Oregon Sec. of State Kate Brown breaks silence on 'bizarre' situ - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon Sec. of State Kate Brown breaks silence on 'bizarre' situation with Kitzhaber

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SALEM, OR (KPTV) - One day after unexpectedly returning to Oregon from Washington D.C. with rumors swirling about the possibility of Gov. John Kitzhaber resigning, Secretary of State Kate Brown described the situation as "bizarre and unprecedented."

In a statement released Thursday morning, Brown said Kitzhaber requested that she leave the National Association of Secretaries of State conference in Washington D.C. as soon as possible to meet with him.

She is the president of that association and was scheduled to be part of discussion panels on Wednesday and Thursday.

Once she returned to Oregon, however, Brown said Kitzhaber asked her why she had come back early, "which I found strange," she said.

An Associated Press report citing "sources with direct knowledge of the situation," said Kitzhaber had reached a decision to resign because of an ethics scandal surrounding him and his fiancee Cylvia Hayes, but changed his mind.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has a pending criminal investigation into both Kitzhaber and Hayes. A spokesperson for Rosenblum said Kitzhaber requested a meeting with her on Feb. 6, but "she did not believe it was appropriate for them to meet."

Brown would become governor if Kitzhaber were to leave office before the end of his term. Both are Democrats.

Brown's full statement is below.

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.

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