Governor Kate Brown

Governor Kate Brown
Governor Kate Brown


After spending most of her childhood in Minnesota, Governor Kate Brown earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Conservation with a Certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She earned her law degree and Certificate in Environmental Law from the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College in Portland. 

Brown practiced family law in Portland until she was appointed to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1991. She served in both the State House and Senate. In 2004, she became the first woman to serve as Senate majority leader. 

In 2008, Brown was elected as Oregon’s 24th secretary of state, serving two terms. As secretary of state, she created Business Xpress, an online portal to provide resources for starting, expanding, operating, or relocating businesses in Oregon. Brown also worked to modernize and expand voting access, including launching the country’s first automatic voter registration system.

After Governor John Kitzhaber resigned in 2015, Brown was sworn in as Oregon’s 38th governor, in accordance with the Oregon Constitution. She was elected governor on November 8, 2016 to finish out Governor Kitzhaber’s first term and was reelected in 2018 to a second term.

As governor, Kate Brown has dramatically increased access to the ballot box; made historic investments in addressing climate change, education, transportation, and affordable housing; and expanded the Oregon Health Plan to cover 94% of adults and every single child in Oregon.
With her husband Dan, Brown helped raise Dan’s son and daughter in SE Portland. When Governor Brown is not busy at the Capitol, you will find her exploring the natural beauty of Oregon with her dog, Jory.

Governor's Duties

State Capitol Building, 900 Court St. NE, Suite 254, Salem 97301-4047; 503-378-3111; Fax: 503-378-8970
Kate Brown, Portland; Democrat; appointed 2015; elected 2016; reelected 2018; term expires January 2023.

The governor is the chief executive of Oregon. The Oregon Constitution charges the governor with faithfully executing the laws, making recommendations to the Legislature and transacting all necessary business of state government.

The governor provides leadership, planning and coordination for the executive branch of state government. She appoints many department and agency heads within the executive branch and members to nearly 300 policymaking, regulatory and advisory boards and commissions. The governor proposes a two-year budget to the Legislature, recommends a legislative program each regular session and may also call special sessions. She reviews all bills passed by the Legislature, may veto measures she believes are not in the public interest and shall fill vacancies by appointment.

The governor chairs the State Land Board, which manages state-owned lands, acts as the superintendent of public instruction, directs state government coordination with local and federal governments and is commander-in-chief of the state’s military forces. 

The governor appoints judges to fill vacancies in judicial office, has extradition authority and may grant reprieves, commutations and pardons of criminal sentences. 

If the office of governor becomes vacant, the office passes, in order, to the secretary of state, state treasurer, president of the Senate and 
speaker of the House of Representatives. There is no lieutenant governor in Oregon. 

Statutory Authority: ORS Chapter 176​