Kitzhaber in the run for Oregon governor
John Kitzhaber, 62, announced his candidacy for governor on Wednesday, Sept. 2. He also established the Kitzhaber 2010 Committee, which will serve as his official campaign committee.
Kitzhaber served two terms as governor from 1995-2003, which is the maximum consecutive terms an Oregon governor may serve. But there is nothing in the Oregon Constitution that precludes a former governor from later returning to serve in that capacity.
“I believe Oregon’s best days still lie ahead,” said Kitzhaber. “But shaping our own future will require a new civility and a willingness to move beyond partisanship and stakeholder politics. The most fundamental thing that I have learned from my terms as governor and over the last six years is that what we are doing now simply is not working: it’s not working for our kids; it is not working for our families; it is not working for Oregon.”
Kitzhaber’s decision was based in part on his work throughout the state since leaving the governor’s office. “I bring to this a set of experiences, perspectives and ideas that can help during this time of crisis: when so many of our people are unemployed; when escalating health care and energy costs are burdening families and businesses alike; and when it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
John Kitzhaber’s long record of public service includes:
• 14 years of working as an emergency room physician in Roseburg.
• 14 years as a legislator in the Oregon House and Senate.
• 4 terms as Oregon Senate President.
• 2 terms as Oregon’s Governor.
Kitzhaber was known as the “father” of the Oregon Health Plan. Locally, Dr. Alan Bates (Senator Bates) worked with the governor on the health plan when Bates was a member of the District 9 Board of Directors.
Since leaving the Governor’s office, Kitzhaber has continued to advocate for health care reform; renewable energy; protection of Oregon’s natural environment; and ensuring that all Oregonians have an equal opportunity to succeed by assisting at risk children and families. The common thread running through these efforts has been his belief that we must find a new way to effectively involve Oregonians directly in the problem solving process – not just in a hearing room in Salem or through a political action committee – but in their own communities; in the place where they live; where they have a tangible stake in the problem and can feel some ownership in the solution.
Kitzhaber said that he will use the upcoming campaign to have a candid discussion with Oregonians about the hard choices that lie between us and a sustainable future.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to put my experience to work to help meet this challenge with you,” Kitzhaber said. “If we have the courage to make the right choices now and act for the long term, there is nothing we can’t accomplish.”
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent