field is so large partly because Gov. Kate Brown is prevented from running again due to term limits. Brown, a Democrat, is the first out bisexual governor in the U.S.
Kotek, 55, has a long history of activism, and it’s tied closely to her identity. “My coming-out as a lesbian was also my coming-out as an advocate and somebody who wanted to try to change the world,” she says.She dates her coming-out to the late 1980s-early 1990s.
She grew up on the East Coast and moved to Oregon in 1987, finding the state to be a place where “I really could be completely me.” She finished her undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon, then went to graduate school at the University of Washington, where she fought for and won domestic-partner benefits for faculty and students.Returning to Oregon, she became policy advocate at the Oregon Food Bank in Portland, then worked as policy director for Children First for Oregon. “My goal has always been to make things better for people,” she says.She was elected to the state House in 2006, representing a Portland district.