John Kitzhaber

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John Kitzhaber
John Kitzhaber acceptance speech-5.jpg
35th and 37th Governor of Oregon
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 10, 2011
Preceded byTed Kulongoski
In office
January 9, 1995 – January 13, 2003
Preceded byBarbara Roberts
Succeeded byTed Kulongoski
President of the Oregon State Senate
In office
January 3, 1985 – January 3, 1993
Preceded byEdward Fadeley
Succeeded byBill Bradbury
Personal details
Born(1947-03-05) March 5, 1947 (age 66)
Colfax, Washington, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Sharon LaCroix (1995–2003)
Cylvia Hayes (2003–present)
ResidenceMahonia Hall
Alma materDartmouth College
Oregon Health and Science University
ProfessionPhysician
Politician
 
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John Kitzhaber
John Kitzhaber acceptance speech-5.jpg
35th and 37th Governor of Oregon
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 10, 2011
Preceded byTed Kulongoski
In office
January 9, 1995 – January 13, 2003
Preceded byBarbara Roberts
Succeeded byTed Kulongoski
President of the Oregon State Senate
In office
January 3, 1985 – January 3, 1993
Preceded byEdward Fadeley
Succeeded byBill Bradbury
Personal details
Born(1947-03-05) March 5, 1947 (age 66)
Colfax, Washington, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Sharon LaCroix (1995–2003)
Cylvia Hayes (2003–present)
ResidenceMahonia Hall
Alma materDartmouth College
Oregon Health and Science University
ProfessionPhysician
Politician

John Albert Kitzhaber (born March 5, 1947) is the 37th and current Governor of Oregon. He served as the 35th Governor of Oregon from 1995 to 2003 and became the first person to be elected to the office three times when he was re-elected to a non-consecutive third term in 2010. Prior to becoming a politician in Oregon, he was a practicing physician.

First elected to the Oregon House of Representatives, Kitzhaber served in the Oregon State Senate for twelve years, eight of them as Senate President. In 1994, Kitzhaber ran for Governor, winning comfortably. He was re-elected in 1998 by a wide margin. After completing his second term, Kitzhaber returned to medicine and campaigned for better public access to health care. Kitzhaber ran for a third term in 2010, narrowly defeating the Republican nominee, former NBA player Chris Dudley.[1]

Early life and career[edit source | edit]

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.

Legislative career[edit source | edit]

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.[2][3][4]

Governorship[edit source | edit]

First term, 1995–1999[edit source | edit]

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%.[5] During his first term, Kitzhaber introduced the Oregon Children's Plan, which was designed to identify and assist at-risk children and their families.[citation needed] 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."[6]

Second term, 1999–2003[edit source | edit]

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%.[7]

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 endangered 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 endangered salmon runs.[8] Kitzhaber also took a high profile and controversial stand in favor of breaching several Northwest dams to help restore salmon populations.[9][10]

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.[citation needed]

Under Oregon's constitution, Kitzhaber could not seek a third consecutive term in 2002.

Third term, 2011–present[edit source | edit]

In September 2009, Kitzhaber announced that he would run for a third term as governor,[11] and in May 2010, won the Democratic primary, defeating Roger Obrist and former Secretary of State of Oregon, Bill Bradbury.[12] In the general election, he ran against Republican Chris Dudley and several minor-party candidates, winning in an extremely close election.[13] Their vote percentages were reported as 49.29% and 47.77%.[14][15] 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".[16] 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. [17] 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".[18]

Activities outside governorship[edit source | edit]

Dr. Kitzhaber (right) speaking with Dr. David Schleich at the National College of Natural Medicine promoting the Archimedes Movement, a health care reform movement.

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.[19] Kitzhaber also serves as the president of the Estes Park Institute, a continuing-education organization for community health care leaders and hospital executives.[20]

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.[21] 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.[22]

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.[23] Another health reform bill, a Senate proposal which was amended to include portions of the Archimedes Movement bill, passed instead.[24]

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.[25][26] However, Kitzhaber denied interest in the position and said that he was not being vetted.[27]

Personal[edit source | edit]

Kitzhaber in 2008

Kitzhaber is of German descent.[28] 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.[29] He currently lives with Cylvia Hayes, founder of 3EStrategies, an environmental consulting firm.[30]

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.[31] 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.

