Sen. Bonham: Who’s running our state? (Kotek conundrum)

Who is running our state? The First Lady’s involvement raises some legitimate questions

By Oregon State Senator Daniel Bonham,

Articles have recently been released about the elevated involvement of First Lady Aimee Kotek Wilson ranging from high-profile stakeholder meetings, discussing the future of Measure 110, interviewing advisors and more.

Now, this is nothing new for a First Lady to participate in their spouse’s administration to a certain extent. What IS new and problematic is our governor’s lack of disclosure of her spouse’s level of involvement in her administration.

When Governor Kotek was asked months prior, she downplayed Aimee’s role in her office. Then, a public records request showed another story. This poses an ethical question as to why. Reporters are now asking if Aimee is subject to signing the ethics and conflicts forms that all Governor Kotek’s advisors do. Her level of involvement definitely calls for it.

I call on the Governor to explain to Oregonians why she initially downplayed her spouse’s role in her administration and if her spouse has signed and is adhering to the same ethical standards we all adhere by. Further, we deserve to know who she met with and what decisions came from those meetings. While Kotek is now backtracking on her new Office of the First Spouse, Oregonians still deserve answers.

Governor Kotek was recently found to be the country’s least popular governor. This past week, I spent marrying my beautiful bride in Mississippi, where that governor receives some reprieve as the second most disliked governor. After ours.

Policies matter. Equally important, transparency and public trust matters. I hope the Governor will answer our questions and allow this to serve as a reminder of who she (and we all) work for – the people of Oregon.