Kate Brown sworn in as Oregon's 38th governor amid budget shortfall
Gov. Kate Brown has been sworn in to complete the remaining two years of John Kitzhaber's term.
In her inaugural address on Monday, Brown said the biggest obstacle to creating a better future for Oregon is a $1.7 billion budget deficit. Her budget proposal that the Legislature will debate after it convenes on Feb. 1 accounts for the entire shortfall. It does so by raising some taxes and cutting some spending.
Brown said that to build the economies of rural communities that have been left behind by the recovery from the Great Recession, the state should rebuild bridges along the coast and improve Highway 97 that runs down the middle of the state.
Formerly the secretary of state, Brown ascended to the governor's office two years ago when Kitzhaber resigned amid an influence-peddling probe. Brown won election in November to remain in office for the final two years of Kitzhaber's term.
The Oregon State Senate has unanimously re-elected Democrat Peter Courtney as president of the chamber as the Legislature prepares for the session that starts in February.
Democrats hold 17 seats in the Senate, and Republicans 13.