Katherine “Kate” Brown

Born:June 21, 1960 (age 62)
Career:Governor of Oregon, 2015-present
Oregon secretary of state, 2009-2015
Oregon Senate, 1997-2009
Oregon House of Representatives, 1991-1997
Education:B.A, University of Colorado at Boulder
J.D, Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College

Katherine "Kate" Brown assumed office as governor of Oregon on Feb. 18, 2015, following the resignation of her predecessor due to a public corruption scandal. She won the election to serve the remaining two years of her predecessor's four-year term in November 2016 and was re-elected in November 2018. Before becoming governor, Brown had been Oregon's secretary of state since 2009. Because Oregon does not have a lieutenant governor, Brown was first in line to succeed the governor. Brown is the state's second female governor and the first openly bisexual governor in the United States.

Brown was born on June 21, 1960, in Madrid, Spain, where her father was serving in the U.S. Air Force, but was raised in Minnesota. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in environmental conservation with a certificate in women's studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1981 and a J.D. degree and certificate in environmental law from the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College in 1985.

Prior to holding public office, Brown taught at Portland State University and practiced family and juvenile law. She began her legislative career when she was appointed to fill a vacancy in the Oregon House of Representatives in 1991 and then was reelected to two more terms. She was elected to the Oregon state Senate in 1996, elected Senate Democratic leader in 1998 and became the first woman to serve as Oregon's Senate majority leader in 2004.

In 2009, the Aspen Institute named Brown as one of 24 "Rising Stars" in American politics and awarded her with a Rodel Fellowship, a two-year fellowship designed to break down partisan barriers and explore the responsibilities of public leadership and good governance.


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