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ "Oregon 2010 Primary Results: Governor". The Oregonian. May 18, 2010. Retrieved May 19, 2010. 
  2. ^ Lydgate, Chris. "In sickness and in health". Willamette Week 25 Years retrospective. 
  3. ^ "Oregon Health Plan starts today". Tri-City Herald. February 1, 1994. 
  4. ^ Swisher, Larry (October 26, 1995). "Budget reform threatens Oregon Health Plan". The Register-Guard. Retrieved December 28, 2009. [dead link]
  5. ^ http://www.polidata.us/pub/reports/41000vhc.pdf
  6. ^ "Gov. John Kitzhaber stops executions in Oregon, calls system 'compromised and inequitable'". The Oregonian. November 22, 2011. >
  7. ^ Official Results, 1998 General Election: Governor
  8. ^ "Governor John A. Kitzhaber". >
  9. ^ "Kitzhaber calls for breaching four dams". The Oregonian. February 19, 2000. >
  10. ^ "Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber's letter to Congress on Elk Creek Dam (8/27/02)". >
  11. ^ Mapes, Jeff (2009-09-02). "Kitzhaber files committee to run for governor". OregonLive.com. 
  12. ^ Kitzhaber, Dudley To Face Off For Governor - Your Vote News Story - KPTV Portland
  13. ^ "Oregon Democrat wins historic 3rd term as governor". >
  14. ^ "John Kitzhaber wins Oregon's governor race". The Oregonian. November 3, 2010. Retrieved November 4, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Governor Results Map". The New York Times. 
  16. ^ "Gov. John Kitzhaber stops executions in Oregon, calls system 'compromised and inequitable'". The Oregonian. November 22, 2011. >
  17. ^ Zheng, Yuxing (12/21/12). "Gov. John Kitzhaber files brief with Oregon Supreme Court over Gary Haugen death penalty reprieve". Oregon Live. 
  18. ^ "The Quiet Ones: 12 Leaders Who Get Things Done". Rolling Stone. 2012. >
  19. ^ tfme.org - Home
  20. ^ Estes Park Institute: Presenting Fellows
  21. ^ Steves, David (December 1, 2005). "Walker puts decision on hold". The Register-Guard. 
  22. ^ The Archimedes Movement |We Can Do Better
  23. ^ Updated: Health care unity frays, as Kitzhaber goes his own way - OregonLive.com: Politics Updates
  24. ^ http://www.healthyoregonact.com
  25. ^ Wall Street Journal blog
  26. ^ Sam Stein, "Daschle Replacement Buzz: Bradley, Dean, Rendell, Sebelius," Huffington Blog, February 3, 2009at huffingtonpost website. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
  27. ^ Colin Fogarty, "Kitzhaber Says He's Not Interested In Cabinet Post," February 5, 2009, at OPB News website. Retrieved February 5, 2009.
  28. ^ "Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber shares his kuchen recipe from his great-grandmother". Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  29. ^ Oregon State Archives: Governor John A. Kitzhaber's Administration - Biographical Note
  30. ^ "Kitzhaber's companion, Cylvia Hayes, takes on first lady duties under unusual spotlight". The Oregonian. January 29, 2011. 
  31. ^ The Photo Vault: Kitzhaber's blue-jeans shocker

External links[edit source | edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Barbara Roberts
Democratic nominee for Governor of Oregon
1994, 1998
Succeeded by
Ted Kulongoski
Preceded by
Ted Kulongoski
Democratic nominee for Governor of Oregon
2010
Most recent
Political offices
Preceded by
Barbara Roberts
Governor of Oregon
1995–2003
Succeeded by
Ted Kulongoski
Preceded by
Ted Kulongoski
Governor of Oregon
2011–present
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Joe Biden
as Vice President
Order of Precedence of the United States
Within Oregon
Succeeded by
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Succeeded by
Otherwise John Boehner
as Speaker of the House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mark Dayton
as Governor of Minnesota
Order of Precedence of the United States
Outside Oregon
Succeeded by
Sam Brownback
as Governor of Kansas