Kate Brown

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Kate Brown, State Senator, Portland, Oregon. Photo by Ron Schlittler.

Katherine “Kate” Brown, (D)

Born June 21, 1960

State Senator, District 21

Portland, Oregon

114,000 constituents

Career Overview

Appointed to State House of Representatives November 1991

Elected November 1992

Reelected 1994

Elected to Senate November 1996

Elected Democratic Senate Leader by fellow Democratic Senators November 1998

Reelected 2000, 2004

Elected Senate Majority Leader in 2004

Kate Brown has frequently been rated Oregon’s top legislator by constituent interest groups and newspapers. She was married in October 1997. She won the 2008 Primary Election in her run to be Oregon's next Secretary of State.

Essay by Kate Brown for Out and Elected in the USA

I believe it was during my early 30’s that I figured out who, or what, I am. But it wasn’t until it was written in the Oregonian newspaper that I was bisexual that I had to face the inevitable and let those around me know. Thus began my very public coming out as a bisexual:

  • Coming out to my parents – who flew in from Minnesota “to have a talk.” Their response – “It would be much easier for us if you were a lesbian.”
  • Coming out to my gay friends – who called me half-queer.
  • Coming out to my straight friends – who never thought I could make up my mind about anything anyway.

And, most frighteningly to me:

  • Coming out to my legislative colleagues. At the beginning of the next legislative session sitting in the House lounge, representative Bill Markham, who is over 70 years old, extremely conservative, and a legislator for more than 20 years comes to join me. Over lunch he looks up to say, “Read in the Oregonian a few months ago you were bisexual. Guess that means I still have a chance?!”

Some days I feel like I have a foot in both worlds, yet never really belonging to either.

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