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Portland Tribune Endorses Tina Kotek in May Democratic Primary


On the Democratic side, the frontrunners are former Speaker Tina Kotek and Treasurer Tobias Read. Again: Experience matters. Both have served as legislators. Kotek also has been an activist for children and Read is now in statewide office as treasurer.

We do not discount the rich endorsements Read has received from former Govs. Barbara Roberts and John Kitzhaber. His supporters are admirably diverse, but Kotek’s endorsements are robust as well.

Here’s the difference: Kotek set the record for the longest-serving House speaker in Oregon history at nine years. And she’s ushered through major pieces of legislation, from pension reform, to paid family leave, to the Student Success Act.

To get the Student Success Act approved, Democrats had to jettison bills on safe storage of handguns and on closing the loopholes for childhood immunizations. Yet dropping those bills got enough Republicans on board for a wholesale increase in public school funding.

Compromise carried the day, and that’s to Kotek’s credit. Despite her reputation, she’s pragmatic at her core. Her approach to the job reminds us of another forceful House Speaker from Portland named Vera Katz, who went on to have a successful run as Portland Mayor.

Read’s accomplishments in the Legislature are tougher to pin down, other than this: He’s an exceedingly likeable guy and has been a prudent treasurer. He’s also a quiet introvert.

Several others with little or no political experience stepped up, too, but they lack the necessary background to be CEO for Oregon. We encourage smart, high-energy candidates like George Carrillo and Patrick Starnes to shoot for, say, the Legislature first. Then swing for the bleachers.

For Democrats looking for the best opportunity in November’s competitive three-way race for governor, we recommend Tina Kotek.

Read the entire article here.

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