Walt Brown

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For the Indy 500 driver, see Walt Brown (racing driver).
For the creationist, see Walt Brown (creationist).
Walt Brown
Member of the Oregon Senate
from the 13th/12th district
In office
Preceded by George Eivers
Succeeded by Bill Kennemer
Personal details
Born Walter Frederick Brown
(1926-07-28) July 28, 1926 (age 89)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Political party Progressive
Other political
Pacific Green
Spouse(s) Barbara May Porter Stahmann (1950-1999)
Beverly Lois Isbell (2007-present)

Jeff, Kendall, David

Alma mater University of Southern California
Harvard University
Boston University
University of Oregon
Occupation Attorney
Religion Unitarian Universalist[1]
Website http://waltbrown.org
Military service
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1944–1970
Rank Commander

Walter Frederick "Walt" Brown (born July 28, 1926) is an American politician and former presidential candidate of the Socialist Party USA (2004). Brown became a socialist in 1948 but served as Democratic member of the Oregon State Senate from 1975 to 1987. Brown also served as a Socialist Party of Oregon candidate for the U.S. Congress (3rd Congressional District) in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004 and has been the Pacific Green Party candidate for two statewide offices.

Family background[edit]

Brown was born in Los Angeles, California, to Walter Andrew Brown (August 11, 1897 - November 10, 1978), an auto mechanic and truck driver (and, later, a lawyer), and his wife Emily Anna (née Weber; October 30, 1897 - February 25, 1978), an elementary school teacher. His ancestry includes German and Swiss.[2] Brown has one brother and two sisters.

Brown married Barbara May Porter Stahmann (September 16, 1922 - January 12, 1999) on August 7, 1950. They had three sons, Jeff, Kendall, and David. Barbara died of an incurable brain tumor (glioblastoma multiforme) in 1999. Brown married Beverly Lois Isbell on August 16, 2007, and the two care for a foster child and work in animal rescue.[citation needed]

Military career and education[edit]

During World War II, at the age of seventeen, June 15, 1944, Brown enlisted for active duty in the United States Navy as a Seaman First Class. After eleven months of school in radio technician school, Brown was promoted to Radio Technician Second Class and assigned to an amphibious ship USS Carter Hall, stationed in Shanghai, China. In June 1946, he was honorably discharged and enlisted into the inactive Naval Reserve. Utilizing the G.I. Bill, (September 1946 to January 1952), he attended the University of Southern California, earning a B.A. (law) in June 1949 (cum laude), and a J.D. in 1952. He was a Rhodes Scholar nominee and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.[citation needed]

In the spring of 1952, Brown was recalled up to military duty to serve in the Korean War.[citation needed]

After twenty-six years of naval service, during which time he served as a public defender; an advocate for military men with service related disabilities that were fighting the government for denied disability coverage; a trial prosecutor; an appellate criminal attorney in Washington, D.C.; an instructor at the U.S. School of Naval Justice in Rhode Island; a legal officer for the U.S. Naval Station in the Philippines; and a general court martial judge in San Diego, California, he retired with the rank of Commander in the JAG Corps, United States Navy in 1970.[citation needed]

Brown studied Constitutional Law at Harvard. In 1961, he received an MA from Boston University, and an MLS from the University of Oregon School of Librarianship in 1975.[citation needed]

Attorney career[edit]

After his extensive service in military law and courts, Brown was hired as an associate professor at the Northwestern School of Law, Lewis & Clark College, teaching from 1970 to 1980.

From 1979 to 1980, he was the Malheur County Counsel and Deputy District Attorney and was General Counsel of the Oregon Consumer League, 1987–1989, and 1991–present.

He is a volunteer Attorney with the Consumer Justice Alliance (from 2000–present).

In 2003 Brown received two awards from the Oregon State Bar (in the active emeritus member category), one for the most Legal Services to the Poor, another for Total Hours of Pro Bono Services.

Political career[edit]

Oregon Senate[edit]

Brown served three terms in the Oregon State Senate, elected as a Democrat, from 1974 to 1986. Probably his greatest victory in the Senate was the world's first ban on ozone-destroying chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in 1975, which served as a model for several other governments. The ban went into effect in 1977 in Oregon, allowing the Oregon Legislative Assembly to make any needed adjustments (such as to allow CFCs to continue to be used in inhalers for people with asthma).[3]

Brown received many awards from environmental groups for his environmental voting record while in the Oregon State Senate.[citation needed]

United States Congress[edit]

Walt Brown ran for the United States House of Representatives for Oregon's 3rd congressional district four times against incumbent Earl Blumenauer.

Vote totals in Congressional campaigns:

  • 1998: 10,199
  • 2000: 4,703
  • 2002: 6,588
  • 2004: 10,678

2004 presidential campaign[edit]

Brown, a social democrat, was nominated by the Socialist Party USA (SP-USA) at their November 2003 convention over revolutionary socialist Eric Chester of Massachusetts. After the convention, party members learned that Brown had previously held anti-abortion views, which were contrary to the position of the Socialist Party. A movement to recall Brown as the SP-USA presidential nominee ultimately failed, but much of the party's organization failed to support the ticket. Despite this, Brown and his running mate Mary Alice Herbert won ballot access in eight states and had write-in status in eight others. On election day, Brown/Herbert earned 10,837 votes, which was more than any of the Socialist Party's presidential candidates since 1952 and the most Socialist Party USA's history. Several third party activists, including Darcey Richardson of Florida and Steve Hauser of Wisconsin, assisted with Brown's presidential campaign.[4]

Oregon Attorney General[edit]

In 2008, Brown ran as a Pacific Green Party candidate for the office of Attorney General in Oregon in the November 2008 elections.[5] Brown received 76,856 votes for 5.1% of the total vote [2].

Oregon Treasurer[edit]

In June 2010, he was selected as the Pacific Green candidate for Oregon State Treasurer in the 2010 Oregon elections[6] but he ended his campaign for their nomination and ultimately received the nomination of the Progressive Party instead[7] and was listed as the Progressive candidate in the Oregon Voters' Pamphlet. Brown finished third of four candidates with 38,316 votes (2.8%).[8]

Other activities[edit]

Brown is the President of the Eastside Democratic Club (not affiliated with the Democratic Party) and on their Agenda Committee as well. Brown is also on the Board of Directors for the Oregon Consumer League and the volunteer attorney for both the Oregon Consumer League and the Consumer-Justice Alliance. He and his wife, Beverly, volunteer to both the Sunnyside Homeless Shelter and the St. Francis Dining Hall in Portland.

The Barbara S. and Walter F. Brown Memorial Park[edit]

Near the conclusion of Brown's twelve years in the Oregon State Senate, he served as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Forestry Committee. At that time Brown and his wife purchased 185 acres (0.75 km2) of land on both sides of the Siletz River in Lincoln County on the Oregon Coast. This land had been clear-cut during WWI. The couple spent many years of hard work to reforest the land with Sitka spruce, western red cedar, and Douglas fir, all with the express intention of making a public park. When Barbara died in 1999, the park had not been completed. Walt Brown continued to manage this forest alone. On August 8, 2007, he donated the land to Lincoln County, which guaranteed that hunting and logging would not be allowed.[citation needed]


Other sources consulted[edit]

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
David McReynolds
Oregon State Senator 1975-1987

Socialist Party Presidential candidate
2004 (lost)

Succeeded by
Brian Moore