|35th and 37th Governor of Oregon|
January 10, 2011
|Preceded by||Ted Kulongoski|
January 9, 1995 – January 13, 2003
|Preceded by||Barbara Roberts|
|Succeeded by||Ted Kulongoski|
|President of the Oregon State Senate|
January 3, 1985 – January 3, 1993
|Preceded by||Edward Fadeley|
|Succeeded by||Bill Bradbury|
|Member of the Oregon State Senate
from the 23rd district
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1993
|Succeeded by||Rod Johnson|
|Born||John Albert Kitzhaber
March 5, 1947
Colfax, Washington, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Sharon LaCroix (1995–2003)
Cylvia Hayes (2003–present)
|Alma mater||Dartmouth College
Oregon Health and Science University
John Albert Kitzhaber (born March 5, 1947) is the 37th and current Governor of Oregon. A member of the Democratic Party, Kitzhaber has served three nonconsecutive terms as Governor, from 1995 to 2003 and a third term since 2011. He also served in the Oregon House of Representatives and Oregon Senate, including as Senate president. He was also an emergency room surgeon and has worked as a health care administrator.
Born in Colfax, Washington, Kitzhaber is a graduate of Dartmouth College, earning his M.D. from Oregon Health & Science University. Kitzhaber began his career as an emergency room physician before he was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1978. He served one term in the Oregon House from 1979 to 1981 and was elected to the Oregon State Senate in 1982. He served three terms in the Oregon Senate from 1983 to 1993, and served as Oregon's Senate President from 1985 to 1993.
In 1994, after incumbent Governor Barbara Roberts announced she would not run for reelection, Kitzhaber declared his candidacy to run for Governor. He prevailed in the Democratic primary and defeated former Representative and Republican nominee Denny Smith with 50% of the vote in the general election and was sworn into office on January 9, 1995. He was then reelected in 1998, defeating conservative activist Bill Sizemore.
After his first tenure as Governor, Kitzhaber became the Director of the Center for Evidence Based Policy at the Oregon Health & Science University, served as the Executive Chair and President at both the Foundation for Medical Excellence and the Estes Park Institute, and founded the health care advocacy group the Archimedes Movement. In September 2009, Kitzhaber announced he would run for a third term as Governor, defeating Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury in the Democratic primary and former professional basketball player Chris Dudley with 49% of the vote in the Oregon's 2010 gubernatorial election.
Early life and career
Kitzhaber was born on March 5, 1947 to Albert and Annabel Kitzhaber. He graduated from South Eugene High School in 1965, Dartmouth College in 1969 and Oregon Health & Science University with a medical degree in 1973. Kitzhaber practiced medicine from 1973 to 1986 in Roseburg, Oregon as an emergency room physician.
Kitzhaber began his political career in 1978 when he won election to the Oregon House of Representatives, where he served for one term. In 1980, he was elected to the Oregon State Senate, where he served three terms from 1981 to 1993 and was the president of the Senate from 1985 to 1993. As Oregon Senate President, he was the chief author of the state's government-funded health care plan, the Oregon Health Plan.
First term, 1995–1999
In 1994, Kitzhaber won the Democratic nomination for governor when the sitting Governor, Barbara Roberts (also a Democrat), withdrew from the race in January of that year. Roberts opted against a second term after voters refused to pass a sales tax to fund the Oregon Health Plan and she was forced to break her campaign promise not to cut spending. Kitzhaber won the general election in November 1994 with 51% of the vote, defeating the Republican candidate Denny Smith who received 42%. During his first term, Kitzhaber introduced the Oregon Children's Plan, which was designed to identify and assist at-risk children and their families. Despite being personally opposed to the death penalty, Kitzhaber allowed two executions to be carried out in his first term: Douglas Franklin Wright in 1996 and Harry Charles Moore in 1997. In a statement in 2011, Kitzhaber said "They were the most agonizing and difficult decisions I have made as Governor... I have regretted those choices ever since."
