Rep. Tina Kotek to Become Nation’s First Openly Lesbian Speaker

Rep. Tina Kotek

Oregon House Democrats elected their new caucus leadership on November 15, choosing Rep. Tina Kotek (D-Portland) as their nominee for speaker of the house, and Rep. Val Hoyle (D-West Eugene) as house majority leader.

Kotek lives in the Kenton neighborhood of North Portland with her partner Aimee Wilson and their dogs Maya and Rudy. She will become the first openly lesbian lawmaker to lead a state legislative chamber in the U.S. The decision must be ratified formally in January.

“Now the real work begins,” said Kotek.  “Oregon continues to face many serious challenges, and the public is counting on us to tackle them head on. I’m looking forward to working with this strong team of leaders from across the state to deliver on our promises to Oregonians.”

Kotek also emphasized the importance of continuing the bipartisan collaboration that was the hallmark of recent sessions and already has reached out to her colleagues in House Republican leadership.

“It will take all of us, working together, to achieve results on Oregonians’ priorities,” said Kotek.

“The voters of Oregon have entrusted us with the majority because we are ready to get to work on the issues that matter,” said Hoyle.  “We have an ambitious agenda focused on reinvesting in schools, finding ways to put Oregonians to work, and standing up for this state’s middle class families. We ran on these priorities, now Oregon voters expect us to deliver on them.”

Other members of the new leadership team include Rep. Chris Garrett (D-Lake Oswego), speaker pro tempore nominee; Rep. Tobias Read (D- Beaverton), majority whip; Rep. Jules Bailey (D-Portland), deputy majority whip; Rep. Michael Dembrow (D-Portland), assistant majority leader; and Rep. Betty Komp (D-Woodburn), assistant majority leader.

House Democrats hold ex-officio leadership positions for the co-chair of the Joint Ways and Means Committee and the Revenue Committee chair.  Currently Reps. Peter Buckley (D-Ashland) and Phil Barnhart (D-Eugene) hold those respective positions and will serve as caucus leadership pending 2013 committee appointments.

Source: Oregon House Democrats

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