About Kate Brown

Kate Brown served as Oregon’s 24th Secretary of State. She was sworn in as Oregon's 38th Governor on Feb. 18, 2015.

Kate Brown 
​​​​Elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012, Secretary Brown’s objective was to make state ​government ​​​​​
​effective, efficient and accountable to taxpayers. That’s why during her two terms in office, Kate:
  • Removed barriers to voter registration and voting.
  • Reduced red tape for businesses and entrepreneurs.
  • Focused audits on improving education and providing better services for the most vulnerable Oregonians.

Brown is an Oregonian through and through. When she’s not busy at the Capitol in Salem, you’ll find her horseback riding, hiking or practicing yoga.

Even before her election as Secretary of State, Brown was active in Oregon politics.

She was appointed to the state House of Representatives in 1991, and, after winning two more House terms, was elected to the Oregon Senate. In 1998 Brown was chosen Senate Democratic leader. Significantly, in 2004 she became the first woman to serve as Senate Majority Leader.

In her legislative career Brown led efforts to create a searchable online database for campaign contributions and expenditures, and reformed Oregon’s initiative process to reduce fraud and protect the citizen’s right to petition their government. She also was instrumental in passing comprehensive civil rights and domestic partnership laws.

In addition to her career in public service, Brown has practiced family and juvenile law and taught at Portland State University. She earned her law degree at Lewis and Clark Law School after receiving a Bachelor of Arts in environmental conservation with a certificate in women’s studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Brown grew up in Minnesota. She resides in Portland with her spouse, Dan.



More than 240 Oregon businesses registered as benefit companies​, more than doubling expectations. Under Oregon law, B companies enjoy legal protection to create value for society, not just for shareholders, while meeting higher standards of accountability and transparency. Creating benefit company legislation was one of Kate's top business priorities in the 2013 legislative session.


The passage of House Bill 3459 creates the Office of Small Business Assistance​ to serve as an everyday source of information and advice for entrepreneurs and small businesses. The goal of the new law is to create an advocate for businesses entangled in regulation, increase the number of small businesses in Oregon and revise rules to avoid problems in the first place. 

A series of audits makes recommendations to improve Oregon’s public education system. The recommended changes to higher education, GED programs and teacher training will help Oregon achieve its ambitious 40-40-20 goal – 40 percent of all students earning a bachelor’s degree or higher, 40 percent earning a two-year associate’s or technical degree and 20 percent earning a high school diploma or equivalent. 


A public-private partnership with​ the Baker City-based Chaves Consulting Inc. launches  the first statewide electronic records management solution in the country.  The Oregon Records Management System  delivers services to state and local governments at great savings and helps stimulate Eastern Oregon’s economy by allowing Chaves to expand.

Business Xpress​ centralizes all the vital information entrep​reneurs need to start or expan​d a business in Oregon.  The award-winning website helps stimulate Oregon’s economy by making it easier to do business in the state.


The Ballot Initiative Strategy C​enter awards Oregon the highest grade in the nation for the level of accountability, transparency and integrity in the 24 states where citizens are able to place measures on the ballot.


Every $1 spent on performance auditing resulted in $32.55 in savings during the first four fiscal years since Kate was elected – an increase of 435% over the prior four years.


Kate is named one of 24 “Rising Stars” in American poli​tics and awarded the Rodel Fellowship, a two-year program dedicated to breaking down partisan barriers and exploring the responsibilities related to leadership and governance.

Online voter registration laun​ches. By June 2013, over 295,000 Oregonians have registered to vote online.


House Bill 2005 gives the Secretary of State more power to enforce the constitutional ban on paying per signature for initiatives and to crack down on fraud and abuse.​​​​​