Oregon made history on Wednesday.
The now-former Secretary of State Kate Brown became the country’s first openly bisexual governor when she was sworn in as leader of the Beaver State to replace an embattled fellow Democrat. She also was the country’s first bisexual statewide officeholder, and previously served for almost two decades in Oregon’s House and Senate.
Former Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber resigned from his position on Friday amid an ethics scandal involving his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes. Allegations arose that she inappropriately used her access to Kitzhaber to assist clients. It was reported that Hayes was paid $118,000 by a clean energy group in Washington, D.C., while she advised the governor on energy issues. The state’s attorney general and FBI reportedly both opened investigations into the reports.
Kitzhaber has denied acting dishonestly, and cited an “escalating media frenzy” as his choice for stepping down last week. He recently was elected to an unprecedented fourth term during the midterm elections in November.
Kitzhaber’s resignation was effective at 10 a.m. ET, when Brown was sworn in during a brief ceremony in Oregon’s capital.
Brown was first appointed to the state House of Representatives in 1991, according to her government profile. Seven years later, she was chosen as the Senate Democratic leader. In 2004, she became the first woman to serve as Senate majority leader. She also has practiced family and juvenile law and taught at Portland State University.
During her time as Oregon’s secretary of state, Brown removed barriers to voter registration and voting and focused audits on improving education and providing better services for many residents.
The only other LGBT governor in U.S. history was former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, who was pressured to announce he was gay and resign in 2004 amid sexual harassment allegations.