Oregon’s Kate Brown as the country’s first bisexual governor
Kate Brown was re-elected in last November’s midterm polls to the position of Oregon governorship, reinstating her position as the first bisexual governor of the United States.
Brown, a member of the Democratic Party, beat her challenger, Republican candidate Knute Buehler in a tight race. She is also a bonafide member of the LGBTQ community, being openly bisexual.
Kate Brown: Born in a time of fire
Born 21 June 1960 in Torrejón de Ardoz, Community of Madrid in Spain, Kate was the daughter of an American serving in the United States Air Force. However, she grew up in Minnesota.
In 1978, she graduated from Mounds View High School in Arden Hills, Minnesota where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Conservation.
In 1981, she also earned a certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
She went on to get a law degree and certificate in Environmental Law from the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College in 1985.
In an interview with Washington Post in 2016 when she was first elected to the governor post, she said: “I graduated from high school in 1978. I have watched the feminist movement ebb and flow over time.”
“We have taken steps forward, and we have had to take steps back. I was intricately involved in the fight for LGBTQ equality in this state,” she said.
She added: “I know that in the end, we will continue to move forward, and we will continue to move in the direction of justice and equality. I know that in my heart.”
Kate Brown: Stepping up for the role
In 1991, Brown was appointed to the Oregon House of Representatives to replace Judy Bauman, re-elected for a second term, and then elected to the State Senate in 1996.
In 2008, Brown scored the Democratic nomination for Oregon Secretary of State and won the general election for the post against Republican candidate Rick Dance.
She went on to replace Governor John Kitzhaber in 2015 when he resigned due to a public corruption scandal.
As Oregon law required a special election in November 2016 to cover the two years in Kitzhaber’s unfinished term as governor, she won the general election against Republican Party nominee Bud Pierce.
This made her the first bisexual governor of the US. She told Washington Post: “I will say at a national level, you can’t be what you can’t see.”
“It is important to have a diversity of voices at the leadership table for a number of reasons,” she pointed out.
She added: “And I believe very strongly that by having a diversity of voices at the leadership table, the public policy we make is more reflective and more respectful.”
Kate Brown: Part of the blue wave
Brown admitted there was a lot of work on the state-level to address issues and fears after the election of President Donald Trump: “I think the work we are doing at the state level is critical,” she said.
“I see the state as the think tank, the petri dishes of progressive public policy, and under my leadership, in Oregon we will continue to be a progressive leader for the country,” she said.
“And I think our work is even more important than it was during the last two years,” she said.
In the November 2018 polls, Brown won against Buehler, a two-term state legislator and orthopedic surgeon, in what was touted as the most expensive gubernatorial contest between major parties.
Currently, Brown lives with her husband Dan Little and has a grown son and daughter.