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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 04 February 2022

SALEM, Ore. - Last week Multnomah County commissioners appointed Travis Nelson as Representative-designate for House District 44, after former House Speaker Tina Kotek, the longest-serving Speaker in Oregon history, stepped down to focus on her campaign for governor. 

Nelson is the first openly Black LGBTQ+ man to serve in the Oregon Legislature. He was sworn in Tuesday, February 1. 

“I look forward to bringing my perspective as a Black LGBTQ+ man and healthcare worker to the Legislature,” said Representative-designate Nelson. “As a legislator, I will advocate for and approach policy through an equity lens to help bring opportunity to all. We must break down the systemic barriers in place that for too long have kept folks who look like me from these positions of power and influence.” 

Nelson currently works as a board certified nurse and is a member of the Oregon Nurses Association and founding member of the Alliance of Black Nurses of Oregon. 

“Our Caucus is thrilled to welcome Representative-designate Nelson to the Legislature,” said Senator Kayse Jama (D-Portland), Co-Chair of the Oregon Legislature’s Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Caucus. “His experience as a champion for equity will serve our communities well as we work toward closing racial disparities in health care and protecting the rights of workers.”

Having worked as a union representative and officer of the Democratic Party of Oregon, Nelson is passionate about tackling a range of issues, including climate change mitigation, housing and houselessness, healthcare access, and racial equity.

“We are proud to welcome Representative-designate Nelson to the Legislature,” said House Majority Leader Julie Fahey (D-West Eugene/Junction City). “One of our strengths as a Caucus is our diversity, and the experiences he brings will be critical to our shared commitment to an equitable recovery that reaches every corner of the state.”

The grandson of sharecroppers, Nelson was born to teenage parents in a small rural town in North Louisiana. Before entering grade school, his parents moved him and his sister from Louisiana to the Pacific Northwest in search of a better life and opportunity.

In 2005 Nelson moved to the Portland area and started his nursing career.

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