Beginning with her work to win domestic partnership benefits for faculty and students at the University of Washington in the mid-1990s, Tina Kotek has worked hard to change the world and to empower people to be part of that change.
Tina began her public service career as a policy advocate for the Oregon Food Bank, working to eliminate hunger for every Oregonian. She went on to serve as the policy director for Children First for Oregon before being elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 2006.
In her first term in the House, Tina championed a redesign of the state's welfare program, led the fight to establish statewide nutrition standards for food sold in schools, and helped pass landmark legislation that ended discrimination based on sexual orientation and created domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.
In 2013, Tina became the first openly lesbian speaker of any state house in the nation. As Speaker, Tina has led the charge for positive change here in Oregon. In the 2015 legislative session, Tina was a leader in the movement to give everyone a fair shot at success, championing the successful efforts to expand earned sick leave, strengthen retirement security and ban racial profiling. The 2016 session built upon those wins for working families with the passage of trailblazing legislation to raise Oregon's minimum wage.
In the 2017 legislative session, Tina led the way to an historic investment in the state's transportation infrastructure with a package that will support 16,000 jobs, relieve congestion, improve the safety of Oregon's bridges and roads, and make the first-ever statewide investment in public transit. She defended access to affordable health care for the thousands of people who rely on Medicaid and expanded reproductive health care for all Oregonians. She fought to preserve and increase affordable housing, advocated for a fairer rental market, and stood up for working families by supporting the strongest equal pay law in the nation and the nation's first fair work week law.
Most recently, she guided the Oregon Legislature to pass the first statewide laws in the country to combat rent gouging and to re-legalize “missing middle” housing in areas previously reserved for detached single family housing. She also expanded funding and access to the state’s Medicaid program, helped to create a paid family medical leave insurance program, and championed the Student Success Act to increase funding for the state’s preK-12 public education system by $1 billion per year.