Second term, 1999–2003
Republican anti-tax activist Bill Sizemore challenged Kitzhaber in 1998. Sizemore had founded Oregon Taxpayers United, a political action committee that lobbied against tax increases and promoted ballot measures limiting the use of union dues in political campaigns, in 1993. During the general election, The Oregonian newspaper reported Sizemore's controversial business practices in his personal life, as well as in the operation of his political action committees and non-profit educational foundation. In the end, Sizemore provided only a token challenge and received 30% of the vote to Kitzhaber's 64%.
Kitzhaber developed policy initiatives related to natural resources during his two terms as governor, including The Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds aimed at restoring dwindling runs of threatened salmon species to Oregon's rivers and streams. The plan was a collaborative effort that encouraged federal, state and local government agencies to work with private landowners to restore watershed health and recover threatened salmon runs. Kitzhaber also took a high profile and controversial stand in favor of breaching several Northwest dams to help restore salmon populations.
Managing growth, particularly in the Willamette Valley, was a priority of Kitzhaber and he was a staunch supporter of Oregon's comprehensive land use system. He opposed attempts to weaken protection of farmland and enforcement of urban growth boundaries. Kitzhaber also created the Governor's Growth Task Force and the Willamette Valley Livability Forum to help gather accurate information and outline integrated approaches for developing sustainable communities. His related Community Solutions program attempted to focus the efforts of numerous state agencies, other governments and interested groups in collaborative problem solving and coordination to manage various community development projects across Oregon.
Under Oregon's constitution, Kitzhaber could not seek a third consecutive term in 2002.
Third term, 2011–present
In September 2009, Kitzhaber announced that he would run for a third term as governor, and in May 2010, won the Democratic primary, defeating Roger Obrist and former Secretary of State of Oregon, Bill Bradbury. In the general election, he ran against Republican Chris Dudley and several minor-party candidates, winning in an extremely close election. Their vote percentages were reported as 49.29% and 47.77%. Kitzhaber was sworn into his third term as Governor of Oregon on January 10, 2011 succeeding fellow Democrat Ted Kulongoski.
On November 22, 2011, Kitzhaber announced that he would commute an upcoming death sentence scheduled to occur in the month ahead. Kitzhaber went on to announce that he would allow no death penalties to occur in Oregon while he is governor, calling the issuing of death sentences "compromised and inequitable". The commuted inmate, Gary Haugen, made headlines when he refused to be pardoned, wanting to be executed. Senior Judge Timothy P. Alexander, assigned to Marion County Circuit Court, ruled that Haugen could reject the governor's reprieve of his execution and move forward in his efforts to die by lethal injection. Kitzhaber has appealed the decision to the Oregon Supreme Court; oral arguments for the case are set for March 2013. In 2012, Rolling Stone magazine named Kitzhaber one of "The Quiet Ones: 12 Leaders Who Get Things Done", citing his decision to halt all executions in Oregon as "demonstrating just how effective government can be".
Activities outside governorship
Kitzhaber serves as the director of the Center for Evidence Based Policy at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon. He holds an endowed chair on health care policy at The Foundation for Medical Excellence, an educational foundation that produces continuing-education programs for physicians. Kitzhaber also serves as the president of the Estes Park Institute, a continuing-education organization for community health care leaders and hospital executives.
On December 1, 2005 the Eugene Register-Guard reported that Kitzhaber was considering challenging incumbent governor Ted Kulongoski in the Democratic primary ahead of the 2006 gubernatorial election. One month later, Kitzhaber announced he would not do so.
On January 13, 2006, Kitzhaber launched the Archimedes Movement, an organization seeking to maximize the health of the population by creating a sustainable system which uses the public resources spent on health care to ensure that everyone has access to a defined set of effective health services. The goal is to create a vision for a more equitable and sustainable system as well as the political tension necessary for its realization. A legislative proposal that took input from many Oregon residents was introduced in the 2007 Oregon legislative session.
