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Former New York Times columnist Nick Kristof officially launches run for Oregon governor

Former New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has officially pivoted to a political career, launching his campaign on Wednesday to be Oregon's next governor.

Kristof, 62, grew up on a farm in Yamhill County, southwest of Portland, and has moved back to his family's farm in recent years. Kristof left his job at The New York Times earlier this month.

"It's time to do something about a system that's rigged against so many ordinary Oregonians," Kristof said in his announcement video. "But nothing will change until we stop moving politicians up the career ladder year after year, even though they refuse to step up to the problems Oregon faces."

Here's his announcement video:

Nick Kristof: A brighter tomorrow for Oregon by Nick For Oregon on YouTube

Kristof is making the turn to politics after spending 37 years at The New York Times as a reporter, managing editor and columnist. During his career he received two Pulitzer Prizes for his work. He said working for the newspaper was a "dream job."

In his announcement video, Kristof highlighted his experiences growing up in Yamhill County. He said declining wages, unaffordable housing and poor mental healthcare are among the problems that need to be addressed. He said he wants to make Oregon a place that understands that "being down on your luck should never be a death sentence."

Kristof also emphasized his work as a journalist and said that has driven him to run for office. 

"I have spent a lifetime shining a light in the darkest corners of the globe, and it broke my heart when I returned from crises abroad, only to find crises here at home," Kristof said. "And that's why I'm running for governor."

Oregon's current Democratic Governor Kate Brown cannot run again due to term limits. Several other candidates have already entered the race, including Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek and Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read. 

The winner of the Democratic primary will be heavily favored in the November general election. Oregon has not had a Republican governor since Victory Atiyeh left office in 1987.

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