Some openly LGBT people who have
held elected public office in Oregon

By George T. Nicola
Last updated March 29, 2020

If you see any inaccuracy here, or if you have additions to make, please notify us at Any indication of a person's LGBT identity will need to be verified by an authoritative source, usually on the public Internet.

By "openly" LGBT, I usually mean a publicly accessible or published indication by that person that he or she identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

Gail Shibley, Democrat, Portland

Identifies as lesbian. Appointed to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1991. Came out openly as lesbian, then was elected to retain that House seat in 1992 and 1994. So she was the first openly LGBT person elected to the Oregon Legislature. Beginning in 2013, Gail is the Chief of Staff for Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.

Gail Shibley

George Eighmey, Democrat, Portland

Identifies as a gay man. Appointed to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1993, elected in 1994. Was openly gay when appointed, then ran and won an election, so was first openly gay man elected in Oregon.

George Eighmey

Kate Brown, Democrat, Portland

Identifies as a bisexual woman. Elected to the Oregon House of Representatives, 1992, 1994. Elected to the Oregon Senate, 1996, 2000, 2004. Elected Oregon Secretary of State, (a statewide office) 2009, 2013. Was in the House when she came out openly as bisexual. As Oregon Secretary of State, Kate was first in line of succession for governor, the second highest ranking public official in Oregon. In February 2015, sitting Governor John Kitzhaber resigned from his position. Kate took the oath to assume the office on February 18, 2015. In the process, she was the first person to become governor of any U.S. state while openly LGBTQ. (

Oregon law required a special election in November 2016 for the two years remaining in Kitzhaber's unfinished term as governor. Kate wins the general election and in the process becomes the first openly LBGTQ person to be elected governor of any state. In November 2018, Kate is elected to her first full term as governor. (

Kate Brown

Hedy Rijken, Democrat, Newport

Identifies as a lesbian. Elected to the Oregon House of Representatives, 1988, 1990, 1992. Came out openly to the press after election but did not run for re-election after that. In 1994, the Oregonian reported "Rep. Hedy Rijken , D-Newport, said she has never hidden her sexual orientation but has felt no need to announce it." She is also Asian American.

Chuck Carpenter, Republican, Beaverton

Identifies as a gay man. Elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1994 and 1996. Always ran as openly gay.

Chuck Carpenter

Barbara Willer

Identifies as lesbian. Appointed Multnomah County Commissioner, April 1, 2010, to fill the position left vacant by Jeff Cogen's becoming Chair. She served until the end of that year. Was openly lesbian before appointment. Never elected. I think she did run for a commissioner position while openly lesbian, but did not win the election.

Barbara Willer

Sam Adams, Portland, OR

Identifies as a gay man. Elected as City of Portland Commissioner (city council member), 2004. Elected Mayor, City of Portland, 2008. Always ran as openly gay.

Sam Adams

Rives Kistler

Identifies as a gay man. Appointed Judge, Oregon Court of Appeals (a statewide office) 1999, Appointed Justice, Supreme Court (a statewide office), 2003. Elected Justice, Oregon Supreme Court, 2004, 2010. The fact that he is gay started getting press attention after his 2003 Supreme Court appointment, but he still won the contested election to retain the position the following year. Justice Kistler was reelected in 2010 and again in 2016. He retires from the Supreme Court at the end of 2018. He will work as a senior judge and may receive temporary assignments. (

Rives Kistler

Virginia Linder

Identifies as lesbian. Appointed Judge, Oregon Court of Appeals (a statewide office), in 1997, by Governor John Kitzhaber. Won election to retain that seat in 1998. Reelected in 2004. Elected Justice, Oregon Supreme Court (a statewide office), in 2006 and 2012. She was openly lesbian when appointed to or elected to each of these positions. Justice Linder retires at the end of 2015. She will continue to serve as a senior judge in Oregon trial and appellate courts for several years. (

Virginia Linder

Tina Kotek, Democrat, Portland

Identifies as lesbian. Elected to Oregon House of Representatives, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014. Always ran as openly lesbian. Selected by Democrats as House Speaker for the 2013 and 2015 sessions. She is the first lesbian in the country and the first LGBT person in Oregon to head a state legislative chamber. (From email verifications sent to GLAPN by Jared Mason-Gere in Tina’s office.)

Tina Kotek

Stu Rasmussen, Silverton, OR

Identifies as transgender. ("He is biologically male and still mainly identifies as a man, but has breast implants and dresses as a woman.") Elected Mayor, City of Silverton, 2008, 2012. Previous to 2008 he was elected mayor, but was not transgender at that time.

Stu Rasmussen

Robert Liberty

Identifies as a gay man. Elected as Metro Councilor, 2004, 2008. Ran as openly gay.

Robert Liberty

Dan Ryan

Identifies as a gay man. Elected to Portland School Board, 2004. Ran as openly gay.

