Former Gov. Barbara Roberts' new memoir, Up the Capitol Steps: A Woman's March to the Governorship, is a highly readable account of Roberts' path to becoming Oregon's first female governor. (A Democrat, she served from 1991 to 1995.)
Anyone with an interest in Oregon politics will find much to chew on in the book, but political junkies will be forgiven if they turn first to page 323 for a gripping retelling of how current Gov. John Kitzhaber informed
Roberts he would challenge her in the 1994 gubernatorial primary. That was a gutsy move on Kitzhaber's part—it is rare in Oregon politics that a serious candidate (Kitzhaber had been Senate President from 1985 to 1991) takes on an incumbent in a primary. Here's how Roberts, currently serving as a Metro councilor, describes the scene:
Through his spokesman, Tim Raphael, Kitzhaber offered the following response to Roberts' recollection:
"While Barbara and I have very different recollections of that day, it was a difficult moment for both of us. It was not an easy decision to challenge a colleague and a friend. I’m glad we’ve put it behind us. Barbara is a tremendous public servant. She has made a huge contribution to our state, and I have the utmost respect for her," the governor said.