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The statistics aren’t good. According to recent estimates, women make up just under 20 percent of Congress and less than 25 percent of all state legislatures. Only six of our nation’s governors are women. But we are 51 percent of the population. And the research shows that when women participate in government, we make it run better, more collaboratively. Historically, women have needed to be convinced to enter politics. But within weeks of the 2016 presidential election, thousands of women announced they plan to run. And we want them to win. So we’re giving them a weekly example of a woman who has run and won — or in this week’s case, a woman who’s well on her way. The point: You can, too.

Kate Brown is the current Governor of Oregon. Previously, she was the Oregon Secretary of State and in the Oregon State Senate. She succeeded former Governor John Kitzhaber when he resigned in February 2015 and won her own special election in 2016, making her the first openly bisexual governor ever to serve in the United States. Since Trump was inaugurated, Oregon has codified a woman’s right to choose, just in case the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade and has passed protections against deportations. Brown herself has issued an executive order to reaffirm Oregon’s commitment to immigrants, strengthening its status as a sanctuary state and defying Trump’s hardline positions. Last month, she signed the Reproductive Health Equity Act into law The measure requires all insurers to cover birth control and abortion — without a copay. It has been widely deemed the most progressive reproductive health policy in the country.

I remember telling my mother in the third grade that I wanted to be President of the United States. I remember her saying, “But we don’t have enough money.” It wasn’t that I was raised in a low-income home. It was more, I think, “You’re not the right type of person that runs for president.” It seemed like her way of telling me, “That’s not a job that girls do.”

Growing up, I was a 1960s baby in Minnesota, and books were my sort of portal to the world. I read extensively and read about a lot of really strong women, like Amelia Earhart and Julia Gordon Low, who founded the Girl Scouts, and of course Harriet Tubman. Back then, my teachers were really important for me; they were role models, pushing me and encouraging me to succeed. And that continued throughout my undergraduate classes at the University of Colorado and in law school in Oregon.

I had always wanted to go to law school because I knew that being a lawyer would give me the tools to fight for justice and equality, and later, I got into public service because I wanted to be a voice for the voiceless. So, in 1982, I moved to Oregon to go to law school. While I was there, one of my biggest mentors in law school was the associate dean, and she happened to mentor another woman in the class before me, whose name you probably know, [North Dakota Sen.] Heidi Heitkamp. The fact that she mentored both Heidi and me is pretty extraordinary, I must say.

On her “from birth” feminism

At Lewis and Clark [Law School], I really fell in love with Oregon. It was like I came home. I’d been somewhat active in high school, not so active in college; I was quite active here when I was in law school, working and volunteering at one of the local women’s health centers. This is when we were having the battle of making sure women could get into health clinics without being harassed by protestors. After law school, I continued my activism, both through volunteering and getting involved working [to oppose] some of the anti-choice ballot measures.

http://www.elle.com/culture/career-politics/a12157267/kate-brown-oregon-governor-abortion/