Kate Brown’s disappearing act

Kate Brown disappear_thbby NW Spotlight

Now you see her, now you don’t!

Oregonians were reminded the other week via Secretary of State Kate Brown’s email newsletter, “Keeping up with Kate”, that Oregon in fact still has a Secretary of State.

During the 2012 election, Secretary Brown’s public employee union fueled campaign placed her in front of voters nearly every other commercial, but since, little has been heard out of her office. Other than an ill-conceived attempt to become Oregon’s voter registration nanny, forcing nearly all Oregonians to register to vote – via automatic DMV registrations with issued driver’s licenses, Kate, once again, seems to be neatly tucked away, in the protected cloister of the capital.

During the campaign she made a number of promises to the people of Oregon, but now we have to ask ourselves, has Kate delivered on her campaign promises?

Here’s the evidence – decide for yourself.

  • Brown promised to reform Oregon’s campaign finance system and make independent expenditures more transparent. Where is this reform?
  • She pledged to clean up state government personnel, election procedures, postage issues (for mailed ballots) and improve options for independents to participate in elections. Conveniently forgotten.
  • Brown promised to revamp the Secretary of State Audit Division making it more effectual. Radio silence.
  • She vowed to create a more accurate system for tracking major state agency and local government mandatory audits. So far, left unattended.

What has Brown done in office? Her recent email blast claims that her administration has successfully created an office for small business assistance.

The real clincher – the highlighted initiative was an idea originally introduced by the Knute Buehler Campaign. When looking at the details, Brown’s legislation pales in comparison to the concept Buehler proposed, which was based on the successful SBA Small Business Ombudsman model.

What Brown’s newsletter doesn’t highlight are the less popular initiatives she has championed in her second term:

Environmental focus – Kate’s office has successfully passed legislation to create “benefit corporations” by identifying companies wanting to be designated as socially and environmentally conscience. What voters may want to know is how this helps small business and/or puts people back to work.

Attack on ballot initiatives – The Secretary of State has also spearheaded legislation to make qualifying a ballot initiative even more difficult. Brown’s Public Union partners have expressed their pleasure, which should be a red flag for the rest of us.

Forced audits – Brown was forced by the Oregon legislature to conduct an audit of Tri Met for the first time. Puzzling why this audit took an act of the legislature to take place. We suggest her auditors also take a look at Portland Metro, Portland Public Schools, and City of Portland books while they’re in the city.

Kate Brown should step out from behind her protective curtain and serve the state.