Tina was the first openly lesbian speaker of any state house in the nation
Tina credits her parents’ values and work ethic as keys to her success in life. Growing up in Pennsylvania, Tina’s parents worked hard and pinched pennies so she and her brother and sister had what they needed. It was a stable, middle-class childhood: Quality public schools prepared Tina for success, and she graduated from the University of Oregon and ready for a bright future.
Her parents taught Tina that she could do anything she wanted. They encouraged her to get her master’s degree and they supported her ambitions. In 1990, when she came out to her family as gay, they stuck with her and assured her she would always be the daughter and sister they loved.
Along the way, Tina saw just how rare her experience was. Not every child grows up in a safe, supportive home. Not every school has the resources to prepare its students for success. Not every family has what they need to make ends meet. And not every LGBTQ youth has a family who will embrace them with open arms.
Beginning with her work to win domestic partnership benefits for faculty and students at the University of Washington in the mid-1990s, Tina has worked hard to change the world and to empower people to be part of that change.
Tina began her public service career as a policy advocate for Oregon Food Bank, working to eliminate hunger for every Oregonian. She went on to serve as the policy director for Children First for Oregon before being elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 2006.
In her first term in the House, Tina championed a progressive redesign of the state’s welfare program, led the fight to establish statewide nutrition standards for food sold in schools, and helped to pass landmark legislation that ended discrimination based on sexual orientation and created domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.
In 2013, Tina became the first openly lesbian speaker of any state house in the nation. As Speaker, Tina has led the charge for positive change in Oregon.
In the 2015 legislative session, Tina and her fellow Democrats put their values of opportunity, fairness and hard work into progressive action. With Tina’s leadership, Oregon led the way on giving everyone a fair shot at success, passing earned sick leave, strengthening retirement security and banning racial profiling. She worked to successfully strengthen and expand child care options for working parents and fought to pass Oregon’s landmark Clean Fuels legislation.
Today, Tina and her wife, Aimee, live in the Kenton neighborhood of North Portland with their Yorkie, Rudy.