Oregon governor's wife reveals mental health struggles, alcoholism amid ethics complaints over nepotism

Kotek Wilson has been spotted at the governor's weekly meetings on issues surrounding mental health and addiction.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

Amid criticism over her elevated role in the current administration, the wife of Oregon governor Tina Kotek has revealed that she struggles with mental health issues and is recovering from alcohol abuse. 

Aimee Kotek Wilson did not specify which mental illness she has, nor how long she has been receiving treatment for her drinking problem, but maintained that her decision to go public with the information was to "reduce stigma."

"I share this information about myself now, and have in the past, in the hopes it will make a difference and reduce stigma," Kotek Wilson said in a statement, per Oregon Live. "Far too often, individuals have remained silent about their experience because of shame, pain, and fear, and that is why it is so important for me to do my part to reduce the stigma around addiction and mental health."

"To all individuals who are living with a mental illness, struggling with addiction, or are in recovery," she added, "I want you to know that you matter and should have hope."

The timing of her reveal has many questioning whether it has anything to do with the scrutiny she and her wife are facing over what has been described as borderline nepotism.

As Oregon Live reports, Kotek recently hired a taxpayer-funded adviser who will be paid $72,000 over a period of six months to see whether an "Office of the First Spouse" could be created. She also called on Oregon State Police to provide Kotek Wilson with security at events.

Kotek Wilson, who has a master's degree in social work and has spent years in the field, has been spotted at Kotek's weekly meetings on issues surrounding mental health and addiction. An ethics complaint has been filed, however the details will not be made public until a decision is made as to whether it warrants an investigation.

At the same time, three of Kotek's top aides stepped down, with sources telling Oregon Live that their departure was motivated, at least in part, by friction between them and Kotek Wilson.

Kotek is not the first Oregon official to be accused of letting their partners get a little too close to official business. Former governor John Kitzhaber resigned after his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, influenced policies and used her position to secure paid consulting work. She was forced to pay a $44,000 fine.

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