The Oregon Better Health Act failed to pass the 2007 Legislature after Kitzhaber was unable to overcome concerns raised by AARP about his inclusion of Medicare in his plan. Another health reform bill, a Senate proposal which was amended to include portions of the Archimedes Movement bill, passed instead.
With the withdrawal of Tom Daschle's candidacy for United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, there was speculation Kitzhaber could be tapped for the position. However, Kitzhaber denied interest in the position and said that he was not being vetted.
Kitzhaber is of German descent. He married Sharon LaCroix in 1995 and had one son, Logan, who was born in October 1997. The couple sought a divorce in 2003, soon after the end of his second term as governor.
During his political career, Kitzhaber became famous for often wearing blue jeans instead of more formal slacks or suit pants. He created a minor stir when he wore jeans to his inauguration in 1995, with popular weekly magazine Newsweek commenting on his attire. During his 2010 campaign for a third term as governor, Kitzhaber frequently eschewed the necktie as well, preferring a button-down shirt and suit jacket with no tie.
- Lydgate, Chris. "In sickness and in health". Willamette Week 25 Years retrospective.
- "Oregon Health Plan starts today". Tri-City Herald. February 1, 1994.
- Swisher, Larry (October 26, 1995). "Budget reform threatens Oregon Health Plan". The Register-Guard. Retrieved December 28, 2009.[dead link]
- "Gov. John Kitzhaber stops executions in Oregon, calls system 'compromised and inequitable'". The Oregonian. November 22, 2011.
- Official Results, 1998 General Election: Governor
- "Governor John A. Kitzhaber".>
- "Kitzhaber calls for breaching four dams". The Oregonian. February 19, 2000.>
- "Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber's letter to Congress on Elk Creek Dam (8/27/02)".>
- Mapes, Jeff (2009-09-02). "Kitzhaber files committee to run for governor". OregonLive.com.
- Kitzhaber, Dudley To Face Off For Governor - Your Vote News Story - KPTV Portland
- "Oregon Democrat wins historic 3rd term as governor".>
- "John Kitzhaber wins Oregon's governor race". The Oregonian. November 3, 2010. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
- "Governor Results Map". The New York Times.
- "Gov. John Kitzhaber stops executions in Oregon, calls system 'compromised and inequitable'". The Oregonian. November 22, 2011.>
- Zheng, Yuxing (2012-12-21). "Gov. John Kitzhaber files brief with Oregon Supreme Court over Gary Haugen death penalty reprieve". Oregon Live.
- "The Quiet Ones: 12 Leaders Who Get Things Done". Rolling Stone. 2012.>
- Paging Dr. Kitzhaber: What did Gov. know about Cover Oregon collapse? by Dusty Lane, KATU.com January 30, 2014 KATU
- tfme.org - Home
- Estes Park Institute: Presenting Fellows
- Steves, David (December 1, 2005). "Walker puts decision on hold". The Register-Guard.
- The Archimedes Movement |We Can Do Better
- Updated: Health care unity frays, as Kitzhaber goes his own way - OregonLive.com: Politics Updates
- Wall Street Journal blog
- Sam Stein, "Daschle Replacement Buzz: Bradley, Dean, Rendell, Sebelius," Huffington Blog, February 3, 2009at huffingtonpost website. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
- Colin Fogarty, "Kitzhaber Says He's Not Interested In Cabinet Post," February 5, 2009, at OPB News website. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
- "Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber shares his kuchen recipe from his great-grandmother". Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- Oregon State Archives: Governor John A. Kitzhaber's Administration - Biographical Note
- "Kitzhaber's companion, Cylvia Hayes, takes on first lady duties under unusual spotlight". The Oregonian. January 29, 2011.
- The Photo Vault: Kitzhaber's blue-jeans shocker
- Governor John Kitzhaber official Oregon government site
- John Kitzhaber for Governor
- John Kitzhaber at DMOZ
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