John Albert Kitzhaber (born March 5, 1947) is the 37th Governor of Oregon. He served as the 35th Governor of Oregon from 1995 to 2003, and became the first person to be elected to the office three times when he was re-elected to a non-consecutive third term in 2010. Prior to becoming a politician in Oregon, he was a practicing physician. He graduated from South Eugene High School in 1965, Dartmouth College in 1969, and Oregon Health & Science University with a medical degree in 1973. Kitzhaber practiced medicine from 1973 to 1986 in Roseburg, Oregon as an emergency room physician. Kitzhaber began his political career in 1979 as a member of the Oregon House of Representatives for one term. In 1980, he was elected to the Oregon State Senate, where he served three terms from 1981 to 1993, and he was the president of the Senate from 1985 until 1993. As Oregon Senate President, he was the chief author of the state's government-funded health care plan, the Oregon Health Plan.In the general election of November 2, 2010, he narrowly defeated the Republican nominee, former NBA player Chris Dudley. Two days after the balloting, their vote percentages were reported as 49.0% and 48.3%.
Governor of Oregon
1st term (1995–1999)
In 1994, Kitzhaber won the Democratic nomination for governor when the sitting Governor, Barbara Roberts (also a Democrat), withdrew from the race in January of that year. Roberts opted against a second term after voters refused to pass a sales tax to fund the Oregon Health Plan and she was forced to break her campaign promise not to cut spending. Kitzhaber won the general election in November 1994 with 51% of the vote, defeating the Republican candidate Denny Smith who received 42%.During his first term, Kitzhaber introduced the Oregon Children's Plan, which was designed to identify and assist at risk children and their families.
2nd term (1993-2003)
Republican anti-tax activist Bill Sizemore challenged Kitzhaber in 1998.
Sizemore had founded Oregon Taxpayers United, a political action committee that lobbied against tax increases and promoted ballot measures limiting the use of union dues in political campaigns, in 1993. During the general election, The Oregonian newspaper reported Sizemore's controversial business practices in his personal life, as well as in the operation of his political action committees and non-profit educational foundation. In the end, Sizemore provided only a token challenge and received 30% of the vote to Kitzhaber's 64%. Under Oregon's constitution, Kitzhaber could not seek a third consecutive term in 2002.
3rd term (2011-present)
In September 2009, Kitzhaber announced that he would run for a third term as governor,and in May 2010, won the Democratic primary, defeating Roger Obrist and former Secretary of State of Oregon, Bill Bradbury.In the general election, he ran against Republican Chris Dudley and several minor-party candidates, winning in an extremely close election. Kitzhaber was sworn in to his third term as Governor of Oregon on January 10, 2011 succeeding fellow Democrat Ted Kulongoski.
Activities outside governorship
Kitzhaber serves as the director of the Center for Evidence Based Policy at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon. He holds an endowed chair on health care policy at The Foundation for Medical Excellence, an educational foundation that produces continuing-education programs for physicians.Kitzhaber also serves as the president of the Estes Park Institute, a continuing-education organization for community health care leaders and hospital executives.On January 13, 2006, Kitzhaber launched the Archimedes Movement, an organization seeking to maximize the health of the population by creating a sustainable system which uses the public resources spent on health care to ensure that everyone has access to a defined set of effective health services.
The goal is to create a vision for a more equitable and sustainable system as well as the political tension necessary for its realization. A legislative proposal that took input from many Oregon residents was introduced in the 2007 Oregon legislative session.The Oregon Better Health Act failed to pass the 2007 Legislature after Kitzhaber was unable to overcome concerns raised by AARP about his inclusion of Medicare in his plan.Another health reform bill, a Senate proposal which was amended to include portions of the Archimedes Movement bill, passed instead.With the withdrawal of Tom Daschle's candidacy for United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, there was speculation Kitzhaber could be tapped for the position.However, Kitzhaber denied interest in the position and said that he was not being vetted.
Kitzhaber married Sharon LaCroix in 1995. They have one son, Logan, who was born in October 1997. The couple sought a divorce in 2003, soon after the end of his second term as governor.He currently lives with Cylvia Hayes, founder of 3EStrategies (an environmental consulting firm.)During his political career, Kitzhaber became famous for often wearing blue jeans instead of more formal slacks or suit pants. He created a minor stir when he wore jeans to his inauguration in 1994, with popular weekly magazine Newsweek commenting on his attire. During his 2010 campaign for a third term as governor, Kitzhaber frequently eschewed the necktie as well, preferring a button-down shirt and suit jacket with no tie.
May 18th, 2011