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Tina Kotek

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Tina Kotek (born September 30, 1966) is an American politician and the governor-elect of Oregon. Kotek served as Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives from 2013 to 2022. She was the first openly lesbian person to serve as a speaker of a state house in the United States, as well as the longest-serving speaker in Oregon history.[1] Kotek won the 2022 Oregon gubernatorial election, defeating Republican Christine Drazan and Independent Betsy Johnson in a three way race.[2][3] Along with Maura Healey, she will be one of the first two openly lesbian governors in the United States.[4]

Tina Kotek
Tina Kotek (cropped).jpg
Governor-elect of Oregon
Assuming office
January 9, 2023
SucceedingKate Brown
67th Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives
In office
January 14, 2013 – January 16, 2022
Preceded by
Succeeded byPaul Holvey (acting)
Majority Leader of the Oregon House of Representatives
In office
June 30, 2011 – January 14, 2013
Serving with Kevin Cameron
Preceded byDave Hunt
Succeeded byVal Hoyle
Speaker pro tempore of the Oregon House of Representatives
In office
January 10, 2011 – June 30, 2011
Serving with Andy Olson
Preceded byArnie Roblan
Succeeded byPeter J. Buckley
Member of the Oregon House of Representatives
from the 44th district
In office
January 8, 2007 – January 21, 2022
Preceded byGary Hansen
Succeeded byTravis Nelson
Personal details
Born (1966-09-30) September 30, 1966 (age 56)
York, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseAimee Wilson
WebsiteCampaign website

Early life and education

Tina Kotek was born on September 30, 1966 in York, Pennsylvania to Jerry Albert Kotek (1928–2011)[5] and Florence (née Matich) (1929–2007).[6][7][8] Her father was of Czech ancestry and her mother's parents were Slovenes.[9] Her grandfather František Kotek (1897–1974)[10] was a baker from Týnec nad Labem.[11][12][13]

Kotek attended Dallastown Area High School, where she graduated second in her class.[14] She attended Georgetown University, but left without graduating.[14] After departing Georgetown, she worked in commercial diving and as a travel agent.[14]

She moved to Oregon in 1987, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in religious studies from the University of Oregon in 1990.[15][16][17][18] She then went on to graduate study at the University of Washington, earning a master's degree in international studies and comparative religion.[14]


Before being elected to office, Kotek worked as the policy director of Children First for Oregon, prior to which she was a public policy advocate for the Oregon Food Bank.[19] She co-chaired the Human Services Coalition of Oregon during the 2002 budget crisis and served as the co-chair of the Governor's Medicaid Advisory Committee.

Oregon House of Representatives


In 2004, Kotek lost the Democratic primary for Oregon House District 43. In 2006, she won a three-way Democratic primary for Oregon House District 44, which includes North and Northeast Portland. In the general election, she defeated her Republican opponent with nearly 80 percent of the vote.

Kotek ran unopposed for re-election in 2008.[20] In 2010, she faced a Democratic primary challenge but won over 85% of the vote.[21] Kotek won the 2010 general election with almost 81% of the vote.[22] She was re-elected every two years, through the 2020 election.[23]

Pre-speakership House career

Kotek rose in the House leadership, serving as the Democratic whip in the 2009 legislative session. In the 2011 session, she was co-speaker pro tempore, a position shared with Republican Andy Olson due to the House's 30–30 partisan split.

In June 2011, Kotek was chosen by the House Democratic Caucus as their leader (succeeding Dave Hunt).[24]


After Democrats won a House majority in the 2012 election, they nominated Kotek for speaker of the House for the 2013 legislative session.[25] Kotek was elected to the position, becoming the first out lesbian to serve as a legislative speaker in the United States.[26][27] She was re-elected for the two-year sessions in 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2021.[28][29] She is the longest-serving speaker of the House in Oregon history.[30]

In December 2016, Kotek became the chair of the board of directors of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.[31] She left the post in July 2019.[32]

In 2020, Republicans worked with Democrats to redraw the districts following the 2020 United States census with equal representation from the Democratic and Republican parties as a compromise to have the Republicans stop the use of quorum rule restrictions to stall legislation.[33][34] Kotek later reversed her decision and restored the Democratic majority on the committee redrawing the congressional districts.[35][36]

In January 2022, she announced her resignation from the speakership and from her House seat to focus on her campaign.[37] She was succeeded as speaker by Dan Rayfield,[38] and in the 44th House District seat by Travis Nelson.[39]

