Kate Brown takes office in Oregon, first openly bisexual U.S. governor

Kate Brown

Kate Brown AP

Kate BrownAP

Kate Brown

SALEM, Ore. — Kate Brown has stepped in as Oregon‘s governor following an influence-peddling scandal that prompted the resignation of her predecessor, fellow Democrat John Kitzhaber.

Brown was sworn in during a Wednesday ceremony at the state Capitol. Brown, formerly the secretary of state, becomes the first openly bisexual governor in the nation.

Unlike most states, Oregon has no lieutenant governor. Under the state constitution, the secretary of state takes over if a governor steps down or dies.

Brown, a Minnesota native, came to Oregon to attend law school in Portland, the state’s largest city, and established a family law practice before her first run for the Legislature.

Her sexuality has never been a prominent issue in Oregon, where Portland recently had an openly gay mayor in Sam Adams and where the current speaker of the House, Tina Kotek, is a lesbian.

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News accounts have long said Brown is married but considers herself bisexual, without saying more. Her Blue Book biography says she lives in Portland with her husband, Dan.

Brown would not serve out Kitzhaber’s full term, but would have to go on the ballot in the next general election in 2016.

Kitzhaber, elected to an unprecedented fourth term last year, announced last week that he would resign amid allegations his fiancee used her relationship with him to enrich herself. He has denied wrongdoing on both of their parts.

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