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Oregon Governor: Risk, Equity Work Key for State's AI Council

Gov. Tina Kotek addressed Oregon’s Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council Tuesday at its first-ever meeting. She created the council Nov. 28 by executive order; it has 12 months to deliver a final recommended action plan.

Oregon Capitol building from an angle over blue sky.
The state's chief executive addressed the Oregon Artificial Intelligence (AI) Advisory Council Tuesday at its inaugural meeting, letting members know their crucial role in assessing matters of strategy and fair play.

Gov. Tina Kotek created the council in November with Executive Order 23-26, giving it six months from Tuesday’s meeting to provide her office a recommended plan framework; and 12 months to produce a final recommended action plan on AI.

In her remarks, Kotek highlighted the need for state government to prepare for the “rapidly evolving landscape” of AI.

“The council will conduct important work in identifying how the state can mitigate risk and center equity in this new technological frontier,” she said. “I look forward to reviewing the recommendations they will bring to my desk.”

Councilmembers are far from alone in seeking to harness AI’s potential. As states grapple with the question of where to start with AI, many are moving forward with their own plans to understand and regulate the technology.

Oregon’s council will meet regularly, though its next gathering has not been set. The draft timeline proposed meeting every six weeks, Anca Matica, press secretary for the Office of Gov. Tina Kotek, told Government Technology in an email. Meetings will be virtual and open to the public.

The governor’s executive order identified specific executive positions that would be part of the council, including state CIO Terrence Woods, who serves as chair; and state Chief Data Officer Kathryn Darnall Helms. Kotek will also name a representative from her Racial Justice Council to the AI council, but has not yet done so.

Kotek’s executive order let her appoint eight additional members to the council. They include Hector Dominguez Aguirre, Portland's smart cities open data and privacy coordinator; Justus Eaglesmith, a data scientist at Maps Credit Union; Janice Lee, a student at Vanderbilt University; Andres Lopez, research director at the Coalition of Communities of Color; Kimberly McCullough, legislative director at Oregon Department of Justice; K S Venkatraman, senior director for AI computing at NVIDIA; and Saby Waraich, CIO at Clackamas Community College. Their selection began with the members submitting online applications, Matica explained.

“The governor prioritized ensuring a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds and voices on the council when making her appointments,” Matica said. The order specifies the council is to have no more than 15 members.
Julia Edinger is a staff writer for Government Technology. She has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Toledo and has since worked in publishing and media. She's currently located in Southern California.