Live Feed: Oregon Gov.-elect Tina Kotek, state legislators will be sworn in

Oregon Capital Chronicle reporters are in Salem where lawmakers are being sworn in, and will provide updates throughout the day

The Oregon State Capitol in Salem. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

House lawmakers will be on the floor at 9 a.m. and the Senate at 9:30 a.m. to swear in new members, adopt rules and elect their leaders. House Speaker Dan Rayfield, D-Corvallis, is expected to win re-election to the House’s top job, while Democrats in the Senate majority tapped Sen. Rob Wagner, D-Portland, as their next president. 

At 1 p.m., Kotek will take her oath and deliver an inaugural address to legislators, other elected officials and some guests in the House chamber. 

Access to the Capitol is limited because of an ongoing construction project that has closed much of the building. Members of the public won’t be able to go into the galleries in the House or Senate, but can watch a stream from hearing rooms on the first floor or online

Capital Chronicle reporters are at the Capitol and will provide updates on this feed throughout the day. 

3 weeks ago

A new leadership era starts in the Legislature

By: and - 4:02 pm
Wagner on opening day
Sen. Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, is the new president of the Oregon Senate. (Julia Shumway/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

Monday marked the start of a new era in the Oregon statehouse, as lawmakers elected a new Senate president and witnessed the inauguration of Gov. Tina Kotek.

In about five hours, lawmakers set the framework for the 2023 session with new leaders for both chambers to set the course for Oregon for years to come.

[Read more…]

3 weeks ago

Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek takes office with a promise to ‘make things better’

By: - 3:58 pm
Tina Kotek (center) was sworn in as Oregon governor at the state capitol building in Salem, on Mon., Jan. 9, 2022. (Dave Killen/The Oregonian, pool)

As she took office as governor Monday, Tina Kotek promised to wake up every day with a mission: to take on Oregon’s biggest challenges and make things better.

“It’s a simple idea – making things better – but as we all know, a difficult thing to achieve,” she told members of the Oregon House and Senate and other state officials in a joint legislative session on Monday afternoon.

[Read more…]

3 weeks ago

Kotek begins laying out priorities

By: - 2:13 pm

 

3 weeks ago

Gov. Tina Kotek takes Oath of Office

By: - 1:56 pm

3 weeks ago

Kotek prepares to be sworn in as Oregon governor

By: - 1:53 pm

Last updated: 1:53 pm

3 weeks ago

Wagner makes first speech as Senate president

By: - 11:15 am

Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, reflected on his childhood hikes around Oregon and walks around the National Mall in Washington, D.C., as he addressed the Senate in his first speech as president.

As a child carrying a small knapsack on hikes with his parents in 1970, he said he kept asking them, “Are we there yet?” Twenty years later, as he sought his master’s degree from George Washington University, Wagner said he would walk around the National Mall, thinking of Abraham Lincoln’s comments about striving to form a more perfect union and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s comments about the arc of the moral universe being long but bending toward justice. The same question – “Are we there yet?” – was still on his mind, Wagner said. 

Over the next several months, Wagner said, lawmakers will find themselves in agreement more often than not. But when they disagree, he urged his colleagues to give each other grace and  assume best intentions. 

“Let us lead with kindness and charity and goodwill,” he said. “Let us remember that it is an honor of a lifetime to serve the people of Oregon. Let us fight that trail with all the switchbacks to form a more perfect union, to bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice. Mom, Dad, we aren’t there yet. But we’re on our way.”

Last updated: 11:16 am

3 weeks ago

Sen. Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, is the new president of the Oregon Senate

By: - 11:00 am
Wagner on opening day
Sen. Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, is the new president of the Oregon Senate. (Julia Shumway/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

Sen. Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, is the new president of the Oregon Senate following a 17-12 party line vote. 

Wagner, who has worked in and around the Capitol for 20 years and served in the Senate since 2018, was the Democratic party’s pick to succeed outgoing Senate President Peter Courtney. In an earlier interview with the Capital Chronicle, Wagner said he plans to lead by listening.

Sen. Elizabeth Steiner, D-Beaverton, nominated Wagner, saying he will keep an open door to ideas from anyone. 

