New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof told an Oregon weekly newspaper that he’s considering a run to be Oregon’s governor.
“I have friends trying to convince me that here in Oregon, we need new leadership from outside the broken political system,” Kristof, a native Oregonian, told Willamette Week. “I’m honestly interested in what my fellow Oregonians have to say about that.
“All I know for sure is that we need someone with leadership and vision so that folks from all over the state can come together to get us back on track.”
Kristof, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for reporting on human rights abuses, was raised on a sheep and cherry farm about an hour southwest of Portland.
A recent poll included Kristof’s name among Democrat gubernatorial hopeful candidates, and asked Oregon voters how they would feel about a journalist running for office.
The 62-year-old Kristof declined to say when he moved back to Oregon, reported Willamette Week, which added the columnist had been visiting his family farm for about two years.
Kristof, who attended Harvard and was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford, has written about human rights abuses including sex trafficking, sweat shops, and child marriage.
He and wife Sheryl WuDunn won an international reporting Pulitzer in 1990 for covering the Tiananmen Square protests in China. He won another Pulitzer in 2006 for commentary on genocide in Darfur.
Kristof and his wife last year wrote a book, “Tightrope,” on the failures of the American dream. The book, in part, focused on the stories of childhood friends, many of whom fell into poverty and drug addiction.
A progressive, Kristof has been critical of former President Donald Trump, Republicans, and conservative media figures, The Hill reported.
Willamette Week interviewed Kristof when it published an excerpt of “Tightrope” early in 2020. At that time, Kristof said both major political parties had abandoned the working class.
“This is not just a Trump problem or just a Republican problem,” he said. “Both parties over 50 years have their fingerprints on policies that were disastrous for a lot of working-class Americans. Mass incarceration is one example.”
Current Gov. Kate Brown, D-Ore., is term-limited after taking office in 2015.
The Democrat gubernatorial primary for Oregon governor will not include an incumbent or former governor for just the second in more than two decades.
The Willamette Week said other potential Democrat candidates include state Treasurer Tobias Read, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, Service Employees International Union leader Melissa Unger, Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, and Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle.
Oregon became the 48th state to fully reopen on June 30 when Brown lifted the state’s COVID-19 mask mandates in nearly all public settings.
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