'Oregon has been in the national news for all the wrong reasons'
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SALEM, Ore. - Secretary of State Kate Brown took the oath of office to become the 38th governor of Oregon.
She becomes the ninth governor to take office by filling a vacancy mid-term. Gov. John Kitzhaber resigned effective Wednesday morning, just weeks into his fourth term.
"Oregon has been in the national news for all the wrong reasons. That changes starting today," Brown said. "It's time for us to get back to work. It's time to move Oregon forward."
New Oregon Gov. Kate Brown will not serve the full four years that Gov. Jonn Kitzhaber was elected to. Instead, the state constitution calls for a special election that will come in November 2016.
Brown has not yet said whether she will seek a full term.
As one of her first official acts, Brown appointed 4 people to her executive team.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said they look forward to working with Brown. | Statements
"In her many years of public service - first as a family advocate, then as a legislator and our Secretary of State - Kate Brown has always stood up for Oregon's values and served with integrity," House Speaker Tina Kotek said. "I am confident that Governor Brown will use her skills and strengths to lead our state toward a more prosperous future for everyone. I am committed to working with her to restore the public's trust in state government."
"On behalf of the House Republican Caucus, I congratulate Governor Brown and her family on this important day," said Oregon House Republican Leader Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte. "I'm hopeful that Governor Brown will guide our state in a bipartisan manner and I look forward to working with her to serve all Oregonians."
"It has been a difficult few months for all of Oregon, but today a new chapter begins with the swearing in of Kate Brown as our governor," House Majority Leader Val Hoyle said. "Governor Brown has the experience, values, and priorities to make good things happen for the state, and I'm excited to begin working with her in her new role."
Governor Kate Brown delivered the following address following her swearing-in ceremony:
NAME: Kate Brown
EXPERIENCE Oregon House, 1991-1997. Oregon Senate, 1997-2009. Elected Oregon's first female Senate majority leader 2004. Oregon Secretary of State, 2009-2015. Faculty at Portland State University. Family lawyer.
EDUCATION: University of Colorado at Boulder, environmental conservation and women's studies. Lewis & Clark Law School.
FAMILY: Lives in Portland, Oregon, with husband, Dan Little, and two stepchildren.
QUOTE: "I will put the strength of democracy before politics."
Governors Roberts and Kulongoski, tribal leaders, Speaker Kotek, President Courtney, honored colleagues, good morning.
As I take the oath of office this morning, I am blessed to have the support of a large and wonderful family, many of whom are here. I want to specially thank two people who've had a great influence on my life: my mother, Sally, and my spouse, Dan Little, who is my rock.
It's been a tough few months. The people of Oregon have had reason to question their trust in state government. Oregon has been in the national news for all the wrong reasons.
That changes starting today. It's time for us to get back to work. It's time to move Oregon forward.
This great state is blessed with so many amazing qualities: breath-taking natural wonders, a resilient people and an unmatched quality of life. People born here want to stay here, and people are drawn here from all over the country. We are all fiercely proud to be Oregonians.
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.
I will be a Governor who wants to hear the concerns of everyday Oregonians - children and working parents, small business owners and senior citizens.
In the public dialogue about resources and priorities, they will be my central focus.
It is with everyday Oregonians in mind that I take office today with enthusiasm and purpose. The legislature is in session; the budget has been submitted and more than 1,700 bills have been filed. Speaker Kotek, President Courtney, members of the legislature, on behalf of all Oregonians, thank you for your dedication and perseverance throughout this recent ordeal.
There is a great deal of work ahead of us, and I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get to it.
We are all keenly aware of the difficult circumstances that brought us to this moment - circumstances that none of us would have predicted only a short time ago.
Governor Kitzhaber dedicated most of his adult life to serving the people of Oregon. His contributions to our state are well woven into the fabric of our public life.
But now, we must restore the public's trust.
I know that every Representative and Senator in this chamber loves Oregon as much as I do. And as I am sure you agree, in order for us to move forward, the first order of business is to regain the confidence of the people.
There are several things we can do, and one of them starts right now.
I pledge to you today that for as long as I am your Governor, I will not seek or accept any outside compensation, from any source. And I pledge further that while I am Governor, the members of my household and the members of my staff will not seek or accept any outside compensation, from any source, for any work related to the business of the State of Oregon. That simply won't happen.
Beyond that, we must seize this moment to work across party lines to restore the public's trust. That means passing meaningful legislation that strengthens the capacity and independence of the Government Ethics Commission. We also must strengthen laws to ensure timely release of public documents.
We should not leave here without getting this done.
We must work together to address these and other real problems in real time; to strengthen Oregon's recovery from the recession; to improve access to quality education and health care, and create more living-wage jobs in every corner of the state.
Although as individuals we may have our differences, one thing connects us - we are all Oregonians. We are innovators, seekers, doers. Even our state motto, "She flies with her own wings," underscores the extraordinary Oregon spirit that unites us and characterizes us as a people.
It is time once again set our sights on Oregon's future, to stretch our wings toward new horizons. Today is nearly half gone; tomorrow awaits, full of promise. Now it's time to get to work.