Governor Kate Brown was sworn into office on February 18, 2015.
Kate Brown became Oregon’s governor at a time of difficulty and uncertainty for our state. She hit the ground running – working to change the tone in Salem and give top priority to the issues that matter most to Oregonians.
For working families across Oregon, Kate has focused on supporting small businesses that are growing the economy, worked successfully to raise the state’s minimum wage, ensure a fair work schedule, and guarantee paid sick leave. For our children, she has made record investments in education and instituted new teacher development resources. For seniors, Kate signed a law giving every Oregonian access to a professionally invested retirement account, so they can save for their later years. For future generations, Kate was the first governor in the country to take action to end the use of coal power, putting Oregon at the forefront of the clean energy movement.
From 2009 to 2015, Kate served as Oregon’s Secretary of State. While overseeing the Audits Division she saved the state millions of dollars by increasing government efficiencies and rooting out waste. She successfully implemented an online voter registration system and received national recognition for her innovative use of technology to make it easier for active-duty service members and people with disabilities to vote.
Before being elected statewide, Kate served 17 years in the legislature, making history in 2004 as the first woman to serve as Oregon’s Senate Majority Leader. In 2007, she successfully spearheaded legislation that The Oregonian called the “state’s most sweeping package of ethics reforms in 34 years.” Kate also worked to pass Family and Medical Leave, a bill requiring insurance companies to cover annual breast exams for women, and both the Oregon Equality Act and Family Fairness Act to protect LGBT rights.
Prior to her career in elected office, Kate worked as a child advocate and a juvenile and family law attorney. She taught at Portland State University, worked with the Juvenile Rights Project and co-founded the Oregon Women’s Health & Wellness Alliance.
Kate lives in Salem with her husband Dan, and together, they raised Dan’s son and daughter who are now grown and living in Oregon. When she is not busy at the Capitol in Salem, you’ll find her horseback riding or hiking.
Ellen has spent her entire legal and judicial career in Oregon. She practiced law for 14 years, served as a federal prosecutor, and has 22 years of experience as both an appellate and trial judge.
Ellen began practicing law in 1975 at a small law firm in Eugene after graduating from the University of Oregon. Five years later she became a U.S. Assistant Attorney for the District of Oregon. As a federal prosecutor she specialized in financial crimes. In 1989, she was appointed to the Multnomah County District Court.
Former Governor Barbara Roberts later appointed Ellen to the Circuit Court, and is now endorsing her candidacy for Attorney General.
Most recently, Ellen served as a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals from 2005-2011. During her time as a judge she presided over thousands of cases involving Oregon citizens—from small claims to more serious crimes.
Throughout her career, Ellen has been a strong advocate for the legal profession, for diversity, and for access to justice—locally and nationally. Her areas of expertise include business and consumer litigation, domestic relations, class actions, misdemeanor and felony crimes, state and federal constitutional law, products liability, and juvenile disputes among others.
Ellen and her husband Richard Meeker have two children, Cate and Will.