(Reuters) – Former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof announced on Wednesday that he is running for governor of Oregon, saying he hopes to address systemic social issues in the state where he grew up on his family’s sheep and cherry farm.
Kristof, 62, who is from Yamhill, a rural community in western Oregon, said in a video announcing his candidacy for the Democratic nomination that he will tackle homelessness, poverty, drug addiction and inadequate education if elected.
“It’s time to do something about a system that’s rigged against so many Oregonians,” he said.
Kristof retired from the New York Times earlier this month after 37 years at the newspaper, where he worked as a reporter, editor and columnist. He won two Pulitzer Prizes, the highest honor in U.S. journalism, one for his coverage of the 1989 Tiananmen democracy movement in China and another in 2006 for his coverage of the genocide in Darfur.
“I have spent a lifetime shining a light on the darkest corners of the globe and it broke my heart when I returned from crisis abroad only to find crisis here at home,” he said.
Kristof, who has never before sought political office, joined a field of at least 10 Democrats and 12 Republicans who have filed papers or announced they are running for governor. Democratic Governor Kate Brown, who has held the office since 2015, cannot seek re-election because of term limits.
The primary will be held on May 17 and the general election on Nov. 8, 2022.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Peter Cooney)