kotek-209x300Tina Kotek (D-Portland) today became the first out lesbian to lead a state legislative chamber in U.S. history when she was sworn in as speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives.  Former Governor Barbara Roberts, Oregon’s only female governor, presided over the swearing-in ceremony.

During her first address to the House chamber, Kotek emphasized the importance of inclusion and dialogue: “As our state continues to tackle the task of economic recovery, our focus must be on the priorities that matter most to Oregonians. Oregonians are expecting us to listen well, listen to everyone, and find solutions through challenging, but productive discussions.”

Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund, said the milestone is an important one for the LGBT community. “This is a fantastic moment.  We need more out women leaders to consider public service and add their voices to the public debate.  Outstanding leaders like Speaker Kotek can inspire women and girls to believe they too can serve in elective office, represent their communities, lead their colleagues and live authentic lives,” said Wolfe.

As she took the oath of office, Kotek was joined on stage by her partner, Aimee Wilson.

Photo: Associated Press