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Tina Kotek’s Chamber Of No Secrets

“We all look for people out there who look like us”

An Oregon woman will be the first openly lesbian lawmaker to lead a state legislative chamber in the U.S.

Democrats in the state House Thursday night chose Rep. Tina Kotek of Portland to be the next speaker. The decision must be formally ratified in January.

Kotek’s selection notches another milestone from an election that brought a series of victories to the gay community. Voters last week elected the first openly gay U.S. senator and the first bisexual member of Congress.

She will be the first gay woman to get the top job in a legislative chamber.

Kotek said she didn’t set out to break barriers but is honored to represent the gay community saying it’s important for the gay community to have role models in leadership positions.

“We all look for people out there who look like us.  I have had emails and text messages from people who are very excited. I think any time you have a ‘first’ it’s an important thing for the community.”

Gay leaders will also control the House or Senate in four other states: Washington, California, Colorado and Rhode Island. The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund says that’s more than ever before and up from two before the election.


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