Kitzhaber will watch State of the Union with first lady - KPTV - FOX 12

Kitzhaber will watch State of the Union with first lady Michelle Obama

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Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber will watch President Barack Obama's State of the Union address from first lady Michelle Obama's box.

Kitzhaber spokesman Tim Raphael says the White House extended the invitation on Monday, presumably to highlight Kitzhaber's health care and education initiatives.

The Obama administration has given Oregon $1.9 billion to help put Kitzhaber's health reforms into practice. The governor says Oregon can improve health and lower costs by managing chronic diseases and preventing avoidable hospitalizations.

If Oregon's effort is successful, Kitzhaber says it would be a model for others states to manage the federal health care overhaul.

Raphael says the governor is honored by the invitation and "it's gratifying for our efforts in Oregon to be recognized."

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