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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Governor Says Past Votes Don't Bind Her Future Policy Decisions

Office of the governor
Prior to becoming Oregon's governor, Kate Brown was elected as Oregon's secretary of state in 2008 and served in the state legislature for 17 years.

Oregon's new governor Kate Brown said Thursday that votes she took as a state lawmaker aren't necessarily a sign of where she stands on present-day issues.

Brown served in the legislature for 17 years before getting elected secretary of state in 2008.

"While sometimes how you vote on prior legislation can be an indicator, people's perspective changes over time,” Brown said. “And certainly in this role as governor, I want to keep an open mind."

Brown became governor this month when John Kitzhaber stepped down amid a pair of criminal ethics investigations. The quick transition has left lobbyists and lawmakers to guess at Brown's stance on a broad range of issues such as vaccines and the death penalty.

Brown will serve through next year's election when she'll have the chance to win the remaining two years on Kitzhaber's term. She hasn't said yet whether she'll run.