Jonathan J. Cooper / The Associated Press
SALEM — Ellen Rosenblum, the Democratic candidate for Oregon attorney general, will be taking the job early.
Gov. John Kitzhaber said Wednesday he’ll appoint the former judge to succeed John Kroger, who is resigning to become president of Reed College in Portland. Rosenblum will be sworn in as Oregon’s first female attorney general on June 29.
Kroger, a Democrat, decided last year not to run for re-election as a result of a health condition he hasn’t disclosed publicly.
Rosenblum won the Democratic nomination for attorney general last month. This fall, she’ll face Republican James Buchal, a Portland attorney who launched a write-in campaign for the party’s nomination after nobody stepped up to be on the primary ballot. An unofficial count released Wednesday showed Buchal with nearly 13,000 GOP write-in votes.
Taking office early will help with a smooth transition, Rosenblum said in an interview.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to try to hit the ground running, and I think it will serve the people well, especially if I’m elected in November,” she said.
Rosenblum was a federal prosecutor in Eugene and Portland for nine years before she was appointed a Multnomah County trial court judge in 1989. She became an Oregon Court of Appeals judge in 2005 and retired from the bench last year.
“This is a historic moment,” Kitzhaber said. “Throughout her career, Ellen has been an advocate for the people of Oregon.”
The attorney general runs the Oregon Department of Justice, which is responsible for collecting child support, providing legal advice to state agencies, enforcing consumer-protection laws and helping district attorneys with criminal prosecutions.
“Ellen will be a fantastic attorney general and we will all work to make sure she has a smooth transition,” Kroger said.
Buchal has litigated business disputes and represented businesses fighting the government. He calls himself a libertarian and said his goal as attorney general would not be to win every case.
“When you get into this mind-set where the government always has to win, we end up with more and more complexity and everything grinds to a halt,” Buchal said. “If you keep electing people who are sort of lifetime government people, I’m not sure they can even see the problem.”