Chris Lehman

Salem Correspondent

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.

Chris is a native of rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He was born in the upstairs bedroom of his grandmother's house, and grew up in a 230-year-old log cabin in the woods. Chris traces his interest in journalism to his childhood, when his parents threatened to take away his newspaper if he didn’t do his chores.

In addition to working full time in public radio for the past decade, Chris has also reported from overseas on a freelance basis. He's filed stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda. He lives in Salem with his wife and children.

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Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is urging state lawmakers to send voters a measure to ban capital punishment. But in a meeting with reporters Tuesday, legislative leaders showed little enthusiasm for taking up the hot button issue.

When the governor put a moratorium on the death penalty in November of 2011, he also called on the legislature to debate the issue. With this year’s session now underway, the Governor didn't mince words when reporters at the state capitol asked him what he wants the legislature to do.

Office of the Governor

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber says his state is on the right track after a period of economic turmoil. But he says much remains to be done. The Democrat's comments came Monday during his annual State of the State address.

The Governor credited Oregon lawmakers for getting the state back on course following a severe budget shortfall two years ago. But Kitzhaber also noted that some parts of the state still have double digit unemployment. And he said many people with jobs are still struggling to get by. He said the legislature can play a role in turning those numbers around.

Office of the Governor

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is urging state lawmakers to maintain bipartisan cooperation even though Democrats now control both chambers of the legislature. The governor made the comments in his annual State-of-the-State Address to a joint assembly Monday.

He told lawmakers they’ve made progress on a number of issues while the Oregon House has been evenly divided.

“Over the past two years, this body has demonstrated that it is not only possible to disagree agreeably, but to move beyond what divides us and build instead on what unites us.”

Oregon Legislature

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon House convened Monday morning and quickly made history. Members elected Portland Democrat Tina Kotek to be their speaker.

Kotek becomes the first openly gay woman in the nation to lead a state legislative chamber. Kotek took the oath of office next to her partner, Aimee Wilson.

But the four-term state representative didn't mention her history-making status in her opening address to lawmakers. She did encourage House members to tackle tough issues head-on.

Jessica Paterson / Flickr

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers return to Salem Monday for a legislative session that's expected to be full of debate over economic and public safety issues. Democrats will control both chambers of the legislature and the governor's office, but that doesn't mean there won't be disagreements.

Oregon Legislature

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers are poised to make history Monday by electing the first ever openly lesbian Speaker of the House. Not just in Oregon, but in the country. Portland Democrat Tina Kotek will lead the chamber as lawmakers tackle the state budget, pension reform, and other issues. One issue not on her agenda: Same-sex marriage.

Kotek won't be the first openly gay person to lead a legislative chamber in the U.S. There have been at least four others. But she'll be the first woman. She calls that “humbling.”

Oregon Department of Transportation

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber wants permission to make a little extra cash on the side. The state's Ethics Commission is poised to sign off on the Democrat's request to earn money through out-of-state speaking engagements.

During the eight years between his second and third terms as governor, John Kitzhaber became a nationally sought-after speaker on health care policy. The governor recently asked the state's ethics panel it would be okay, now that he's in office, to continue to accept such invitations.

SoulRider.222 / Flickr

SALEM, Ore. – Police officers in Oregon can continue to use random license plate checks as a law enforcement tool. That's the upshot of a decision issued Thursday by the Oregon Supreme Court.

Have you ever been stopped at a red light and noticed a police car in your rearview mirror? There's a good chance that officer is running your license plate number through his or her computer. In seconds a state database can show if everything's kosher about your car. If not, you'll probably get pulled over.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has been on a roll. Halfway through his unprecedented third term, he's ushered in major changes to Oregon schools and the state’s health care system. Last month he won a special tax deal for Nike. But on the eve of the upcoming legislative session, Kitzhaber isn't saying whether he's preparing for his final act in Oregon politics, or setting the stage to run yet again.

Jessica Paterson / Flickr

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers will consider a possible cure for a chronic pain in the neck for doctors and hospitals. Governor John Kitzhaber says he's helped broker a deal between lawyers and doctors about curbing the cost of liability insurance.

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