Katherine “Kate” Brown

Inaugural Address - Feb. 18, 2015

Katherine “Kate” Brown
February 18, 2015— Salem, Oregon
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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 today. I want to specially thank two people who've had a great influence on my life: my mother, Sally Brown, 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 that 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 your 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 purpose and enthusiasm. 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 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 every senator in this chamber loves Oregon as much as I do. And I'm 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 will not 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 single 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.

Thank you.

State Library of Oregon. 2015. "Governor Kate Brown Addresses Oregonians Following Swearing-In Ceremony." https://digital.osl.state.or.us/islandora/object/osl:16864

The Oregonian. "Kate Brown inaugurated as new Oregon governor, pledges to 'restore public's trust'." YouTube video, 7:36. Feb. 18, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZiQGlo8id8