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Tina Kotek’s Impact on Education
Does Tina Kotek walk in Kate Brown’s footsteps?

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

Education is at the forefront of this state. Unless we educate our students, freedom and liberties will always be at stake. Speaker Tina Kotek claims her 14 years in the House is her strength, what does that look like for education?

In 2013, Kotek sponsored HB 3077 that enacted the Interstate Compact for Agreement among the states to elect the president by National Popular Vote. Whether you trust big states to vote for you or not, it forfeits Oregonian’s right to vote to larger states. The right to vote is the core to the Republic that insures liberties. Kotek voted to add civics as a requirement to graduate, so does she support the individual right and duty to vote?

Oregon Constitution, Article I, Section 1, says “we declare that all men, when they form a social compact are equal in right...” Governor Brown changed “equal in right” to equity in outcome, which translates into redistribution. Even after two federal judges ruled equity in outcome is unconstitutional, Kotek still supports Governor Brown’s change in agenda. She was chief sponsor of HB 2001 during the 2021 session requiring school districts to retain teachers with less seniority if teacher has more merit and if retention of teacher is necessary to maintain school district's diversity ratio -- release of teacher would result in lesser proportion of teachers with cultural or linguistic expertise.

Kotek’s legislative biography also takes credit for championing the Student Success Act that is funded by the corporate activity tax, After two states abandoned the tax as taking too big of hit on their economy, she passed it on party lines. The tax increases funding for the state’s preK-12 public education system by $1 billion per year. Makes one question where it went if a 3.3 percent increase in the amount of $9.3 billion was need for schools for the next biennium. Will schools see that $1 billion when businesses can’t operate?

It was Speaker Kotek that sponsored SB 552 in 2011, designating the Governor as Superintendent of Public Instruction. At the feet of the powerful teachers’ unions, she’s presided over what is arguably the largest decline in effectiveness in the Oregon education system since statehood. That has sparked parent’s ire with her caucus passing SB 744, which suspends graduation requirements showing proficiency in Essential Learning Skills.

As the gubernatorial election hastens, there is an important question on the table -- does Tina Kotek walk in Kate Brown’s footsteps?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-09-16 20:11:04Last Update: 2021-09-17 09:10:35



Are You Safer Under Tina Kotek?
Kotek has some responsibility for the violent outbreaks

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

Crime comes in all shapes, but every crime interferes with freedom. Protecting property, whether it’s personal or a business, is crucial to our liberties.

Speaker Kotek’s legislative biography says during the historic 2019 session, she guided the Oregon Legislature to pass the first statewide laws in the country to combat rent gouging. But, in 2014, she replied to a question at a town hall about rent control, saying she opposes rent control. Then, she turned around in 2019 and co-sponsored SB 608, the nation’s first statewide rent control act. As warned, the limit on rent increases were far more generous than historical increases and has resulted in higher increases than historical increases.

Is the crime in the free market or in restrictions? Kotek fought to preserve and increase affordable housing, but did nothing to secure low-income neighborhoods. Kotek boosted on Facebook in 2017 thanking Governor Brown for announcing a plan to curb gun violence. However, shootings in Portland nearly doubled in 2020 and this year has already more than doubled over last year’s highs.

Recently, she owned the push for more equitable policing and a fairer criminal justice system. She sponsored HB 4301 in the 2020 Second Special Session to modify defenses available to peace officers requiring a peace officer to consider alternatives to physical force or deadly physical force if reasonable opportunity to do so exists. Is that what we see in Portland?

As early as 2011, Kotek was promoting anti-policing policies co-sponsoring HB 2951 that identifies “involved officer” in incident that used deadly force causing serious physical injury. She was the chief sponsor of HB 4207 in 2020 for an online database of suspensions and revocations of police officers. This past session she sponsored and passed HB 3164 removing refusal to obey officer’s order as a manner of committing a crime to reduce the case against her assistant arrested for interfering with a police officer.

