Barbara Kay Roberts (née Hughey; born December 21, 1936) is an American politician from the state of Oregon. A native of the state, she served as the 34th Governor of Oregon from 1991 to 1995. She was the first woman to serve as Oregon governor, and the only woman elected to that office until 2016. A Democrat, Roberts was also the first woman to serve as majority leader in the Oregon House of Representatives. She also won two terms as Oregon Secretary of State, and served in local and county government in Portland. Roberts was married to Oregon state Sen. Frank L. Roberts from 1974 until his death in 1993. From February 2011 until January 2013, she served on the council of Metro, the regional government in the Portland metropolitan area.
Born in Corvallis, Oregon, Roberts grew up there, in Los Angeles, California, Gold Creek, Oregon, and finally Sheridan, Oregon, where she graduated from Sheridan High School. After briefly moving to Texas with her first husband, she settled in Portland, Oregon, where Roberts attended Portland State University from 1961 to 1964. A mother of an autistic son, Roberts became an advocate for special needs children. In 1973, a year after divorcing her first husband, she was elected to Parkrose School Board and, later, to the Mount Hood Community College board. In 1974, she married Oregon state representative and later state senator Frank L. Roberts, who became her political mentor. In 1981, she was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives as a Democrat, was re-elected in 1983, and was elected Majority Leader, Oregon's first woman to hold that post.
In 1984, Roberts was elected as Oregon Secretary of State, the first Democrat elected to that post in over 100 years, and was re-elected in 1988. Shortly after incumbent Democratic Gov. Neil Goldschmidt announced that he would not seek a second term as governor, Roberts announced her candidacy in the 1990 Oregon gubernatorial election. She ran unopposed in the Democratic primary and went on to win the November general election, becoming the first woman elected Governor of Oregon. Owing to her unpopularity and breaking a campaign promise not to cut spending, Roberts decided not to seek reelection in 1994.
Soon after she left office, Roberts accepted a position at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University as director of the Harvard Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government and later as a senior fellow to the Women and Public Policy Program. In 1998, Roberts joined Portland State University's Hatfield School of Government's Executive Leadership Institute as Associate Director of Leadership Development. In early 2011, Roberts returned to government service, as a member of the six-person Metro council, the Portland metropolitan area's elected regional government. Appointed to the position, her term ended in January 2013.