Katherine (Kate ) Brown (21 June 1960) is an American lawyer and politician currently serving as the 38th governor of Oregon since 2015. She is a Democratic Party member and has served three terms as state representative of the 13th district of Oregon’s House of Representatives from 1991 to 1997.
Kate was born in Torrejón de Ardoz, Spain. She grew up in Minnesota, where she graduated from Mounds View High School in Arden Hills in 1978. She earned a B.A. degree in Environmental Conservation from the University of Colorado Boulder in 1981 and a J.D. degree in environmental law from the Lewis & Clark College Law School in 1985.
From 1997 to 2009, Kate served three terms as the state senator of the 21st district of the Oregon Senate. She also served three terms as Majority Leader of the Oregon Senate from 2003 to 2009 and two terms as Oregon Secretary of State from 2009 to 2015.
Kate became Governor after then-Governor John Kitzhaber resigned amid a public corruption scandal. As Governor, she has made historic investments in education, transportation, and affordable housing. She has also expanded the Oregon Health Plan to reach 94 percent of adults and children, so they have access to quality health care.
As an openly bisexual woman, Kate has made history many times since her electoral success. Back in 2008, she became the first openly LGBT woman elected secretary of a state in the U.S. She also became the first openly LGBT person to be elected Governor of a state in the United States and the second woman elected Governor of Oregon.
Kate is a recipient of the Woman of Achievement Award from the Oregon Commission for Women (1995), the National Public and Community Service Award from the American Mental Health Counselors Association (2004), and the President’s Award of Merit from the Oregon State Bar (2007). She was also listed as one of the nine runners-up for The Advocate’s Person of the Year in 2015 and was named to the inaugural NBC Out #Pride30 list.
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