Oregon Governor Won’t Create Office of First Spouse Amid Controversy – Oregon

(The Center Square) – First Lady Aimee Kotek Wilson will not have an expanded role in Oregon Governor Tina Kotek’s administration.

Kotek made this known on Wednesday following reports that the governor was seeking to establish an office of the first spouse as part of her administration.

“After listening and considering the concerns of Oregonians who contacted my office, and following the advice of staff, I want to be clear on these things: There will be no office of the first spouse,” Kotek said in a press release issued by her office. “There will be no post of chief of staff to the first spouse. Other than those personnel assigned to assist the First Lady in her official duties, no state employees will report to or be under her supervision.”

The governor said Kotek Wilson will not have staff to report to her. However, she will continue to attend ceremonial events and have access to the governor’s offices at the Oregon State Library.

“Between now and as we learn more from OGEC, the First Lady will continue to accompany me and attend events representing the Governor’s Office, such as tribal visits and ceremonial events, and will listen to Oregonians on the issues that impact them most, especially in in the areas of mental health and addiction,” Kotek said in the release. “Your trust is important to me. I will continue to work hard to resolve the issues so that every Oregonian can get what they need.”

The controversy began after several members of the Kotek administration resigned, partly over disagreements over the First Lady’s role in the government, according to several news reports.

Multiple news sources report that former members of the administration were concerned that Kotek assigned state police duties to her wife even when the governor was not there.

In addition, Kotek Wilson, a trained social worker, was found to have been involved in policy discussions surrounding mental health care despite having no official role in administration; According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, Kotek Wilson has a mental illness and is a recovering alcoholic.

Kotek announced on March 25 that she was considering creating an office of the first spouse, three days after three of her staffers left office.

The next day, however, the Oregon Government Ethics Commission confirmed that Kotek had filed an ethics complaint against her. That complaint has yet to be made public, according to Oregon Capital Chronicle.

Kotek reportedly sent questions to the ethics committee last month about her ability to expand the First Lady’s role in government. However, the commission cannot answer these questions until the complaints it has received have been resolved, according to several reports.

Kotek also said she looked to the National Governors Association for guidance on the issue.