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Oregon Secretary Of State Fuels Kitzhaber Resignation Rumors With Abrupt Flight

Don Ryan
AP Photo
FILE - In this Jan. 12, 2015 file photo, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, middle, is joined by his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, as he is sworn in for an unprecedented fourth term.

Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown launched a wave of speculation in the state capitol Wednesday by abruptly leaving a conference she was attending in Washington, D.C. Brown is first in line of succession to the governor’s office.

Gov. John Kitzhaber and his fiancée Cylvia Hayes are facing criminal investigations over allegations they used his office for personal gain.

Brown had been scheduled to appear on a public radio program on Wednesday. But the Brown office canceled her appearance, saying that her duties with the National Association of Secretaries of State was proving to be a huge time commitment.

First thing Wednesday morning, Brown left the conference and took a plane back to Oregon.

This week Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced she's opened an investigation into allegations against the governor.

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.