Nick Kristof made it official Wednesday morning: He's running for governor in his native state of Oregon.
The former New York Times columnist — who grew up in the Yamhill area, south of Forest Grove — released his first campaign video Wednesday morning, highlighting homelessness, addiction and homicides in Portland among problems he wants to tackle.
Kristof, whose work at The New York Times focused heavily on humanitarian crises in countries like China, Sudan and Myanmar, said he returned to Oregon only to find many of those problems also playing out in his home state.
"Let's make Oregon a place that rewards American values like hard work and initiative," Kristof says in the video, "but that also understands that being down on your luck should never be a death sentence."
Kristof, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, grew up on a sheep and cherry farm and graduated from Yamhill-Carlton High School. His parents taught at Portland State University.
According to his attorneys at Perkins and Coie, Kristof purchased a 150-acre property in Yamhill in 1993 and also owns 290 acres in McMinnville.
Kristof graduated from Harvard University and has a law degree from Oxford University in England. He his wife, fellow Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sheryl WuDunn, have three children.
Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, announced in August she will be running in the May Democratic primary. State Treasurer Tobias Read, a Beaverton Democrat, announced his candidacy in September. Also running is former Independent Party nominee Patrick Starnes, who has changed his party affiliation to Democratic.
Another Democrat, Sen. Betsy Johnson of Warren, said earlier this month she also plans to run for governor — but as an unaffiliated candidate, bypassing the Democratic primary.
Among Republicans, former nominee Bud Pierce of Salem, Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam and Baker City Mayor Kerry McQuisten are among the announced candidates.