Kotek’s wife gets aide, office space as governor considers creating ‘Office of the First Spouse’ • Oregon Capital Chronicle:

Gov. Tina Kotek is hiring a temporary aide to assist her wife, Aimee Kotek Wilson, as the governor considers expanding Kotek Wilson’s role and creating a new “Office of the First Spouse.”

Kotek spokeswoman Elisabeth Shepard confirmed that Meliah Masiba, the legislative director for the Department of Administrative Services, joined the governor’s office on a six-month rotation that began Monday. Masiba will explore creating the new office and “assist and support the current first spouse in her official capacity in support of the administration,” according to the governor’s office.

Kotek’s plan, first reported by Willamette Week, comes as three top staffers left the governor’s office, departures some sources speculated were due to conflicts with Kotek Wilson. The governor’s office has declined to say why Chief of Staff Andrea Cooper, Deputy Chief of Staff Lindsey O’Brien and special adviser Abby Tibbs are leaving the office and have not yet turned over public records requested by the Capital Chronicle that could provide clarity. Shepard said Monday the three employees have not turned in resignation letters.

This may come as a shock to Kotek, as it did to Kitzhaber some years ago, but your spouse is unelected and really has no office capacity in state government. “First spouse” is not a job that appears in the organizational hierarchy of any department and it shouldn’t. 

…Kotek Wilson has been more visible [than Gov. Brown’s spouse was], including accompanying Kotek to most stops on her 36-county tour of the state in 2023 and sitting in on discussions about housing, behavioral health and education during the tour. During a December interview with the Capital Chronicle, Kotek said it was helpful to have Kotek Wilson with her both to show Oregonians that they were a family and because of Kotek Wilson’s social work experience.

“We knew we’d be talking about mental health and addiction issues,” Kotek said. “Because of the First Lady’s background, just having her hear from local practitioners what was going on, that’s been a very helpful feedback loop as we continue to set our priorities in that area.”

This is fine until it isn’t, and if staff members are leaving because of Kotek Wilson’s involvement, it definitely isn’t. 


Aimee Kotek Wilson, the wife of Gov. Tina Kotek, said Tuesday she lives with mental illness and is in recovery from alcohol use disorder.

“I share this information about myself now, and have in the past, in the hopes it will make a difference and reduce stigma,” said Kotek Wilson in a statement issued by Kotek’s spokesperson.

Kotek Wilson said many Oregonians struggle with mental health challenges and addiction, and increasingly people have spoken out about their experiences “in order to help others.” She didn’t specify what type of mental illness she lives with.

This isn’t helping.