Attorney General Kroger leaves politics to take job as president

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April 27, 2012

By Maresa Strano


SALEM, Oregon: Last October, Attorney General of Oregon John Kroger announced that he would not seek a second term in office due to "a significant but non-life-threatening medical condition."[1] In the aftermath of his diagnosis, he decided that his time would be better spent-and his health better attended-at home with his family than serving the office of Oregon's top prosecutor.

The announcement startled many of his colleagues in the Oregon Justice Department[1] back in 2011. Not only were people concerned about his unspecified health problems, but attorneys general typically defend their posts up to their respective state's term limit or else pursue election to higher office. The notion of a promising leader like Kroger ending his political career so abruptly, after only one term, alarmed many members of Oregon government.

This week, that previous feeling of alarm was reignited when Kroger revealed the details of his post-attorney general plans. While Kroger's health is reportedly on the upswing, (he said he is "feeling great"),[2] new developments about his premature departure have brought an intensified sense of its abruptness.

Kroger has accepted a position as President of Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and is set to assume the role in July, a full 6 months before his current term expires. The attorney general election will be held in November, although his successor does not take office until January. Leading Reed beginning in July means the job of leading Oregon's Department of Justice will lay vacant, and those who remain in the office will have to handle the substantial logistical challenges presented by a vacancy of such an unusual nature.

In a statement, the president of Reed's board of trustees praised Kroger for his "commitment to the mission and vision" of the college.[2]

Kroger is reportedly coordinating with Governor of Oregon John Kitzhaber on a plan to guarantee the office's coverage in the intervening period before the next attorney general, likely one of the two Democratic primary candidates, Dwight Holton or Ellen Rosenblum, takes over in January.[3]

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