ROBERT WILLIAM STRAUB was born in San Francisco, California. He received a bachelor’s degree as well as a master’s degree in Business Administration from Dartmouth College. An enlistee in the Army during World War II, Straub moved to Oregon when the war ended, working as an executive with the Weyerhauser Timber Corporation and as a building contractor before entering politics in 1955. He served as Commissioner of Lane County from 1955 to 1959, a state Senator from 1959 to 1963, and state Treasurer from 1964 to 1972. He was also a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1968. Straub made two unsuccessful runs for the governorship in 1966 and 1970 before winning election in 1974. Major accomplishments during Straub’s term as chief executive include reduction of the unemployment rate from twelve to five percent, increased direct property tax relief, utility rate relief for senior citizens, an effort to establish a fair regional power plan through Congress, and important changes in Oregon’s land use planning laws. Another significant development during his term was the appointment of more women, handicapped, and minorities to head state agencies and divisions that had been appointed by any previous Oregon governor. Under Straub, basic school support for local elementary and secondary schools increased, educational programs for the handicapped were expanded, duplicative state agencies were consolidated to achieve better services and tax savings, and more than fifty clean, labor intensive firms were attracted to Oregon. Straub died after battling Alzheimer’s.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
Governors of the American States, Commonwealths and Territories, National Governors Association, 1978.
Oregon State Archives
Oregon State Library