public office, Brown practiced family law. After joining the Legislature, Brown then practiced juvenile law, taught at Portland State University, worked with the Juvenile Rights Project and co-founded the Oregon Women’s Health and Wellness Alliance, which has been leading efforts to support women’s health for more than 20 years.
Brown grew up in Minnesota and earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Kate came to Oregon to attend Lewis and Clark’s Northwestern School of Law, where she received her law degree and Certificate in Environmental Law.
With her husband Dan, Brown raised Dan’s son and daughter, who are now grown, in Portland. When Brown is not busy at the Capitol in Salem, you’ll find her horseback riding or hiking. In February of 2015, Brown and her husband moved into the official residence, Mahonia Hall.