Oregon’s incoming governor faces challenges

Published 9:42 am Wednesday, February 18, 2015

SALEM, Ore. — Incoming Oregon Gov. Kate Brown faces a monumental challenge as she takes the reins of a state government mired in scandal on less than a week’s notice and with a special election already looming.

America’s first bisexual governor will be sworn in Wednesday, becoming Oregon’s 38th leader after fellow Democrat John Kitzhaber resigned amid ethics questions.

Brown, who has been in the relatively obscure position of secretary of state, replaces Oregon’s most experienced governor in the middle of a legislative session.

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Since Kitzhaber announced Friday he’d be stepping down, Brown has said little about her plans as governor. But she offered a hint in a statement from her office on Tuesday previewing her inaugural speech.

“She’ll lay out a series of immediate reforms needed to restore the public’s trust in government,” the statement said. “And she’ll speak to her bipartisan approach to helping Oregon’s working families make ends meet.”