Difference between revisions of "John Kitzhaber"

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Revision as of 16:21, 9 July 2013

John Kitzhaber
John Kitzhaber 2013.jpg
Governor of Oregon
In office
1995-2003, 2011 - Present
Years in position (current service)4
Years in position (previous service)8
PredecessorTed Kulongoski
President, Oregon State Senate
1985 – 1993
Base salary$93,600
Elections and appointments
First electedNovember 2, 2010
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$11,809,663
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Governor of Oregon
January 9, 1995 – January 13, 2003
High schoolSouth Eugene High School (1965)
Bachelor'sDartmouth College (1968)
M.D.Oregon Health & Science University (1973)
Date of birthMarch 5, 1947
Office website
John Albert Kitzhaber (b. March 5, 1947 in Colfax, Washington) is 37th and current Governor of Oregon. A Democrat, he previously served as the 35th governor from 1995-2003.Kitzhaber began his political career in the Oregon Legislature, serving one term in the House and three in the Senate.[1]

A physician by trade, Kitzhaber has long focused on health care policy. During his time in the legislature, Kitzhaber lists his "most memorable achievement" as working to create Oregon Health Plan, which provides health care coverage to low-income citizens.[2] After his first two terms as governor, Kitzhaber continued to work on improving access to cost-effective health care, an issue that led him to once again seek the office in 2010.

Oregon's unique health care program has been watched nationally. In 2011, the state faced a $2 billion Medicaid deficit, which led Kitzhaber to strike a deal with the Obama administration where the federal government gives the state $1.9 billion over 5 years as long as the state's Medicaid program grows at a rate 2 percent slower than the rest of the nation. If successful, it is expected to create $11 billion in savings over a decade and could become a model for other states.[3]

Kitzhaber is eligible for re-election in 2014. He has yet to make his intentions known in the race.


Originally from Colfax, Washington, John Kitzhaber moved to Oregon when he was 11 and has lived in the state ever since. He graduated from South Eugene High School in 1965, Dartmouth College in 1969, and Oregon Health & Science University with a medical degree in 1973.[1]

Beginning in 1974, Kitzhaber practiced in rural Roseburg, Oregon as an emergency physician. This led to his interest in health care policy, and his first run for public office.

Kitzhaber serves, or has previously served, in several roles outside his duties as governor, including, but not limited to:

  • Director, Center for Evidence Based Policy at Oregon Health & Science University
  • endowed chair in health care policy, The Foundation for Medical Excellence
  • President, Estes Park Institute
  • Founder, Archimedes Movement


  • Oregon Health & Science University, M.D., 1973
  • Dartmouth College, 1968
  • South Eugene High School, 1965

Political career

Governor of Oregon (1995-2003, 2011-present)

Upon leaving the Senate, Kitzhaber ran for and was elected governor in 1994; in his first term he passed the Oregon Childrens' Plan. He went on to win re-election and served until 2003. Oregon's term limits law do not limit the total number of terms one person may serve but they do limit an individual to two consecutive terms.

Following the end of his second term, Kitzhaber returned to the medical field and became involved with several non-profits and educational groups. Much of his work has been directed at increasing government funding of and involvement in medical care. He did not have the same success in lobbying for health care legislation he had known as Senate President and as Governor. In 2009, he announced he would seek a third term in office. He was elected in elected to an "unprecedented" third term as Governor in 2010.[1]

Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")

In December, 2012, Kitzhaber declined to enter Oregon into the federal health-exchange system established under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as "Obamacare," in favor of setting up a state-based system.[4] Oregon is one of eighteen states - including Colorado, Maryland, New York, New Mexico, and Washington - that decided to create and run individual health-exchange systems by the December 14, 2012 deadline. The exchange is an online marketplace for citizens to purchase health insurance.[5][6]

