Tina Kotek announces departure as state House Speaker to focus on governor’s race

Oregon

Oregon Speaker of the House Tina Kotek, January 21, 2021 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Tina Kotek has announced she’s stepping down from the Oregon State Legislature and her role as House Speaker later this month to focus on her run for governor.

Kotek, who has served as the House Speaker since 2013, said on Thursday her final day in office will be Friday, Jan. 21.

The Democrat, who represents House District 44, which includes North and Northeast Portland, was the first openly lesbian speaker of any statehouse in the U.S. and was also the longest-serving House Speaker in Oregon, according to a press release announcing her resignation.

“As for my nine years as Speaker, I am proud of the historic accomplishments the legislature has delivered for Oregonians, and I leave the role knowing that our efforts will benefit Oregonians now and well into the future,” Kotek said in a statement. “Having achieved these victories as Speaker, I am shifting my attention to ensure that they are implemented in ways that improve the lives of people in every corner of Oregon.”

Kotek announced her candidacy for Oregon’s next governor in early September. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, also a Democrat, is not running again due to term limits.

Also on Thursday, the Oregon Secretary of State’s office announced Democrat gubernatorial hopeful Nick Kristof was ineligible to run for governor.

Meanwhile, Oregon state Sen. Betsy Johnson, who was a member of the Democratic caucus for years, announced her run as an independent candidate for governor in October; by December, Johnson announced she was stepping down from her Senate seat to focus on her campaign.

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