“When you talk to him, one of the things you hear often is that good ideas come from everywhere,” Steiner said. “Regardless of who you are, if you think you have a way to make this state better, he wants to hear from you.” 

Republicans nominated Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, who they also put forward in 2021. Sen. Dennis Linthicum, R-Klamath Falls, said Thatcher would bring experience, wisdom and character to the role. 

Senators also re-elected Sen. James Manning, D-Eugene, as the president pro tempore. In that role, he’ll preside over the Senate in Wagner’s absence.

3 weeks ago

Rayfield will highlight Democrats’ key priorities this afternoon

By: - 10:53 am

Speaker Dan Rayfield, D-Corvallis, plans to encourage lawmakers to work together and tackle issues like housing, homelessness and behavioral health in a speech planned for this afternoon during the joint session of the House and Senate.

“All too often we look back on a session and focus on the problems we faced,” Rayfield will say in his afternoon remarks, released in advance. “When we look back on this session, I want it to be remembered as the session we seized unprecedented opportunities and helped government deliver on its promises.”

3 weeks ago

Secretary of State made ‘designated survivor,’ will watch inauguration from undisclosed location

By: - 10:52 am

Gov. Kate Brown and Treasurer Tobias Read will be at the Capitol on Monday for the inauguration but Secretary of State Shemia Fagan will not be there, she announced in a release. She’s the “designated survivor” in the event something catastrophic were to happen at the Capitol and will view the inauguration of Tina Kotek as governor from an “undisclosed location,” the release said.

Fagan said she is “excited to celebrate another trailblazer today, Oregon’s new Governor, Tina Kotek. … I have no doubt that she is eager to cut through the ceremony and get back to work solving Oregon’s biggest challenges. I celebrate her today, not only because of her barrier-breaking accession to Oregon’s highest office, but because of how hard she will work for all of Oregon for the next four years.

“Lastly, I want to congratulate all the new lawmakers in Salem today. It was not that long ago that I joined my family on the floor of the Oregon House and took my oath of office. I hope all the new and returning lawmakers take a moment to soak up the excitement and celebration today. Oregon is lucky to have you.”

3 weeks ago

Rayfield nominated as speaker of the House

By: - 10:33 am

House members went about the task of nominating and selecting a speaker – a ceremonial procedure given that Rayfield already had a lock on the job with the Democratic majority. 

Rep. Rob Nosse, D-Portland, nominated Rayfield in a floor speech, adding jokingly that when he was freshman lawmaker, he was a bit jealous of Rayfield who he considered to be slightly better looking and smarter.

Nosse gave a snapshot of Rayfield’s life, including his firing from a job at Disneyland. 

“Failure is often pretty informative in my opinion,” Nosse said. “People that have struggled and failed make better leaders.”

Republicans made a symbolic pitch for the House to consider Rep. Vikki Breese-Iverson, R-Prineville. 

The House members voted along party lines, 35-25 to pick Rayfield over Breese-Iverson. After that vote, Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner, moved for the House to cast a unanimous ballot for Rayfield for speaker, which he received by voice vote.

In his acceptance speech, Rayfield said the House needs to address big challenges, including homelessness, housing, behavioral health and public safety.

The House needs to make sure it “delivers for the people and we give Oregonians what they need to thrive,” Rayfield said.

Rayfield said the 21 new representatives taking office this session add fresh perspectives on the issues but he said they will require some adjustments. New lawmakers have just over a third of the seats in the 60-member House.

“There’s a genuine compassion in our state,” Rayfield said, urging lawmakers to remember all Oregonians.

“Let that spirit and compassion guide us over the next six months.”

Rayfield followed tradition by giving a gift to each member of the House: a personalized hard hat.

He said it was a reminder of the construction zone in the Capitol – and the work that lies ahead for lawmakers.

“We are here to work together,” Rayfield said.

Last updated: 11:31 am

3 weeks ago

16 new senators take oath

By: - 10:30 am
16 Oregon senators (six new; 10 returning) just took their oaths of office
Sixteen Oregon senators (six new; 10 returning) take their oaths of office Jan. 9, 2023. (Julia Shumway/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

Six new senators took their seats in the Oregon Senate on Monday morning. 