Last year, the Statesman Journal report Speaker Kotek slamming Portland police for using tear gas during protests where more than two dozen protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct. In a letter to Mayor Wheeler, she said, "It was an unnecessary escalation by the PPB against people exercising their freedom of assembly and freedom of speech." This past weekend police were told to stay away from conflicts between rioters. The Wall Street Editorial said, “Cities that tolerate political violence invite more of it. Portland, Ore., has failed to learn this lesson, and it’s a miracle no one was killed amid recent clashes… Mayor Ted Wheeler, federal courts and Oregon lawmakers have severely restricted when police can use less-lethal force, even amid riots.” As Speaker of the House, Kotek has some responsibility for the violent outbreaks as a part of state leadership. Why are 90% of rioters arrested never charged?


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-09-10 16:10:39Last Update: 2021-09-10 16:55:35



How’s Your Health Under Tina Kotek?
She supports requiring health workers and school staff get vaccinated

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

From a thinly veiled attempt to covering illegals with health care in the failed HB 2164 to requiring school-based health services , Speaker Kotek has placed a heavy thumb on the scales of health care. Kotek has driven the health care agenda towards universal health care with designed benefits for minority groups. She’s on record as pro-choice while defending access to reproductive health care for all Oregonians.

How could we forget Cover Oregon. As Speaker, Kotek lead her caucus to pass SB 99 in 2011. This was the bill that enabled the failed Cover Oregon website and in 2015 she was forced to help sponsor its repeal. The extreme failure made national news and cost the state more than $300 million. Kotek and leadership tried to blame the companies hired to build the website, but the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform investigation concluded that it was the politicians playing politics who were to blame.

Before New York tried to limit the size of soft drinks, Kotek tried limiting the size of drinks with high-calories. If you were disabled or needed liquid nutrients, containers would be limited to 12 ounces. That may not have been her intent. Perhaps it was aimed at sports drinks or teenage diets, but it didn’t go over well in 2011 when Kotek sponsored HB 3222 prohibiting sale of single servings of high-calorie beverages in prepackaged containers to not more than 12 ounces.

Speaker Kotek made sure HB 3057 passed using her majority to further Governor Brown’s mandates. The bill authorizes Oregon Health Authority to disclose individually identifiable information related to COVID-19 for medical reasons, but also may contract for purposes of responding to COVID-19 recovery efforts, provide what treatment and individual has had, and report services that were necessary for response and recovery efforts.

On August 19, Kotek tweeted support requiring health workers and school staff get vaccinated. “I support this decision. We need to keep our kids in school and support hospital systems throughout the state that are on the verge of collapse due to the Delta variant.” Hospitalization only exceeded last November by 20 or fewer for five days for the entire state and is now declining.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-09-07 10:53:18Last Update: 2021-09-08 14:59:29



Doing Business in Oregon? Let’s See What Kotek Has to Say
Several bills affect the operation and bottom line of businesses

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

As Speaker of the House, Tina Kotek carries a lot of power deciding which bills will be heard seriously directing her caucus to vote for, which will receive a courtesy hearing in a quid pro quo move, and which get trampled on the cutting floor. The 2021 Session summarized her philosophy of taxation: With record revenues in the coffers, she led her Democrat allies to raise taxes on the citizens of Oregon.

Kotek has promoted the review of all taxation bills saying that just as tax credits are reviewed periodically, so taxes should also be reviewed for sufficiency. This mindset has driven her agenda in legislative sessions. Her caucus pulled off the second big rip-off costing individual taxpayers $15 million reducing the kicker by passing SB 846 along party lines.

In a reverse strategy, in 2016 session she fostered an increase in tax revenue with the passage of the union’s legislation to raise Oregon's minimum wage, the strongest equal pay law in the nation, touted as the nation's first fair work week law. She claims success for working families, but Oregonlive reported they were not so pleased with the increased taxes withheld.

Several bills affect the operation and bottom line of businesses. One such bill Kotek helped to sponsor and directed her caucus to vote in was the Producer Responsibility Program. SB 582 establishes a program for packaging, printing and writing paper and food serviceware, which requires producers to join a program plan for recycling materials creating a new industry under approval of DEQ.