Governor of Oregon

2022 gubernatorial campaign

On September 1, 2021, Kotek declared her candidacy for Governor in the 2022 Oregon gubernatorial election.[40] Her main opponent in the Democratic primary was Tobias Read, the state treasurer. She won the Democratic primary on May 17, 2022.[41]

In the general election for governor, Kotek's main opponents were Republican candidate and former state representative Christine Drazan and unaffiliated candidate and former state senator Betsy Johnson.[42] The election was on November 8, 2022. As of November 10, local news sources include The Oregonian, Willamette Week, and Oregon Public Broadcasting declared Kotek the likely winner of the race with 73% of ballots counted.[43][44]


Kotek is expected to be sworn in on January 9, 2023.[45]

Personal life

Kotek and her wife, Aimee Kotek Wilson,[46][47][48] have lived in the Kenton neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, since 2005.[14] Kotek was one of the only openly LGBT members of the Oregon Legislative Assembly, and the first lesbian speaker of a state house.[49] Kotek considers herself a lapsed Catholic and attends an Episcopal church.[14]

Electoral history

Governor of Oregon

Oregon Gubernatorial Democratic Primary Election, 2022[50]
Democratic Tina Kotek 275,301 57.6%
DemocraticTobias Read156,01732.6%
DemocraticPatrick Starnes10,5242.2%
DemocraticGeorge Carrillo9,3651.9%
DemocraticMichael Trimble5,0001.0%
DemocraticJohn Sweeney4,1930.9%
DemocraticJulian Bell3,9260.8%
DemocraticDave Stauffer2,3020.5%
DemocraticWilson Bright2,3160.5%
DemocraticIfeanyichukwu Diru1,7800.4%
DemocraticKeisha Marchant1,7550.4%
DemocraticGenevieve Wilson1,5880.3%
DemocraticMichael Cross1,3420.3%
DemocraticDavid Beem1,3080.3%
DemocraticPeter Hall9820.2%
Total votes491,445 100%
Oregon Gubernatorial Election, 2022[51]
DemocraticTina Kotek 910,822 47.1% -3.05%
RepublicanChristine Drazan842,74943.5%-0.14%
IndependentBetsy Johnson167,1068.6%N/A
ConstitutionDonice Noelle Smith7,9150.4%-0.73%
LibertarianR. Leon Noble6,7650.3%-1.20%
Total votes1,935,357 100%
Democratic hold

