KGW reporter Pat Dooris talked one-on-one with Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber Monday. Before the interview, KGW asked its Facebook followers what question they most wanted the governor to answer.
The most common question related to capital punishment in Oregon. Pat asked the question for KGW s Facebook followers and here is the transcript:
Background: Gov. Kitzhaber halts Haugen execution
Pat Dooris: A lot of folks want to know how can you... your personal convictions override the will of 600,000 people that voted for the death penalty last time?
Governor Kitzhaber: The constitution gives me the authority to do that and you know, it s a decision that I did not arrive at lightly but I think that it s important that we... have that debate and clearly we're having it.
Governor Kitzhaber: What I did is created a debate about the death penalty which is what I hoped to do and I think the reflection of the man on the street suggests that. You know, if I wanted to get rid of the death penalty I could have commuted everybody's sentence which I didn t do. I think even those who support the death penalty need to ask themselves: Is a system where two people convicted of exactly the same crime get completely different sentences - one gets the death sentence, one doesn t - Does that make sense? Is that fair? Is that equitable? Is that really what they voted for?
Governor Kitzhaber: I think it s very reasonable to have a conversation, even if you are in support of the death penalty, asking, Is this the death penalty we thought we were enacting back in the 1980's?