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Headshot of Oregon Governor-Elect Tina Kotek on a blue background.

Tina Kotek

Governor-Elect of Oregon

On November 8, 2022, Tina Kotek made history, becoming the first openly lesbian governor elected in American history.

Throughout Tina’s professional career as an advocate for those in need, she has carried the value of service instilled in her by her parents to get real results for Oregonians.

Tina’s grandparents came from Eastern Europe in the early part of the last century to find opportunity and a better life. Her parents were proud first-generation Americans. They believed in hard work, being informed citizens, and encouraging their children to follow their dreams.

Tina moved to Oregon from the East Coast in 1987, and fell in love with the beauty of the state and the openness of the people. She finished her undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon, graduating without student debt because of a Pell grant, work study assistance, and affordable tuition.

Tina came out as a lesbian in her early twenties. While it wasn’t always easy, each experience coming out to others strengthened her resilience. While getting her graduate degree, Tina fought for and won domestic partnership rights for faculty and students at the University of Washington.

Tina Kotek and her wife Aimee Wilson lean on a railing overlooking a river.

When Tina returned to Oregon after graduation, she took a job at Oregon Food Bank, attracted to their mission to end hunger, not just feed people. As a person of faith with a belief in the inherent value of everyone, she knew she had found her calling as an advocate for others. Tina continued her advocacy for children when she joined Children First for Oregon as their policy director.

Tina’s experience working at nonprofits on behalf of Oregon’s most vulnerable led her to run for public office and serve in the Oregon Legislature. In her first term, she rewrote the state’s poverty program for low-income families while also playing a key role in making historic progress for the LGBTQ+ community by passing statewide protections and access to benefits.

Tina Kotek delivers a speech at a rally during her 2022 campaign.

In 2013, Tina was honored to be elected by her peers to be the Speaker of the House — becoming the nation’s first openly lesbian House Speaker. In nearly a decade leading the Oregon House, she worked tirelessly to expand economic security for more families, combat climate change, and help Oregonians navigate an unprecedented pandemic. In 2022, she made history again, becoming the first openly lesbian governor elected in American history.

As Governor, Tina will be a leader who puts people first, who prioritizes justice and equity, who brings people together, and who inspires all of us to reach for a better future.