“I’ve decided I am going to run for governor of Oregon,” Kristof told Portland’s KGW8 News on Wednesday.
Kristof stepped down as a columnist for the Times earlier this month after 37 years at the paper.
“It was a wonderful perch when your friends and people you deeply care about are suffering and you’re attending funeral after funeral then that perch and writing columns that are read in the White House doesn’t mean as much as knowing that you’re going to be going to another funeral,” Kristof said.
According to KGW8, Kristof’s “top three priorities” he’d tackle as governor are “homelessness and affordable housing,” “improving the state’s education system” and “creating good jobs,” particularly in climate technology.
“Oregon has a fighting chance to create those good jobs and whoever becomes that climate hub is going to- it’s going to be the silicon valley for the next 50 years in terms of the job opportunities it creates,” Kristof vowed.
Kristof, who is running as a Democrat, is hoping to emulate the leadership of two-term Oregon Gov. Tom McCall, a Republican and a former journalist who, as KGW8 described him, “was known for bringing people together.”
“I think that as a liberal from a conservative rural area, maybe I have some natural advantage in trying to build bridge[s] trying to bring people together. And I believe it’s time to try,” Kristof told KGW8.
Kristof’s eligibility to run as Oregon governor is facing scrutiny since a candidate has to be a resident for at least three years and he cast his ballot in New York during the 2020 election, but he argued, “my soul is here.” And he’s hoping running as a political outsider will appeal to voters.
“I’ve come to the conclusion that at the end of the day, we can’t solve these problems as a state if we continue to send the same kind of people to Salem to try to address problems they helped foster in many cases,” Kristof said.
In his campaign video, Kristof touted his career as a journalist, saying while he has never held political office, he had “spent a lifetime shining a light in the darkest corners of the globe, adding “it broke my heart when I’d return from crises abroad only to find crises here at home.”
“And that’s why I’m running for governor,” Kristof told Oregonians.