Nosse family photo
By George T. Nicola, Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN), Special to PQ Monthly

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners has appointed equality champion and Oregon Nurses Association Labor Representative Rob Nosse to fill the vacancy in the Oregon House for District 42. Until recently, the district had been represented by Democrat Jules Bailey, who resigned to run for the board and was recently sworn in.

Rob will be serving in a House that is headed by Speaker Tina Kotek. Tina is the first openly LGBT person to head an Oregon legislative chamber, and the first lesbian in the country to head any state legislative chamber. For the past few years, Tina has been the only openly LGBT person in the Oregon Legislature.

At the time of his recent appointment, Rob had already won the May Democratic primary for that same seat. He is very likely to win the November general election because no Republican has filed to run for the position. However, Rob may face a third party opposition candidate.

Rob lives in Southeast Portland with his husband Jim and their two children. He emphasizes that he has worked his entire life to drive social change for students and working families. For almost twenty years, Rob has been a union representative, trying to raise the bar for middle class families. Currently, Rob is employed at the Oregon Nurses Association where he has worked for over nine years.  In his job, he helps bring nurses together to create a strong, united voice to advocate for themselves and their patients.

With two kids in the Portland Public Schools, Rob and his husband have been active PTA members at Atkinson Elementary and Franklin High Schools. Rob says that as a concerned parent, he’s seen up close what education cuts in Salem have done to students and teachers in the classroom.

Rob has been an activist on LGBT rights since he moved here to work for the Oregon Student Association in 1992. He successfully brought students from every part of the state together to fight Ballot Measure 9, an extremely anti-gay voter initiative that was ultimately defeated. Rob has served as a board member of Basic Rights Oregon Equality PAC helping to elect pro LGBT candidates to public office, and worked to bring marriage equality to our state. As a union representative for Oregon nurses, he also helps to ensure contracts include provisions that give same-gender couples the same benefits available to straight married couples.

Rob attends St. Philip Neri Church, a progressive Catholic Church in Southeast Portland, where he served on the Pastoral Council. In that role, Rob has worked to ensure all Portlanders feel welcome and affirmed, including gay Catholics.

Rob says that as an Oregon Representative, he intends to stand up for progressive Portland values, a continuation of his lifelong fight for economic fairness and full equality for all citizens. Rob is also a member of Jobs with Justice, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Teamsters Local 223, Health Care for All Oregon, the Oregon Student Foundation, and the Labor Employment Relations Association.

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