Governor Kate Brown
1st State of the State Address
Sentinel Hotel, Portland
It was nearly two months to the day that former Secretary of State Kate Brown took over the job of being Governor of Oregon. Two months to the day and already she was delivering her first State of the State speech of where Oregon has been, where it is today, and what she predicts for the state’s immediate future.
She ticked three of them right off the top. Ethics reform, the redefinition of what “First Partner” is and isn’t, and making sure every state agency honors “timely” transparency when requested to make copies of official documents and records of what went into them – right down to the emails.
And she went on to outline her passion to help middle class Oregon families get back on their feet – which is much more than just celebrating Oregon’s 5.4% unemployment rate. She indicated she knows the difference between having a good job that you’re qualified for versus having to take a “temporary, low paying job” that seems to drag on far too long.
Here’s Governor Brown’s State of the State Address as delivered Friday evening at the Sentinel Hotel in Portland.
Greetings. Many thanks to President Kervin for that kind introduction, and to the Portland City Club and OPB for this opportunity to share with you the state of our great State.
As of tomorrow morning at 10 a.m., I will have been in office for exactly two months.
A lot has happened in sixty days, although considering the controversy I inherited, a lot needed to happen, and quickly.
A fresh start for the people of Oregon was an important first step for me as Governor. So I immediately replaced several key staff positions and created a new one, the first senior policy advisor dedicated to ethics and public records.
Three state and federal investigations of the former Governor and First Lady were already underway when I arrived on February 18th; two more were initiated shortly thereafter. My office is cooperating fully, which includes responding to a huge backlog of public records requests and a federal subpoena that requires legal review of more than one million documents.
Certainly, there is – and will continue to be – plenty of work to be done to resolve unanswered questions about the previous administration; work that will require the undivided attention of several members of my staff and, no doubt, the media, for months to come.
In the meantime, I am taking action to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. I have identified three main areas of concern:
One: Our public records law needs a thoughtful and informed overhaul.
Two: The role and expectations of First Partner as a public official need to be clear and reflect modern-day relationships.
And three, we must strengthen ethics laws to ensure transparency and accountability among public officials at all levels of government.
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