Tina Kotek meets with students at OSU ahead of election

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Jess Hume-Pantuso

Democratic candidate for Governor of Oregon, Tina Kotek speaks to a crowd of students and community members at the Oregon State Memorial Ballroom on Monday in Corvallis Kotek answered questions from students addressing multiple pertinent issues including abortion access and climate change.

Nino Paoli, News Contributor

Democratic Candidate for governor, Tina Kotek, rallied and met with students at Oregon State University’s campus Monday as part of a series of visits around Oregon ahead of the primary election. 

Stephanie Weber and Sydney Navas, members of Students for Tina at OSU, opened the evening event by introducing themselves as fellow undergraduates to a packed room of over 70 in the Memorial Union.

Weber, sophomore, and Navas, senior, read questions submitted by students to members on Kotek’s staff, while the room awaited her arrival. Kotek, escorted by Senator Sara Gelser, was met with applause, and started off by thanking Weber and Navas for organizing the event. 

“The last few years, we’ve had to really think about what we want our world to be,” Kotek said. “I don’t want to live in a country with people living on the streets.”

Kotek listed many other issues she’s passionate about, including climate change policies, reproductive freedom, and housing prices. 

With the 2022 gubernatorial election set for Nov. 8, Kotek said that, “Betsey Johnson, the independent, cannot win this race; and a vote for Johnson is a vote for Christine Drazan.”

After her speech and answering a few submitted questions, Kotek met with students individually, taking photos with them in front of a wall of ‘Tina for Oregon’ posters.

“I had a lot of conversations with students in the selfie line on what they’re working on,” Kotek said. “It’s really exciting.”According to Kotek, she is seeking to keep OSU as Oregon’s flagship institution as well as to improve financial assistance to current and prospective students.

“I think one of the biggest issues for students here is housing,” Kotek said. “I don’t want any student to worry about where they’re going to live while they’re in school.”

Kotek will continue her tour of Oregon up to election day. Kotek already visited the University of Oregon prior to her appearance at OSU. 

“We’re going to visit as many cities as we can,” Kotek said.

The event room was filled to capacity, and only emptied out after students got to shake hands with Kotek.

 “My worst fear was Tina showing up to an empty room, and we filled every seat,” Weber said.

Weber and Navas will travel to Eugene to volunteer for the Bernie Sanders event on Thursday, starting at 9 a.m. 

Ian Junge, a political science major, who attended Kotek’s event says she has his vote.

“I’m from Eugene, and [homelessness] is very bad there,” Junge said. “I read through her plan on homelessness and I’m absolutely on board with it.”

Weber stresses the importance of the upcoming election to every student, even if they are not a registered voter in Oregon.

“Nine or ten months out of the year you still live here, and she’s still your governor whether you voted for her or not,” Weber said. “She’s still in charge of the policy you have to abide by.”