Ex-Gov. Barbara Roberts: ‘Painful’ for Kitzhaber

"I guess the question is who created the pain"

Barbara Roberts was Oregon's governor from 1991 to 1995, seen at her Portland home, Feb. 12, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)
Barbara Roberts was Oregon's governor from 1991 to 1995, seen at her Portland home, Feb. 12, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Barbara Roberts said this must be a very painful time for Gov. John Kitzhaber as calls for his resignation grow louder, including from his fellow Democrats.

Roberts, who was Oregon’s governor from 1991 to 1995, said the fact Democratic allies Peter Courtney and Tina Kotek asked for him to resign is a big deal and not done without a lot of contemplation.

The governor’s office has become disengaged from normal legislative business that it would normally have a hand in, she said.

“It’s painful to see. I don’t think anyone can watch this and not think it’s painful to see,” Roberts said. “But I guess the question is who created the pain.”

She said the state has a very smooth and clean plan for transition if Kitzhaber does decide to step down.

Secretary of State Kate Brown, who would take over as governor, would likely bring a great deal of stability to the governor’s office, Roberts said.

Four other Oregon governors have resigned: LaFayette Grover in 1877, George Chamberlain in 1909, Frank Benson in 1910 and Douglas McKay in 1952. Grover and Chamberlain moved to the US Senate, while Benson cited an illness. McKay moved to Washington to work with President Dwight Eisenhower.

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