Governor Kate Brown gave the first indications of her immediate priorities at a press conference today. She called dealing with stalled negotiations that have caused shipping delays at West Coast ports, including Portland, a top priority.
Just two days after replacing John Kitzhaber, who resigned amid an influence-peddling scandal, Brown said her predecessor didn't ask for a pardon and it would be too soon and too speculative for her to comment on whether she would consider granting one. The new governor indicated she would work to release public records related to Kitzhaber and Cylvia Hayes as soon as possible.
Brown said she will maintain Kitzhaber's focus on early childhood learning, as well push for reductions in K-12 classroom size and closing the achievement gap in public schools. She said she supported requiring vaccinations for all children attending public schools, with exemptions only for medical reasons.
Following up on her own agenda as secretary of state, Brown said she will urge the legislature to approve her voter registration bill that would sign up anyone automatically if they have a driver's license. House Bill 2177 passed out of the Oregon House shortly after Brown press conference.
On other important issues, Brown said:
- She supports increasing Oregon's minimum wage;
- She expressed support for lower carbon fuel standards;
- She will keep in the place the moratorium on state executions and agrees with Kitzhaber on the need for a broader conversation over the death penalty;
- She will work with legislative leaders on a possible transportation funding package;
- She will engage legislators in negotiations over the 2015-2017 budget; and
- She has dedicated a staff member to deal with ethics and public records reform issues.
On more personal issues, Brown said she plans to move into Mahonia Hall and decided to keep several senior staff members who worked for Kitzhaber to maintain policy continuity. She has named her own staff director, legal counsel and communications chief.