Oregon Newly Sworn-In Governor Proclaims A Homelessness Emergency

Oregon Newly Sworn-In Governor: Tina Kotek, Oregon’s new Democratic governor, stated at her inauguration on Monday that one of her top priorities will be to end homelessness. She also announced a number of initiatives aimed at accomplishing this goal.

On her first day in office, Kotek promised to sign an executive order expanding housing facilities and declaring a state of emergency for the homeless. She made the announcement at the state capitol in Salem during her inauguration speech. She also advocated for an immediate $130 million commitment to house homeless people.

Oregon Newly Sworn-In Governor Proclaims A Homelessness Emergency

Kotek stated, “Picture an Oregon where nobody needs to sleep in a tent on the street.” There is a new beginning today, and Oregon is worth fighting for. “Our state’s reaction must meet the severity of the humanitarian disaster we are confronting,” she continued.

Oregon was unable to solve its housing crisis or the related issues of homelessness, substance abuse, and mental health for a long time. Data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development show that the homeless population has increased by nearly 22% since 2020. According to federal data from the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it also has the highest rate of drug addiction in any state and the worst access to mental health care.

After the state’s closest gubernatorial race in a decade, in which Republicans struggled to end the Democrats’ decade-long hold on the state, Kotek promised to unite the state. She plans to visit all 97 counties in Oregon during her first year in office. As part of her “personal pledge,” she promised to “strengthen relationships across the state” because “governing is about serving Oregonians – all Oregonians.”

Oregon Newly Sworn-In Governor

In a letter, the Republican caucus of the Oregon House of Representatives congratulated Kotek and expressed hope that the governor’s office and the legislature “can coexist for the benefit of all Oregonians.”

It is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans places no value on the citizens who elected us, according to the letter, which cited the difficult campaigns for both the Executive and Legislative branches as evidence.

Tina Kotek Plan For Homelessness

According to Kotek, her first executive order will require the construction of 36,000 new dwellings per year, an increase of 80% over the norm.

Her proposed emergency funding of $130 million aims to house homeless people within a year. Kotek urged lawmakers to act quickly and expressed hope that the session would result in a larger, more comprehensive housing and homelessness package in addition to the initial investment.

The bills come on the heels of a large spending package approved by Oregon lawmakers last year, which included $400 million to combat homelessness and housing.

Kotek will succeed term-limited Democrat Kate Brown, who was widely chastised for her tough stance during the recent coronavirus pandemic. Both are progressives and outspoken members of the LGBTQ community, and they collaborated closely during their terms as speaker and governor, respectively. However, as the governor’s race came to a close, Kotek attempted to distance herself from Brown and her low approval ratings by portraying Brown’s administration as weak on homelessness.

In the November three-way race for governor of Oregon, Kotek defeated Republican Christine Drazan, a fellow former state legislator, by a margin of only 4%. Kotek resigned as a state representative in 2022 after serving there since 2006. She was Oregon’s longest-serving speaker for nine years, solidifying her position as a powerful political figure in the state. Her ability to broker compromises and bully legislation through the Oregon House earned her a reputation.

The first statewide rent control statute in the United States was enacted during Kotek’s tenure as a speaker, thanks to the Democratic Party’s overwhelming majority. She has advocated for criminal justice reform and paid family leave in addition to her work on gun storage legislation.

Legislators were also sworn in on Monday. Despite maintaining control of both houses of the legislature in the November election, Democrats were unable to secure a simple majority due to losses in key districts. Kotek’s election makes her the first openly gay governor in the United States, following Massachusetts’ Maura Healey.

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