Death Penalty

Kitzhaber believes that Oregon's death penalty laws are "compromised and inequitable,"[1] and he favors giving murderers life sentences without possibility for parole. When he first took office in 1995, he pledged not to allow any executions to be administered while he was governor, but during his first term, two prisoners were voluntarily executed. In December 2011, now his third term as governor, Kitzhaber, determined to recommit to his initial pledge, issued an order to delay the execution of twice-convicted murderer Gary Haugen. Haugen rejected the reprieve and brought the matter to court. In August, 2012, Circuit Court Senior Judgepedia:Judge Timothy Alexander ruled that Haugen was not obligated to accept Kitzhaber's pardon, due partially to its impermanence; the reprieve would only remain in effect for as long as Kitzhaber held the office. Oregon has twice outlawed the death penalty twice legalized it, most recently in 1984. In pushing this case, the governor sought to provoke a "public re-evaluation"[1] about the death penalty, which could lead to voters initiating a ballot measure for its repeal, but the case had the unintended consequence of probing the boundaries of the governor's authority. Judge Alexander's ruling lays down limits to the governor's power over the fates of condemned prisoners, limits with which Kitzhaber and his lawyers disagree. The governor is expected to appeal the case to a higher court.

Gun control

According to Tim Raphael, Kitzhaber's spokeman, gun control is on the governor's agenda for 2013. "The Governor sees no reason for civilians to have assault weapons – period. He's directed staff to research a range of options for him to consider on firearms regulation, mental health and school safety measures that could be the basis for a comprehensive approach to the problem," Raphael stated.[7]

Job creation ranking

In a June 2013 analysis by The Business Journals, which ranked 45 of the country's 50 governors by their job creation records, Kitzhaber was ranked number 20. The five governors omitted from the analysis all assumed office in 2013. The ranking was based on a comparison of the annual private sector growth rate in all 50 states using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.[8][9]

State Senate (1980-1993)

Following a single term in the lower House, John was elected to the first of what became three Senate terms. During his legislative tenure, he was elected Senate President in 1985 and used his position to draft and pass the Oregon Health Plan.

State House of Representatives (1978-1980)

Kitzhaber made his first bid for elected office in 1978 when he campaigned successfully for a seat on the Oregon House of Representatives.



See also: Oregon gubernatorial election, 2014

Kitzhaber is eligible to run for re-election as Governor of Oregon in 2014. He has not yet made his intentions in the race known.


See also: Oregon gubernatorial election, 2010 and Gubernatorial elections, 2010
  • General Election

Kitzhaber faced Chris Dudley (R), Wes W. Wagner (L), and Gregory E. Kord (C) in the general election on November 2, 2010. [10]

2010 Oregon gubernatorial general election
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda John Kitzhaber 49.29%
     Republican Party Chris Dudley 47.76%
     Libertarian Party Wes Wagner 1.31%
     Constitution Party Gregory E. Kord 1.41%
     Other write-ins 0.22%
Total Votes 1,453,548


2010 Race for Governor - Democrat Primary [11]
Candidates Percentage
Bill Bradbury (D) 29.46%
Green check mark.jpg John Kitzhaber (D) 64.78%
Roger Obrist (D) 4.29%
(write-in) 1.47%
Total votes 374,404

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Kitzhaber is available dating back to 1994. Based on available campaign finance records, Kitzhaber raised a total of $11,809,663 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 13, 2013.[12]

John Kitzhaber's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Governor of Oregon Not up for election $247,547
2010 Governor of Oregon Won $7,746,150
1998 Governor of Oregon Won $1,295,501
1994 Governor of Oregon Won $2,520,465
Grand Total Raised $11,809,663


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of John Kitzhaber's donors each year.[13] Click [show] for more information.


From 1993 to 2003, Kitzhaber was married to Sharon LaCroix. Their divorce was finalized shortly after the end of his second gubernatorial term. They have one son, Logan.[14]

Recent news

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See also

External links

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Political offices
Preceded by
Ted Kulongoski (D)
Governor of Oregon
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Barbara Roberts
Governor of Oregon
Succeeded by
Ted Kulongoski (D)