In Short

Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek visits DC for National Governors Association conference

By: - February 8, 2023 1:24 pm

Gov. Tina Kotek speaks about her proposed budget during a press conference on Jan. 31, 2023. (Julia Shumway/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

Gov. Tina Kotek will be in Washington, D.C., through the weekend for a national conference and other meetings.

Kotek plans to attend the winter meeting of the National Governors Association, a bipartisan group that meets twice a year with federal officials and business, academic and philanthropic leaders to discuss solutions to problems facing their states. 

The meeting’s public agenda includes discussions on youth mental health, preparing students for academic and career success and encouraging innovative technology, all issues Kotek highlighted as focuses for her administration. 

This is Kotek’s first trip out of state since she took office almost a month ago. 

In many states, the lieutenant governor or secretary of state becomes acting governor whenever the governor leaves the state. Former Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin gained national attention in 2021 for issuing executive orders banning mask and vaccination mandates and trying to order the Idaho National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border when Gov. Brad Little was out of state. 

Oregon doesn’t have a lieutenant governor – Secretary of State Shemia Fagan would be next in line for the governorship if Kotek were to resign or die. Fagan, who intended to be out of the office this week for knee surgery after a basketball injury, didn’t gain any new power when Kotek left. Under Oregon law, the secretary of state only serves as acting governor if the governor expects to be temporarily disabled, such as while undergoing and recovering from a medical procedure.

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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.