Oregonians elected Kate Brown, the nation’s first LGBT woman, as governor on Nov. 8. Brown had been serving as interim governor after John Kitzhaber resigned early in November, 2015.
“I am really focused on my state and making sure my diverse communities have the support and services they need,” Brown told Amber Phillips of The Washington Post.
Brown traveled to several Oregon schools in October, 2016. She spoke with students about LGBT student resources and support. Many told Brown that they are concerned about LGBT students. After the tour Brown said, “I am going to use my voice and experiences as a LGBT community female to help our nation push forward” Brown said.
In October, President Obama endorsed Brown’s pursuit of the Oregon Governor’s office.
“Kate Brown is getting things done,” Obama said.
Brown has already enacted a ban on “conversion therapy” in the spring of 2015. The argument supporting conversion therapy is religion based, with the goal of changing an individual’s sexual orientation. At the same time, Brown placed an LGBT representative in the Veterans Affairs Office and worked to secure support for LGBT students.
“My department of education came out with ‘rules’ to ensure safety and security for LGBT students throughout the state, but it is very clear we need to redouble our efforts,” Brown said.“In the end, we all continue to move forward, and work towards justice and equality. I know this in my heart.”
In May, 2016 Brown was invited to present the commencement speech for Willamette University in Salem. She spoke about her experiences being a bisexual woman in politics. Brown discussed coming to terms with herself to become authentic. She experienced mixed reactions from the Senate. Some members told jokes about bisexuality, while others, on the other hand, commented on her bravery.
Brown finished her commencement to the graduating class of 2016 by sharing a letter she received from a young bisexual person. The letter thanked Brown for her bravery, which inspired the young adult to come out.
Governor Kate Brown does not have appearances planned for Eugene.