Kitzhaber: Oregon's challenges are green, not red or blue

Governor-elect John Kitzhaber addressed about 150 supporters, staff and journalists Thursday morning in Portland’s Pearl District.

It was his first public address since defeating Republican Chris Dudley in one of the tightest governor races in Oregon history.

Kitzhaber thanked his family, campaign staff and volunteers —saying, "this is your victory" — and said he looks forward to working with Dudley in the future.

He told the crowd at Tanner Springs Park that his top priority will be creating jobs to bring down Oregon’s 10.6 percent unemployment rate. "Kids need skills to be successful in the workplace and society," he said.

He plans to introduce programs in the near future to address unemployment, energy and health care needs, and to balance the state budget.

He also acknowledged the country’s political divide, but said he's not surprised Oregon bucked the trend. "In Oregon, we're defined not by what we’re against, but what we're for. … The challenges here aren't blue. They aren't red. Hell, they're green."

Kitzhaber won the election with 677,567 votes, or 49 percent, to Dudley’s 665,020 votes, or 48.09 percent.

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