Several newspapers are reporting that Governor Kitzhaber decided to resign Wednesday, but changed his mind after talking with his lawyer and his fiancée, First Lady Cylvia Hayes. Speculation swirled after news broke that Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown was rushing back early from a conference in Washington D.C. Brown is next in line if the governor steps down. Brown released a statement with her version of events Thursday:
Late Tuesday afternoon, I received a call from the Governor while I was in Washington, DC at a Secretaries of State conference. He asked me to come back to Oregon as soon as possible to speak with him in person and alone.
I got on a plane yesterday morning and arrived at 3:40 in the afternoon. I was escorted directly into a meeting with the Governor. It was a brief meeting. He asked me why I came back early from Washington, DC, which I found strange. I asked him what he wanted to talk about. The Governor told me he was not resigning, after which, he began a discussion about transition.
This is clearly a bizarre and unprecedented situation.
I informed the Governor that I am ready, and my staff will be ready, should he resign. Right now I am focused on doing my job for the people of Oregon.