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. Kotek won the 2022 Oregon gubernatorial election, defeating Republican Christine Drazan and Independent Betsy Johnson in a three way race. Along with Maura Healey, she will be one of the first two openly lesbian governors in the United States.
|Governor-elect of Oregon|
January 9, 2023
|67th Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives|
January 14, 2013 – January 16, 2022
|Succeeded by||Paul Holvey (acting)|
|Majority Leader of the Oregon House of Representatives|
June 30, 2011 – January 14, 2013
Serving with Kevin Cameron
|Preceded by||Dave Hunt|
|Succeeded by||Val Hoyle|
|Speaker pro tempore of the Oregon House of Representatives|
January 10, 2011 – June 30, 2011
Serving with Andy Olson
|Preceded by||Arnie Roblan|
|Succeeded by||Peter J. Buckley|
|Member of the Oregon House of Representatives|
from the 44th district
January 8, 2007 – January 21, 2022
|Preceded by||Gary Hansen|
|Succeeded by||Travis Nelson|
|Born||September 30, 1966|
York, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Early life and education
Tina Kotek was born on September 30, 1966 in York, Pennsylvania to Jerry Albert Kotek (1928–2011) and Florence (née Matich) (1929–2007). Her father was of Czech ancestry and her mother's parents were Slovenes. Her grandfather František Kotek (1897–1974) was a baker from Týnec nad Labem.
Kotek attended Dallastown Area High School, where she graduated second in her class. She attended Georgetown University, but left without graduating. After departing Georgetown, she worked in commercial diving and as a travel agent.
She moved to Oregon in 1987, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in religious studies from the University of Oregon in 1990. She then went on to graduate study at the University of Washington, earning a master's degree in international studies and comparative religion.
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. 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. In 2010, she faced a Democratic primary challenge but won over 85% of the vote. Kotek won the 2010 general election with almost 81% of the vote. She was re-elected every two years, through the 2020 election.
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.
After Democrats won a House majority in the 2012 election, they nominated Kotek for speaker of the House for the 2013 legislative session. Kotek was elected to the position, becoming the first out lesbian to serve as a legislative speaker in the United States. She was re-elected for the two-year sessions in 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2021. She is the longest-serving speaker of the House in Oregon history.
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. Kotek later reversed her decision and restored the Democratic majority on the committee redrawing the congressional districts.
In January 2022, she announced her resignation from the speakership and from her House seat to focus on her campaign. She was succeeded as speaker by Dan Rayfield, and in the 44th House District seat by Travis Nelson.
Governor of Oregon
2022 gubernatorial campaign
On September 1, 2021, Kotek declared her candidacy for Governor in the 2022 Oregon gubernatorial election. Her main opponent in the Democratic primary was Tobias Read, the state treasurer. She won the Democratic primary on May 17, 2022.
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. 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.
Kotek is expected to be sworn in on January 9, 2023.
Kotek and her wife, Aimee Kotek Wilson, have lived in the Kenton neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, since 2005. Kotek was one of the only openly LGBT members of the Oregon Legislative Assembly, and the first lesbian speaker of a state house. Kotek considers herself a lapsed Catholic and attends an Episcopal church.
Governor of Oregon
|Constitution||Donice Noelle Smith||7,915||0.4%||-0.73%|
|Libertarian||R. Leon Noble||6,765||0.3%||-1.20%|
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Jerry is survived by... a daughter Tina Kotek and her partner Aimee Wilson of Portland Ore
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