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Oregon House To Elect First Lesbian Speaker

SALEM, Ore., (UPI) — Oregon representatives are preparing to select the first open lesbian to lead the lower chamber when it convenes in January.

House Democrats have nominated Rep. Tina Kotek to wield the speaker’s gavel, overseeing a chamber with a new Democratic majority after two years of a 30-30 power-sharing division of labor with Republicans, reported Monday.

Her selection last week puts Kotek in line to become the first openly lesbian lawmaker to lead a chamber in any state, the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund said.

The Oregon House will formally vote on Kotek’s nomination Jan. 14.

Two other openly gay lawmakers in earned leadership roles in other state legislatures, said. Washington Democrats selected Sen. Ed Murray as that chamber’s president and Colorado Democrats chose openly gay Rep. Mark Ferrandino to lead the House. Both selections were first in the states’ politics, officials said.

“This wasn’t incremental progress. This was a breathtaking leap forward,” Chuck Wolfe, Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund president, said soon after Election Day.

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