Dear Kate Brown,
I hope this letter finds you well and that you are settling into your new duties as Oregon’s 38th governor with the calm determination that has made you such a wonderful addition to Oregon’s political arena.
I have spent a considerable amount of concern on the predicament of your predecessor. I first learned the name John Kitzhaber not from the media but from my father, who worked with him decades ago in the emergency room. At the time, my dad viewed Kitzhaber with respect and admiration for both his political achievements and for his dedication to helping the society in which he lived. A recent conversation with my father revealed that he felt that Kitzhaber has suffered an irreparable fall from grace, and in the process has marred the name Oregon. In a way this was somewhat comforting to hear, as it revealed that even long-time Kitzhaber supporters have turned their backs on him. I had decided long ago that Kitzhaber should step down and remove himself from all manner of public service, and I’m glad to see that has finally happened.
However, this situation has left open the obvious question: What now?
Oregon is a progressive state, one that has historically been free from the political drama that has plagued so many other states in our country. We live our daily lives, the government does its job (usually), and most residents are happy with the status quo. With this in mind I am grateful that Oregon does not have an office of lieutenant governor, as superfluous political positions are simply a waste of taxpayer money. As secretary of state you were in a somewhat unique position as you were aware, perhaps more so than most people, of the inherent health of our state. Now you bring that knowledge to the office of the governor, and that’s a very good thing.
I sat down to pen this letter, hoping to fill it with advice and recommendations. I had planned to beseech you to keep in place Oregon’s moratorium on the death penalty. I had planned to suggest that you do everything in your power to make higher education more affordable and accessible to Oregonians: I firmly believe that education is the only reliable insurance against poverty.
However, upon reflection I realize it would be foolish of me to do so. I was in grade school when you first entered public office. My humble credentials pale in comparison to yours. What do I know about politics? I know you to be a stalwart and valuable member of our state’s government, and nothing I can say is anything you haven’t heard before ad nauseam. I’m certainly not going to pontificate for the sake of pontificating.
One thing I do hope for is a future for Oregon that includes a continuation and expansion of the health care initiatives that have been put in place in recent years. I firmly believe that all citizens have a right to health care, and I am grateful that Oregon is one of the nation’s leaders in making such a thing possible. The health of our population is a vital component to the success of our society as a whole, and I hope you will be leading that charge.
Above all, I want to give you my congratulations for working hard and earning the respect of the majority of the citizens of Oregon. My kudos to you for your work on cutting government waste and getting Oregonians to vote. The fact that you once taught here at Portland State is, I feel, one of the greatest additions to your resumé. You are one of the very few politicians whom I genuinely wish I could sit down and have a beer with, and learn more about.
So, Kate Brown, tonight I raise my spirits to you, the State of Oregon, and above all, to the wonderful future that awaits.