Dan Ryan

Cynthia Wooten, Democrat, Eugene

Identifies as lesbian. Elected to Oregon House, 1992, 1994, 1996. Came out openly after elected. Did not run again.

Cynthia Wooten

Karl Rohde

Identifies as a gay man. Elected as Lake Oswego City Council member, 1996, 2000. He came out as openly gay before his second election. At a later date, he ran for Oregon Senate as a Republican but was not elected.

Karl Rhode

Lynn Nakamoto

Identifies as lesbian. Was out openly before serving in public office. Appointed Judge, Oregon Court of Appeals (a statewide office) in 2011. She was the first Asian Pacific American from Oregon to serve on any state or federal appellate court. She was elected to retain that position in 2012. In December 2015, Judge Nakamoto was appointed by Governor Kate Brown to replace Oregon Supreme Court Justice Virginia Linder who is retiring before the end of her term. Justice Nakamoto takes her seat on the Oregon Supreme Court (a statewide office) on January 4, 2016. She will be the only person of color and one of only two women on Oregon’s current highest court. She will also be the first Asian Pacific American and the first woman of color ever to serve on the Oregon Supreme Court. Justice Nakamoto is elected to retain her seat in the 2016 election. (,, and from my email correspondence with the Diversity & Inclusion Department of the Oregon State Bar)

Lynn Nakamoto

Beth Allen

Identifies as lesbian. Appointed Judge, Multnomah County Circuit Court, 2013. Beth was a Shepherd Scholar and a dedicated LGBT activist long before her appointment to the bench. She ran unopposed in the primary election on May 20, and was elected to retain the seat.

Beth Allen

Sidney Galton

Identifies as a gay man. Appointed Judge, Multnomah County Circuit Court, 1998. Elected Judge, Multnomah County Circuit Court, 1998, 2002. Ran for office as openly gay. Left office in late 2005.

Sidney Galton

David Gernant

Identifies as a gay man. Appointed to the bench in January 1993 by Gov. Barbara Roberts, he was the first openly gay man to serve as an Oregon judge.  As a longtime gay activist, he was publicly known as gay long before his appointment.  The Victory Fund recognized him as the 106th openly LGBT elected official in the United States at the time of his appointment.  (Janice Wilson, appointed in April 1991, was the first openly LGBT person to serve as a judge.)  Gernant was identified as openly gay in a front-page article in The Oregonian in May 1994, headlined "Gay Political Clout in Oregon," which featured information on seven openly gay/lesbian candidates in that spring's primary election.  He was elected to the Multnomah County District Court in 1994, and to the circuit court in 2000.  He retired in 2006.

David Gernant

Michael McShane

Identifies as a gay man. Elected Judge, Multnomah County Circuit Court, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012. He left that position in 2013 when he was appointed to the Federal District Court.

Michael McShane

Katherine Tennyson

Identifies as lesbian. Elected Judge, Multnomah County Circuit Court, 2002, and probably 2006, 2010, 2014. Openly lesbian information is from the Victory Fund.

Katherine Tennyson

Janice Wilson

Identifies as lesbian. Appointed Judge to an Oregon District Court, April 1991, by Governor Barbara Roberts. Janice was openly lesbian at time of appointment; her sexual orientation was discussed in the press.  She was elected to retain that position in the 1992 May primary, so she was the first openly LGBT person elected to office in Oregon. Appointed to the Multnomah County Circuit Court in 1994 and won the election to retain that seat the same year. She was reelected to that position in 2000 and 2006. She retired 2-1-2013.

Janice Wilson

Josephine "Jodie" H. Mooney

Identifies as a lesbian. Appointed Judge, Lane County Circuit Court, 2011. Elected to retain that position in 2012. She ran in 2012 as openly lesbian.

In May 2019, Governor Kate Brown appointed Judge Mooney to the vacancy created on the Oregon Court of Appeals when a sitting judge was elevated to the Oregon Supreme Court.  This is a statewide position, so Judge Mooney is the fifth openly LGBTQ person to hold Oregon elective office. Judge Mooney had been a member of the “Rainbow Rascals” parenting group for Lane County families with lesbian and gay parents. (   

Jodie Mooney

Rick Brissette

Identifies as a gay man. Ran and won a City Council seat for Lincoln City in 2004 and 2008. He was openly gay from the first election. He resigned in May of 2012.

Rick Brissette

Mary Ann Bearden

Identifies as lesbian. Initially appointed by Governor John Kitzhaber, then elected a number of times to Judge, Lane County Circuit Court. She served between between 1998 and 2012.

Mary Ann Bearden

Jon Gustafson

Identifies as a gay man. Elected to the Lake Oswego City Council in 2012 while openly gay.

Jon Gustafson

Scott Meisner

Identifies as a gay man.  Was elected to the Eugene City Council.  He became president of the city council in 1999 through a unanimous vote of the other council members.  That placed him second in command behind the mayor.

