John Kitzhaber officially starts his fourth term as Oregon’s governor January 12. He defeated Republican challenger Dennis Richardson in November to become the state’s first four-term governor. His first two terms were in the 1990s.
Kitzhaber presented his two-year budget proposal in December, giving a glimpse into his priorities for his fourth term. Education funding and economic development in rural Oregon are high on the list. Political watchers anticipate that the governor will try to pass some kind of tax reform package in the 2015 session.
The governor goes into his fourth term with some significant political baggage as questions continue to swirl around his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, and how she may have used her position as first lady for personal gain. In late December, the Eugene Register-Guard called for Kitzhaber to “end the distraction” by appointing a special prosecutor to look into the matter.
We’ll talk with Oregonian political reporter Jeff Mapes about the inauguration ceremony and look ahead to the governor’s fourth term.