The secretary of state of Oregon could become the nation’s first openly bisexual governor if her state’s current executive resigns amid a criminal investigation.
Kate Brown, who was elected to statewide office in Oregon in 2008, is next line for the governorship in the event Gov. John Kitzhaber steps down amid an influence-peddling scandal involving himself and first lady Cylvia Hayes, according to the Oregon-based paper Willamette Week.
The couple is the subject of a criminal investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice and the FBI. According to KGW, the governor met privately Tuesday with House Speaker Tina Kotek and Senate President Peter Courtney.
MSNBC reporter Zachary Roth tweeted Brown unexpectedly flew back early Wednesday to Oregon from D.C., where she was attending the winter conference of the National Association of Secretaries of State.
Meanwhile, Kitzhaber’s lawyer, Jim McDermott, is pushing on speculation his client will resign, telling The Oregonian “he has every reason to believe the governor will stay in office.”
Before winning election as Oregon secretary of state in 2008, Brown, 54, served for 17 years as a member of Oregon’s House and Senate. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her spouse Dan and has two stepchildren, Dylan and Jessie.
Brown wouldn’t be the first member of the LGBT community to serve as governor. That distinction belongs to former Gov. Jim McGreevey, who came out as gay in 2004 amid scandal before resigning.
Last year, former Rep. Mike Michaud, who’s gay, sought to win election as governor of Maine, but lost to incumbent Tea Party Gov. Paul LePage. Had Michaud succeeded, he would have made him the first person to win election to a governor’s office while being openly LGBT.