On Facebook she says, “Businesses that repeatedly violate our air quality and environmental standards put our communities in danger. The DEQ should have the authority to deny permits based on multiple past violations so we can prevent avoidable catastrophes like the 2018 fire at NW Metals.” In 2021 Kotek sponsored HB 3372 blindsiding industries with a one-strike-and-you’re-out rule that would close the business if they had history of noncompliance with environmental quality.

Oregon is rich in minerals and the only producer of emery in the U.S. The Mined Land Regulation and Reclamation program is supported by fees paid by natural resource extraction permittees. In an unprecedented move Kotek sponsored HB 4302 in special session to raise the fees on permits for mineral exploration, mining operations, exclusion certificates, gas and oil drilling and exploration and geothermal well drilling operation. It also limits the number and distribution of onshore exploration sites and oil, gas and geothermal wells, limiting new developers from exploring more efficient and cost saving electricity.

The power displayed in the 2021 session was Kotek’s ability to lock in an alternative to cap-and-trade helping to sponsor and pass HB 2021. This bill requires retail electricity providers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity sold to Oregon consumers to 80% below baseline emissions levels by 2030, 90% below baseline emissions levels by 2035 and 100% below baseline emissions levels by 2040. Electric companies are required to develop clean energy plans for meeting clean energy targets, as if zero emissions were even possible or healthy for plant life.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-09-04 13:09:51Last Update: 2021-09-04 09:27:36



Tina Kotek and Transportation
Debate over the Columbia River Crossing plagued the state

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

Tina Kotek earned her Masters degree in International Studies at the University of Washington, which made her a natural as Speaker of the House of Representatives to cochair the Oregon-China Sister State Committee, having the purpose to host and entertain delegations visiting from and to the provinces in China, and to promote exports to China and Chinese investments within Oregon. The Oregon China Sister State Relations Council president is Lan Jin. Lan is the principal of a business consultant company called Octaxias. Although the company boasts of helping thousands of business owners access the Chinese markets, only high-profile names are mentioned on its website. The company’s “Latest News” page includes Speaker Kotek pictured with Lan after arranging her trip to China in 2014.

Almost as soon as Kotek was selected Speaker, debate over the Columbia River Cross plagued the state. She was the legislative lead on the project accused of stonewalling the public from receiving honest answers when figures did not add up. She defended not listening to public comments over the controversy of the $10 billion price tag attached to a state-of-the-art bridge design. Her excuse was that the public views were wrong, but as time revealed, they were right. She states she wanted to make the project the best it could be, but when Washington State wouldn’t share in funding, Kotek supported a plan called the “Oregon Only CRC” plan.

In Kotek’s biography on the legislature website, she claims she led the way to a historic investment in the state's transportation infrastructure package -- HB 3055 -- a 10-year $5.3 billion bill that will increase gas taxes to 40 cents by 2024. However, she voted no on the bill explaining, “it does not include a requirement for ODOT to “right-size” projects...of congestion management. ...does not include community workforce or project labor requirements...” She does claim, “this bill adopts many provisions from my efforts,” even though she voted no.

Her biography goes on to say she made the first-ever statewide investment in public transit, and created a fund to help individuals purchase zero-emission vehicles. It is blatantly clear her shepherding of the 2017 Transportation Package has paved the way for tolls, used as congestion pricing, as well as the vehicle mile tax among other things.

The whole idea of zero emissions has been designed around inducement. Promoting electric vehicles through tax credits for vehicles purchases and recharging sites. She directed her caucus to pass HB 2165 along party lines authorizing electric companies to recover costs from retail consumers for infrastructure to support transportation electrification, and increases manufacturer's suggested retail price for hydrogen fuel-powered light-duty zero-emission vehicles to qualify for standard and Charge Ahead zero-emission and electric vehicle rebates.

On party voting lines, Kotek moved her caucus to pass electric vehicle tax credits and requires State Parks and Recreation Department to allow for installation of public electric vehicle charging stations in HB 2290

Speaker Kotek’s agenda to push electricity leaves an uncertainty if electric companies will be able to guarantee enough energy to supply the state continuously.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-09-03 17:03:58Last Update: 2021-09-03 17:11:32



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.

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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