See also


  1. ^ Monahan, Rachel; Jaquiss, Nigel (October 20, 2021). "Tina Kotek, the Longest-Serving House Speaker in Oregon History, Makes Her Case for the State's Top Job". Willamette Week.
  2. ^ "Oregon Governor Election Results". The New York Times. November 8, 2022. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 10, 2022.
  3. ^ "Tackling homelessness top goal for Oregon Democrat Kotek". AP NEWS. November 10, 2022. Retrieved November 11, 2022.
  4. ^ Epstein, Reid J. (November 11, 2022). "Tina Kotek, a Progressive, Will Be Oregon's Next Governor". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 11, 2022.
  5. ^ "Statement of Organization for Candidate Committee". Oregon Secretary of State. Archived from the original on October 18, 2022.
  6. ^ "Obituary for Jerry A. Kotek". The York Dispatch. York, Pennsylvania. November 2, 2011. p. 24. Retrieved October 1, 2022. Jerry is survived by... a daughter Tina Kotek and her partner Aimee Wilson of Portland Ore
  7. ^ "Jerry A. Kotek's Obituary (2011) York Daily Record". Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  8. ^ "Florence C. Kotek's Obituary (2007) York Daily Record". Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  9. ^ "1930 US Census for Little Ferry, Bergen, New Jersey". FamilySearch. Retrieved October 1, 2022.
  10. ^ "United States Social Security Death Index". FamilySearch. 1974.
  11. ^ "The Record from Hackensack, New Jersey on March 19, 1974 · 45". Retrieved November 9, 2022 – via
  12. ^ "New York, County Naturalization Records, 1791-1980". FamilySearch. 1924.
  13. ^ "Státní oblastní archiv v Praze". Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  14. ^ a b c d e f "Tina Kotek Is Accomplished—and Struggles to Gain Traction With Some Democrats. Why?". Willamette Week. Retrieved September 2, 2022.
  15. ^ "Tina Kotek - Ballotpedia". Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  16. ^ "The Voter's Self-Defense Guide, Tina Kotek's Biography". Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  17. ^ "UO Alumni, Media Mentions, 3/31/2022". Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  18. ^ "Oregon Voter's Guide, May 2022, Tina Kotek". Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  19. ^ "Emily's List, Tina Kotek". Retrieved September 2, 2022.
  20. ^ "Kroger wins (another) attorney general nomination". The Oregonian. June 19, 2008. Retrieved June 21, 2008.
  21. ^ "Multnomah County Elections: 2010 primary results".
  22. ^ "Oregon Secretary of State: 2010 general election results".
  23. ^ "Tina Kotek". Ballotpedia. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  24. ^ "Tina Kotek replaces Dave Hunt as Oregon House Democratic leader". The Oregonian. June 30, 2011. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  25. ^ "Rep. Kotek is Democrats' nominee for Oregon House speaker". Statesman Journal. November 15, 2012.[permanent dead link]
  26. ^ "Ore. House to elect first lesbian speaker". United Press International. November 19, 2012. Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  27. ^ "Tina Kotek, the Longest-Serving House Speaker in Oregon History, Makes Her Case for the State's Top Job". October 20, 2021. Retrieved September 1, 2022. Willamette Week
  28. ^ "Oregon Legislature Convenes, Prepares For Session". Oregon Public Broadcasting. January 12, 2015. Archived from the original on February 15, 2015. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
  29. ^ "Tina Kotek Re-Elected Oregon House Speaker, Focuses on Equality in Opening Remarks to the 79th Legislative Assembly" (PDF) (Press release). January 9, 2017.
  30. ^ "Kotek: 'I believe in the things we have done' in record tenure". Portland Tribune. Retrieved September 2, 2022.
  31. ^ "DLCC Announces New Board Leadership, Members". Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (Press release). December 7, 2016. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  32. ^ "New York Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins Elected to Chair of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee". Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (Press release). July 17, 2019.
  33. ^ "Redistricting". Albany Democrat-Herald. April 16, 2021. p. A4. Archived from the original on May 21, 2022 – via
  34. ^ VanderHart, Dirk (April 16, 2021). "It's a gamble': Lawmakers reach deal to end delay tactics". Statesman Journal. p. A1. Archived from the original on May 21, 2022 – via
  35. ^ Jaquiss, Nigel (March 30, 2022). "Tina Kotek Is Accomplished—and Struggles to Gain Traction With Some Democrats. Why?". Willamette Week. Archived from the original on May 21, 2022.
  36. ^ "Oregon Supreme Court Dismisses Two Challenges to New Legislative Map". Willamette Week. November 22, 2021. Archived from the original on May 21, 2022.
  37. ^ VanderHart, Dirk (January 6, 2022). "Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek resigning to focus on governor's race". Oregon Public Broadcasting. Retrieved January 16, 2022.
  38. ^ "Oregon Democrats elect new Majority Leader and Speaker of the House nominee". KGW. January 16, 2022. Retrieved January 16, 2022.
  39. ^ "Travis Nelson gets nod for Kotek's former House seat". Oregon Capital Insider.
  40. ^ "Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek announces run for governor". KATU. September 1, 2021. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  41. ^ Westerman, Ashley (May 18, 2022). "Tina Kotek's win comes amid a wave of LGBTQ candidates running for office". NPR. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  42. ^ "In Normally Sleepy August, the Oregon Governor's Race Heats Up". Portland Monthly. August 3, 2022.
  43. ^ "Democrat Tina Kotek will be Oregon's next governor". Oregon Public Broadcasting. Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  44. ^ Borrud, Hillary (November 9, 2022). "Tina Kotek wins Oregon governor's race, fending off strongest Republican bid in a decade". The Oregonian. Retrieved November 10, 2022.
  45. ^ "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility for Tina Kotek, Oregon's Next Governor". Willamette Week. Retrieved December 7, 2022.
  46. ^ "Meet Oregon's Tina Kotek, who hopes to be America's first lesbian governor". NBC News. May 30, 2022.
  47. ^ "Tina Kotek wins Democratic primary for Oregon governor". The Oregonian. May 17, 2022.
  48. ^ "Lesbian Tina Kotek Out to Make History in Oregon Governor's Race". The Advocate. January 12, 2022.
  49. ^ Beck, Byron; Stern, Henry (April 18, 2007). "Basic Rights Oregon and Rep. Tina Kotek". Willamette Week. Archived from the original on July 15, 2015. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  50. ^ "May 17, 2022, Primary Election Abstract of Votes" (PDF). Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved July 12, 2022.
  51. ^ "2022 General Election Unofficial Results". Oregon Secretary of State.

External links

Oregon House of Representatives
Preceded by Speaker pro tempore of the Oregon House of Representatives
Served alongside: Andy Olson
Succeeded by
Preceded by Majority Leader of the Oregon House of Representatives
Served alongside: Kevin Cameron
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of Oregon
Taking office 2023
Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of Oregon
Most recent

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