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Barbara Roberts

Gov. Barbara Roberts

  • January 14, 1991 - January 9, 1995
  • Democratic
  • December 21, 1936
  • Oregon
  • Portland State University; Harvard University School of Government
  • Married Frank Roberts (died 1993); two children


BARBARA ROBERTS was born in Corvallis, Oregon. She attended Portland State University from 1961 to 1964 and Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1989. She worked as an unpaid advocate for handicapped children, which led to her 1973 election to the Parkrose School Board, on which she served for ten years. She also served as Multnomah County Commissioner in 1978 and was a member of the Mt. Hood Community College Board for three and one-half years. Roberts was a member of the Oregon House of Representatives from 1981 to 1985, holding the post of House Majority Leader from 1983 to 1984. In 1984, she was elected Secretary of State, winning reelection in 1988. She chaired the Governor’s Task Force on Worker’s Compensation Reform, served on the Governor’s Commission for Financing Long-Term Care, and was the Governor’s representative to the Hanford Waste Board. She became Oregon’s first woman governor in 1991. As governor, she was a strong supporter of public education, handicapped rights and services, environmental management, and streamlining of state government. After leaving office, Roberts accepted a position with the John F. Kennedy School of Government as Director of the Harvard Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government and later as a senior fellow to the Women and Public Policy Program. In 1998 she became Associate Director of Leadership Development at Portland State University’s Hatfield School of Government’s Executive Leadership Institute.


Oregon Historical Society

Oregon State Archives

Who’s Who in America 1991, Vol. 2. New Providence, NJ: Marquis Who’s Who, 1994.

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