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Oregon Governor Tina Kotek's first actions reflected her campaign promise to focus on homelessness and housing. The eight other newly elected state leaders reflected very different priorities.

First Gubernatorial Actions Reflect Wide Range of Issues and Politics

Tina Kotek is one of nine newly elected governors in the nation. The New York Times featured the first gubernatorial actions of the six Democrats and three Republicans now leading their respective states that ranged from Oregon’s homelessness emergency to Arkansas’ ban on the use of “Latinx”.

Here is the summary in alphabetical order of the states:

Governor Katie Hobbs, Arizona Democrat

  • Established an independent commissioner to review the death penalty following a botched execution last year.
  • Asked a bipartisan panel to recommend ways to improve accessibility and security of Arizona elections.
  • Released a $17 billion budget that would increase education funding and create a childcare credit for low-income Arizonans.

Governor Sarah Huckabee, Arkansas Republican

  • Banned the use of “Latinx” in official documents.
  • Signed an executive order forbidding public schools from teaching critical race theory.
  • Imposed a hiring and promotion freeze on state employees.
  • Instituted a procedure requiring the governor approve new rules and regulations.
  • Repealed COVID-related executive orders.

Priorities ran the gamut from bans to innovation officers, homelessness emergencies to ordering state workers back to their offices.

Governor Josh Green, Hawaii Democrat

  • Declared a homelessness emergency and called for $1 billion to create more affordable and public housing.
  • Signed emergency proclamations related to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and a lack of medical airlift capacity.

The nine newly elected governors.

Governor Wes Moore, Maryland Democrat

  • Invited Oprah Winfrey to introduce him at his inauguration as the state’s first Black governor.
  • Released a $63 billion budget focused heavily on education and transportation and with tax credits for parents and immigrants.
  • Issued an executive order to establish the Maryland Department of Service and Civic Innovation, including a program that would pay high school graduates for a year of community service.

Governor Maura Healey, Massachusetts Democrat

  • Created a new cabinet-level Climate Chief and announced she will create a cabinet-level Housing Secretary.
  • Announced an equity audit for state services to identify gender, race, sexual orientation or other disparities.
  • Unveiled an essay contest to identify former state governors from John Hancock to Mitt Romney to feature as portraits in her and the lieutenant governor’s offices.

Governor Jim Pillen, Nebraska Republican

  • Announced priority bills to lower taxes and expand broadband access.
  • Designated January and Human Trafficking Awareness Month and January 16 as Religious Freedom Day.
  • Appointed his predecessor to an open state Senate seat.

Governor Joe Lombardo, Nevada Republican

  • Rescinded COVID-related mandates.
  • Issued an executive order to review state hiring practices and transition to pre-pandemic office conditions.

Governor Tina Kotek, Oregon Democrat

  • Signed three executive orders that declared a housing emergency in large parts of the state and set a goal of adding 36,000 housing units per year.
  • Asked state lawmakers for $130 million to combat homelessness.

Governor Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania Democrat

  • Issued an executive order making 92 percent of state government jobs open to persons without a four-year college degree,
  • Created an Office of Transformation and Opportunity to keep and attract businesses to the state.
  • Announced a package of ethics rules for executive branch employees, including ethics training and a modified ban on gifts from lobbyists.