Kate Brown is the first open member of the LGBT community to be elected governor in the United States. Brown, a Democrat who is bisexual, became the governor-elect of Oregon Tuesday night.
In 2015, she stepped into the interim position following the resignation of Gov. John Kitzhaber, who stepped down following reports his fiancée used their relationship to benefit her private business.
Brown, 56, hid her sexuality for years, NPR reported. In the 1980s, when she was starting out her career as a lawyer, she was afraid that her sexuality would be exposed. Although she was seeing a woman at the time, Brown went on to marry Dan Little in 1997. However, in the mid-90s she was outed following the release of a story featuring LGBT legislators.
She is not the first open member of the LGBT community to be elected to public office in the U.S., nor is she the first to serve as governor. Back in 2004, New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey resigned after he came out as gay.
Brown’s Republican opponent Bud Pierce poured about $1.5 million of his own money into his election campaign. In comparison, Brown relied on donations from supporters and $250,000 from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has previously donated to Oregon candidates that favor strict gun laws, OPB reported.
"I believe that the times call upon us to take action, and I believe that if we work together we can shape both the place and the times in which we live. Let's work together to make Oregon, our home, a place where everyone can thrive," Brown said in a speech following her win Tuesday night.
Prior to her victory, she stated that even if she won the election Tuesday, she intended to run for governor again in the subsequent election.