Entries from: Tina Kotek

Out lesbian sworn in as Oregon House Speaker

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

Lesbian elected speaker of Oregon House

kotekOregon State Rep. Tina Kotek has been chosen by her peers to become the next speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, marking the first time in U.S. history an out lesbian will lead a state legislative chamber.

Kotek becomes the third out state lawmaker this year to win an election for a top state legislative job.  Colorado state representatives chose Mark Ferrandino, an openly gay Democrat, to be their speaker, and Washington State Sen. Ed Murray won an election to become the next Senate majority leader.

“We all look for people out there who look like us.  I have had e-mails and text messages from people who are very excited,” Kotek said.

Photo:  Associated Press