A proven leader, a dedicated public servant, and a groundbreaker
Oregon Governor Tina Kotek is a proven leader, a dedicated public servant, and a groundbreaker who ran for the open governorship. The longest serving House speaker in Oregon history, she is ready to build a future of opportunity and justice for every Oregonian. Gov. Kotek began her public service career as a policy advocate for the Oregon Food Bank, working to eliminate hunger for every Oregonian. She went on to serve as the policy director for Children First for Oregon, and stepped up to run for the Oregon state House to do more to help families thrive and succeed. She was first elected in 2006. In her first term in the House, she championed a redesign of the state’s welfare program and led the fight to establish statewide nutrition standards for food sold in schools. She helped pass landmark legislation that ended discrimination based on sexual orientation and created domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. In 2013, she became the first openly lesbian speaker of any state House in the nation. She has worked tirelessly to respond to the immediate crises facing Oregonians — delivering pandemic relief; funding wildfire recovery; preventing evictions of tenants, homeowners and small businesses; making historic investments to increase affordable housing; passing a first-in-the-nation statewide rent stabilization law; and personally advocating for more equitable policing and a fairer criminal justice system. At this pivotal moment, she is ready to serve as governor, and to lead a recovery that gives every Oregonian the opportunity to thrive.
A champion for Oregonians
Gov. Kotek has said, “The No. 1 priority is the same thing it has been for me as speaker, which is to make sure that people’s lives are improving.” During her speakership, she championed the successful efforts to expand earned sick leave, strengthen retirement security and ban racial profiling. She has passed trailblazing legislation to raise Oregon’s minimum wage, led the way to an historic investment in the state’s transportation infrastructure with a package to support thousands of jobs, relieve congestion, improve the safety of Oregon’s bridges and roads, and make the first-ever statewide investment in public transit. She has defended access to affordable health care for the thousands of people who rely on Medicaid and expanded reproductive health care for all Oregonians. She has fought to preserve and increase affordable housing, advocated for a fairer rental market, and stood up for working families by supporting the strongest equal pay law in the nation and the nation’s first fair work week law. Most recently, she has guided the Oregon Legislature to pass the first statewide laws in the country to combat rent gouging and to relegalize “missing middle” housing in areas previously reserved for detached single family housing. She has expanded funding and access to the state’s Medicaid program, helped to create a paid family medical leave insurance program, and championed the Student Success Act to increase funding for the state’s pre-K-12 public education system by $1 billion per year. “Oregonians are living through a devastating pandemic, the intensifying impacts of climate change, and the economic disruptions that leave too many behind,” Gov. Kotek has said. “We must get past the politics of division and focus on making real, meaningful progress for families across our state. I am running for governor because I know that, together, we can reckon with the legacies of injustice and inequality to build a great future for Oregon.”
An historic victory
Gov. Kotek made history as the first lesbian speaker of any state legislature, and again as one of the first openly lesbian governors of any state. “I’ve had the good fortune to be in the position to do things that really improve the lives of Oregonians, and this is a state I love…and it’s a state that has allowed me to be myself,” Gov. Kotek has said. “It’s a beautiful place, and I want to give back. It’s about making sure we can continue to improve people’s lives.” Gov. Kotek’s successes have served as a powerful example of the positive impact Democratic pro-choice women can make, and now we helped elect her to an executive leadership position to continue to change the face of power in this country. We showed this champion for the people of Oregon the full support of the EMILY’s List community to ensure that she had the resources she needed to win, to move Oregon forward, and to make history.