Tina Kotek sworn in as governor, looks to unite Oregonians
SALEM Ore. (KPTV) - Standing under a mural depicting the creation of Oregon’s first provisional government 180 years ago, Tina Kotek was sworn in Monday during a joint session of a legislature as Oregon’s 39th governor and first openly lesbian governor.
Kotek is moving into the governor’s mansion at a time when Oregon is deeply divided. Rural communities are growing weary of urban centers and vice versa. The new governor used her inaugural speech to address the political divide in the state. Throughout her tenure, she’s promised to bridge that divide, and her first day at work will be jam-packed.
“For me, this job will be waking up every day, with a mission,” Kotek said. “My mission, simply put, is to deliver results for Oregonians.”
During her speech, Kotek said she will continue on her listening tour across the state after her first stop in Yamhill County. She promised to visit every county in Oregon by the end of her first year in office, an idea she got from former Republican governor, Victor Atiyeh she calls an inspiration for her new role.
“We can only deliver results to our complex problems by listening, digging into details, forming solutions, and advocating for better results at every level of government,” Kotek said.
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The new governor is also promising to hit the ground running on her first day. She said she will sign an executive order that will make it a goal for the state to build 36,000 new homes per year. Kotek will also declare a state of emergency for the houseless crisis.
“Our state’s response must meet the emergency of the humanitarian crisis we are facing,” Kotek said.
Looking forward to the regular legislative session, the governor said she will propose an investment package of $130 million to get 1,200 houseless Oregonians off the streets within a year.
“Together we can act with the urgency people across our state are demanding,” Kotek said.
When it comes to how the public interacts with state agencies, Kotek acknowledged the pressure the pandemic placed on the bureaucracy. So she is ordering all government agencies to prioritize costumer service.
The new governor closed her speech by saying this to-do list will need all Oregonians to come together to accomplish.
“Today I ask all my fellow Oregonians to believe in our state and its future. We need you. The true transformation will require each and one of us to be engaged and I hope you will hear my call for each of us to act as a force for a positive change,” Kotek said.
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