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Opinion: Kotek got things done in the legislature

A former lawmaker cites the gubernatorial candidate’s big wins as a legislator and as House speaker.

You’ve probably seen Tina Kotek pop up on advertisements on TV or online. She’s the former Speaker of the House who is running for Oregon governor.

I’ve known Tina for 20 years. We met when she was first working for the Oregon Food Bank and I can tell you firsthand, she’s one of the most determined and effective people I know, a once-in-a-generation leader who is ready to meet the moment.

The housing crisis? Tina has been sounding alarm bells for years about the lack of affordable housing, pushing lawmakers to make it easier to buy a house, pay the rent, or get off the streets and into shelter.

The Supreme Court’s apparent plan to tear down Roe v. Wade? Tina anticipated this and led the passage of the nation’s strongest reproductive health bill, ensuring abortion access in Oregon no matter what happens at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The rise of gun violence on our streets? Tina passed critical legislation to stop dangerous people from getting access to firearms. And her last bill as a legislator will help the hardest hit communities as they work to tackle the current crisis.

Tina and I spent over a decade working together in the Legislature before I ended my public service in 2013. Much of my focus as an elected official was on protecting the environment and addressing climate change.

Let’s be real: climate change isn’t some far off problem that our kids and grandkids will have to deal with. We’re experiencing the effects of a changing climate right now, here in Oregon. Record breaking heat that took dozens of lives last summer. Historic wildfires that raze whole communities. Long-term drought that impacts urban and rural communities alike.

It’s only spring and already 11 Oregon counties are experiencing a drought emergency, forcing farmers and families into dire need for water for crops and livestock.

When it comes to protecting clean air and clean water and taking bold action to address the climate crisis, we all saw Tina’s fierce determination shine through. In the face of climate deniers in Salem, pressure from well-heeled lobbyists and outcries from major polluters seeking to protect their profits, Tina got lawmakers to pass some of the country’s smartest climate policies.

Under Tina’s leadership, lawmakers banned the use of dirty-coal-fired power as a source of electricity. We supported the development of clean fuels to reduce pollution from cars and trucks and put Oregon on a path to have 100% clean electricity by 2040. We provided money for and set requirements to retrofit older diesel engines to reduce toxic emissions that impact so many communities.

That’s why the Oregon League of Conservation voters, leading progressive organizations and community leaders around the state have endorsed Tina Kotek for governor.

Tina isn’t afraid to tackle tough challenges. No problem is too big, no hill too high to climb. And these days Oregon has plenty of challenges. We need a governor who knows how to solve big problems. Someone who won’t sit on the sidelines or be satisfied by baby steps and half measures.

It’s time to get Oregon back on track. And that means having Tina Kotek in the governor’s office to get the job done.

Jackie Dingfelder represented Portland in the Oregon Legislature from 2001 through 2013 and chaired both the House and Senate Environment committees.

Read the article here.

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