I met Barbara Roberts two years ago when she was a featured author of the Nye Beach Writers' Series in July 2002. I was amazed at her frankness, her compassion and the urgency of her message about coping with the death of love ones and the necessity of allowing for individual responses to grief.
I knew she was a brave woman because I lived in Oregon during her reign as Governor. I have always been impressed with her courage to stand up and demand constitutional rights for the handicapped, seniors, children who are victims of abuse and neglect, and low-income families.
Barbara Roberts is a fourth-generation Oregonian; a descendant of Oregon Trail pioneers raised to believe that girls could do anything. She began her public service as a volunteer advocate for handicapped children. From 1981 to 1984 she served as a member of the Oregon House of Representatives and was elected Oregon's first woman House majority leader during her second term. In 1984, she was elected Oregon's Secretary of State, and reelected in 1988. In 1991, she was elected Oregon's first (and only) female Governor. During her four-year term, Oregon was recognized by Financial World Magazine as the seventh best-managed state in the nation. Her administration was known for its strong gay rights advocacy and its appointment of women and minorities to positions in state government.
After leaving public office, she had a five-year association with the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and taught at Portland University as an Associate Director of Leadership Development. She is on the Board of Trustees of the Oregon Hospice Association and the Human Rights Campaign. She is a member of the Advisory Councils for Compassion in Dying in Oregon and the Oregon League of Conservation Voters. She is involved in the new Relief Nursery in Portland, serving small children who are victims of abuse and neglect.
Her book, Death Without Denial, Grief Without Apology, first published in 2002 is already in its fourth printing and is available for sale and autographing today.
Barbara Roberts is a brave, clear-spoken woman of indefatigable energy. She is the least pretentious governor Oregon has ever had. It is an honor to host her in Newport.
Please welcome Barbara Roberts.