Democrats Wlnsvey Campos, Mark Meek and Aaron Woods and Republicans Daniel Bonham, Cedric Hayden and Suzanne Weber were sworn in alongside 10 returning senators. All but Woods have previously served in the state House. 

The 16 lawmakers who took their oaths Monday morning join 13 others who are at the midpoint of their four-year terms. 

The Senate still has one vacancy to fill because Republican Dallas Heard resigned at the start of the year. Several Republicans, including Rep. David Brock Smith, R-Port Orford, have indicated their interest in finishing the remaining two years of Heard’s term, and county commissioners in Coos, Curry and Douglas counties will meet soon to appoint his replacement.

Last updated: 10:31 am

3 weeks ago

Only 29 senators and senators-elect will be sworn in or continuing their terms

By: - 10:07 am

Last updated: 10:10 am

3 weeks ago

Covid-19 restrictions behind them

By: - 10:02 am

House members took the oath of office at the direction of Oregon Chief Justice Meagan Flynn. Afterwards, they applauded and shook hands with their colleagues and friends – a reminder that COVID-19-era restrictions are behind them.

Last updated: 10:02 am

3 weeks ago

‘A generational change is before us’

By: - 9:51 am
House lawmakers get a reminder that construction is ongoing at the Capital with orange construction hats on their desks. (Ben Botkin/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

Lawmakers arriving in the House milled around, greeted each other and posed for family photos before starting with orange construction hats on the desks as a reminder of the construction zone in the Capitol. 

Rep. Janelle Bynum, D-Clackamas, said the upbeat mood reflects a new era as lawmakers return to in-person legislative work after the pandemic. 

“This is the most enthusiasm I’ve seen,” Bynum, who is starting her fourth term, said in an interview with the Capital Chronicle. “There’s excitement and optimism and that’s what we need.”

There also was a sense of change – Gov. Kate Brown is exiting the stage and former House Speaker Tina Kotek is taking her place as the new governor, and Speaker Dan Rayfield, D-Corvallis, is taking the speaker’s gavel. On the Senate side, longtime Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, has retired, and Sen, Rob Wagner, D-Lake Oswego, is taking his place in the upper chamber.

“A generational change is before us,” Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner, said.

Last updated: 10:03 am

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Julia Shumway
Julia Shumway

Julia Shumway has reported on government and politics in Iowa and Nebraska, spent time at the Bend Bulletin and most recently was a legislative reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times in Phoenix. An award-winning journalist, Julia most recently reported on the tangled efforts to audit the presidential results in Arizona.

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Ben Botkin
Ben Botkin

Ben Botkin covers justice, health and social services issues for the Oregon Capital Chronicle. He has been a reporter since 2003, when he drove from his Midwest locale to Idaho for his first journalism job. He has written extensively about politics and state agencies in Idaho, Nevada and Oregon. Most recently, he covered health care and the Oregon Legislature for The Lund Report. Botkin has won multiple journalism awards for his investigative and enterprise reporting, including on education, state budgets and criminal justice.

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Alex Baumhardt
Alex Baumhardt

Alex Baumhardt has been a national radio producer focusing on education for American Public Media since 2017. She has reported from the Arctic to the Antarctic for national and international media, and from Minnesota and Oregon for The Washington Post. She previously worked in Iceland and Qatar and was a Fulbright scholar in Spain where she earned a master's degree in digital media. She's been a kayaking guide in Alaska, farmed on four continents and worked the night shift at several bakeries to support her reporting along the way.

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Lynne Terry
Lynne Terry

Lynne Terry has more than 30 years of journalism experience, including a recent stint as editor of The Lund Report, a highly regarded health news site. She reported on health and food safety in her 18 years at The Oregonian, was a senior producer at Oregon Public Broadcasting and Paris correspondent for National Public Radio for nine years. She has won state, regional and national awards, including a National Headliner Award for a long-term care facility story and a top award from the National Association of Health Care Journalists for an investigation into government failures to protect the public from repeated salmonella outbreaks. She loves to cook and entertain, speaks French and is learning Portuguese.

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