Scott Meisner

Rob Nosse

Identifies as gay man. Appointed to the Oregon House of Representatives in June 2014 to fill a vacancy. In May 2014, he won the Democratic primary for the same position. In the November 2014 general election, Rob was elected to retain his seat with 91% of the votes. (From email verifications Rob sent GLAPN.)

Rob Nosse

Drew Herzig, Astoria, OR

Identifies as a gay man. Elected to the Astoria City Council in 2012 for a four year term. Drew explained to us “My partner and I make no secret of our relationship. In fact, Charlie and I continue to be the target of homophobic attacks online.“ (From a email Drew sent to on 9-20-2014)

Drew Herzig

Cheryl A. Pellegrini

Identifies as lesbian. Appointed Judge, Marion County Circuit Court, February 2014 by Governor John Kitzhaber. She then had to run in the November 2014 election to retain that seat for a full six year term. She won that election. ( (At the 2014 October 18, 2014 OGALLA dinner, she told me she identifies as lesbian.)

Chryl Pellegrini

Karin Power

Identifies as lesbian. Elected to the Milwaukie City Council in November 2014. She was the first out LGBT person to be elected to public office in the City of Milwaukie. (From email verifications Karin sent GLAPN.)

Karin Power

Tamie Kaufman, Gold Beach

Identifies as a lesbian. Tamie has served on the Gold Beach City Council previously, but that was before she came out. Most recently, she was appointed in 2010, and was elected to retain that position later in 2010. She tells us “after I was appointed in 2010, I realized I was a lesbian. I came out publicly before I ran.”  She adds “I don't like secrets in small towns.” The local newspapers know she is lesbian, she explains, but they “did not seem to think being a lesbian was important enough to print. I think that actually shows the community has grown enough being gay isn't news.“ Tamie was re-elected in 2014. The position is non-partisan but she is a Republican. Tamie has also been a board member of PFLAG Gold Beach. Some details on Tamie are at
. (From emails Tamie sent GLAPN)

Tamie Kaufman

Stephen Marc Beaudoin,

Identifies as a gay man. Ran for public office for the first time
and while openly gay in May 2015. He won 54.6% of the vote in a field of three
for the at-large Multnomah Education Service District position. Previous to his
election, Stephen had done considerable volunteer leadership work for Oregon’s
LGBTQ community. Stephen is also an accomplished nonprofit executive, and winner
of the 2014 Spirit of Portland Award. ( and from a Facebook message conversation with

Stephen Marc Beaudoin

John Mundy, Bend

Identifies as a gay man. Elected to the Central Oregon Community College Board of Directors in May 2015. John is the first openly LGBTQ person voted to an Oregon public office that is east of the Cascade Mountains. ( and from my Facebook message conversation with John.)


John Mundy

Fay Stetz-Waters, Linn County

Identifies as lesbian. In October 2017, Governor Kate Brown appointed Fay Stetz-Waters to the Linn County Circuit Court. Fay filled a vacancy created by another judge’s retirement. (

But the position of Oregon Circuit Court Judge is an elective position. In order to retain her seat beyond the remainder of the term, Fay had to run in the 2018 general election. During the campaign, Fay was very open about her sexual orientation, talking to the press about her wife.

Fay, who is African American, was defeated by Deputy District Attorney Michael Wynhausen, who happens to be a white male. (

Although Fay never won the election, she did spend over a year in an elective office, so she was the first openly LGBTQ African American in Oregon to hold elective office. (

In June 2019, Fay was appointed Civil Rights Director at Oregon Department of Justice. (

Faye Waters

Claire Hall, Lincoln County

Identifies as a transgender woman. In Spring 2019, the Lincoln County News Guard carried an article entitled “REACTION / Gender Transformation: Commissioner Bill Hall is now Claire Hall” It read “Four-term Lincoln County Commissioner Bill Hall announced on Sunday, June 3, that she is in the midst of a gender confirmation process and will now be known as Claire Hall.

‘My name, dress, and other forms of gender expression are changing, but my core self is not changing and has not changed,’ Hall said. “I have identified as female my entire life. I finally reached the point in my life where I am taking the steps to bring the inner and outer me into alignment.’

Hall said she’s been seeing a gender therapist and undergoing hormone replacement therapy for several months. As of today, she’s adopting a female wardrobe and her preferred name and pronouns on a full time basis.

‘I’m still working to serve the people of Lincoln County,’ Hall said. ‘I will remain focused on social justice issues like the needs of children, families, seniors, people with disabilities and veterans. But now, the act of living my life itself becomes an act of social justice.’”

Claire Hall

Chloe Eudaly, Portland, OR

Chloe Eudaly is elected Portland City Commissioner (one of the fours Portland City Council members that are not mayor). The election took place in 2016 and her term started in 2017. According to The Oregonian newspaper, she is a “self-identified queer person”.

Chloe Eudaly



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