Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown was born in Torrejón de Ardoz, Spain, on June 21, 1960. After spending most of her childhood in Minnesota, Brown earned a B.A. in Environmental Conservation with a certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She earned her law degree and Certificate in Environmental Law from the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR.
Brown has taught at Portland State University, and practiced family and juvenile law. She was appointed to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1991 and in 1996, after winning election to two more House terms, won election to the Oregon Senate. Two years later, she was elected Senate Democratic Leader and in 2004, senators made her the first woman to serve as Oregon’s Senate Majority Leader. In 2008, she was elected Oregon’s 24th Secretary of State.
In her legislative career, Brown led successful efforts to make Oregon’s state government open and accessible by taking legislative committee meetings to communities around the state. She also ensured funding for a comprehensive review of Oregon’s ethics laws, spearheaded legislation creating a searchable online database of campaign contributions and expenditures and reformed Oregon’s initiative process to reduce fraud and protect the citizen’s right to petition their government.
Secretary Brown lives in Portland with her husband Dan.