Nicholas Kristof, a former New York Times columnist, announced Wednesday he is running for Oregon governor, ending months of speculation over whether he would make a bid for the top political office in his home state.

“It’s hard to watch your home state struggle when you can make a difference on homelessness, education, jobs,” Kristof, 62, tweeted Wednesday morning, along with a link to his campaign’s launch video. In it, he spoke of his roots in Yamhill, Ore., the opportunities he felt his Oregon upbringing had given him, and the decline in prospects for those with whom he grew up.

“If you want to see what happens when our politics so badly fails the people it’s supposed to serve, just take a walk through downtown Portland,” Kristoff, who is running as a Democrat, narrates in the video, as the camera pans across a homeless encampment.

“It’s time to do something about a system that’s rigged against so many ordinary Oregonians,” he adds. “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.”

Kristoff, who has no political experience, says as much in the video. Instead, he leans heavily on his 37-year career at the Times — where he was a foreign correspondent and a columnist who won the Pulitzer Prize — saying he “spent a lifetime shining a light in the darkest corners of the globe.”

Kristof had been on a leave of absence from the newspaper since June as he decided whether to run for political office, and he resigned from the Times earlier this month. In a statement about his departure, Kristof said he was leaving his dream job “very reluctantly” and alluded vaguely to his possible run for governor in Oregon.

“I’ve been on the ride of a lifetime with The Times. I’ve gotten to know presidents and tyrants, Nobel laureates and warlords, while visiting 160 countries. And precisely because I have a great job, outstanding editors and the best readers, I may be an idiot to leave,” Kristof said then.

“But you all know how much I love Oregon, and how much I’ve been seared by the suffering of old friends there,” he added. “So I’ve reluctantly concluded that I should try not only to expose problems but also see if I can fix them directly.”

Earlier this month, Kristof filed a statement with the Oregon secretary of state to organize a candidate committee, specifying the 2022 primary race for Oregon governor. In his filing, Kristof listed his occupation as “Journalist, Author, Farmer.” On his new campaign website, Kristof wrote that he and his wife, writer Sheryl WuDunn, have been revitalizing their family apple and grape farm.

Kristof had been a Times columnist since 2001 and is best known for his foreign correspondence; he and WuDunn won the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting for their coverage of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing. Kristof won the Pulitzer Prize in commentary in 2006 for his columns on the genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Kristof and WuDunn have also written several books, including “Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope,” which was published last year.

Oregon’s Democratic gubernatorial primary field could wind up being a crowded one. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) is term-limited, and the 2022 Democratic primary field is wide open. At least six people have launched or are considering bids, including state Treasurer Tobias Read, state Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and state House Speaker Tina Kotek.

Felicia Sonmez contributed to this report.

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