Tina Kotek

Office Seeking:  Governor for Oregon

General Election: November 8th, 2022

Provided Biography

Through my professional experience as an advocate for those in need and serving in the State House where I’ve proudly led as Speaker, I have carried the value of service instilled in me by my parents to get real results for Oregonians.

I moved to Oregon from the East Coast in 1987 and found a place where I could truly be myself. I fell in love with the beauty of the state and the openness of the people. I eventually finished my undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon, graduating without student debt because of a Pell grant, work study assistance, and affordable tuition.

I also came out as a lesbian in my early twenties and it was liberating. While it wasn’t always easy, each experience coming out to others strengthened my resilience. For me, coming out became a personal responsibility to undermine hatred and bigotry. But it was bigger than me as an individual, so while getting my graduate degree, I fought for and won domestic partnership rights for faculty and students at the University of Washington.

When I returned to Oregon after graduation, I took a job at the Oregon Food Bank. I was attracted to their mission to end hunger, not just feed people. And because I was raised as a person of faith with a belief in the inherent value of everyone, I knew I had found my calling as an advocate for others. I listened and learned and fought for ways to reduce food insecurity – like a strong minimum wage, housing assistance, and access to health insurance. I continued my advocacy for children when I joined Children First for Oregon as their policy director.

My experience working at nonprofits on behalf of Oregon’s most vulnerable led me to run for public office and serve in the Oregon Legislature. In my first term, I rewrote the state’s poverty program for low-income families while also playing a key role in making historic progress for the LGBTQ+ community by passing statewide protections and access to benefits.

In 2013, I was honored to be elected by my peers to be the Speaker of the House. In nearly a decade leading the Oregon House, I am proud of the progress we have made together. From expanding economic security for more families, combating climate change, and working hard to get us through an unprecedented pandemic, my time in the legislature has been dedicated to fighting for Oregonians.

Together, we have changed Oregon for the better.  But it will take real leadership to confront the challenges we now face — from the pandemic to the homelessness crisis to climate change.  I will be a leader who puts people first, who prioritizes justice and equity, who brings people together and inspires all of us to reach for a better future.There’s more to be done to build a future of opportunity and justice for every Oregonian. By working together we can reckon with the legacies of injustice and inequality to build a great future for our state.

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