Kate Brown became Oregon’s governor at a difficult time for our state. With more than 25 years of service to Oregonians, she was able to hit the ground running – changing the tone in Salem and refocusing the state’s priorities on the issues that matter most.
In just over a year, Governor Brown has gotten real results for Oregon families. Kate worked successfully to raise the state’s minimum wage and guarantee paid sick leave to workers across the state; increase education funding by nine percent in order to prevent teacher layoffs and keep class sizes from increasing; signed into law a voluntary retirement plan which gives every Oregonian access to a professionally invested retirement account; and put Oregon at the forefront of the clean energy movement with legislation that ends Oregon’s use of coal power.
From 2008 to 2015, Brown served as Oregon’s Secretary of State. In that office, Brown oversaw the Audits Division, which saved the state millions of dollars by increasing government efficiencies and rooting out waste. She successfully implemented an online voter registration system and received national recognition for her innovative use of technology to make it easier for active-duty service members and people with disabilities to vote.
Before being elected statewide, Brown served 17 years in the legislature, making history in 2004 as the first woman to serve as Oregon’s Senate Majority Leader. In 2007, she successfully spearheaded legislation that The Oregonian called the “state’s most sweeping package of ethics reforms in 34 years.” Brown also worked to pass Family and Medical Leave, a bill requiring insurance companies to cover annual breast exams for women, and both the Oregon Equality Act and Family Fairness Act to protect LGBT rights.
Prior to her career in elected office, Brown worked as a child advocate and a juvenile and family law attorney. She taught at Portland State University, worked with the Juvenile Rights Project and co-founded the Oregon Women’s Health & Wellness Alliance.
Brown lives in Portland with her husband Dan, and together, they raised Dan’s son and daughter who are now grown. When Brown is not busy at the Capitol in Salem, you’ll find her horseback riding or hiking.