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Will House Speaker Tina Kotek Run?
Will she run for governor? Or Congress?

Editor's note: This is the first of a multipart series on Tina Kotek – her past and her future – as well as where her political ambitions might take her.

Democrat candidates are keeping their declarations under wraps. One person we are sure to see run for a major office is Tina Kotek. She has made several distinct moves to position a run. The most significant is her compromise with state unions on benefits to maintain her close alliance with union leadership.

Raised in Pennsylvania, Tina Kotek forged her political career while working on her Masters in International Studies at the University of Washington in the mid-1990s. She began work to win domestic partnership benefits for faculty and students. Upon graduation, Kotek began her public service career as a policy advocate for the Oregon Food Bank, and went on to serve as the policy director for Children First for Oregon before running for office.

Tina Kotek's first run for office in 2004 was unsuccessful in the 43rd House District. Switching to the 44th House District in 2006, she won with little opposition. In 2011, Kotek was chosen as the House Democrat Caucus leader, and when Democrats won the majority in 2012, she made national news as the first out Lesbian Speaker of the House in the nation, which she has retained ever since.

As Speaker, she has played a key role in Governor Brown's "equity" agenda to not just further her own agenda, but to lower the standards making it easier for minorities. In a press release January 4, 2021, she claims "Oregon was founded as an anti-Black "white utopia" -- from red-lining to forced displacement for "economic development" Black families were literally robbed of wealth." To tear down this "white utopia" she helped to sponsor SJM 4, urging Congress to enact legislation to begin process of implementing reparations for African Americans based on slavery and discrimination.

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In that same statement, as Speaker for the leadership of House Democrats, she set out steps to confront Oregons racist past by following the lead of BIPOC leaders. She proposes giving them dedicated space to launch a special legislative committee to propose reforms to the overall legislative structure that will encourage more diverse representation in prioritizing their needs with an equity lens applied to both policy and budget decisions

After Governor John Kitzhaber resigned in February 2015, elevating Kate Brown to the governorship, Kotek was named by The Oregonian as a possible successor to Brown as Oregon Secretary of State. Through a spokeswoman, Kotek denied interest in the job. But, she is now at that crossroads. Will she run for governor? Or will she run for Congress?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-08-31 17:40:57Last Update: 2021-09-03 16:12:13



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