Dmitri Palmateer grew up in Roseburg, Oregon. From the moment he stepped on campus, he pursued political opportunities across the street at the Capitol and in student government. His first job in politics was on Bryan Johnston’s initial legislative campaign in 1994. After graduating from Willamette, majoring in political science and history, Dmitri worked on a few more campaigns in Oregon before heading off to graduate school.
He earned his Ph.D. in history from the State University of New York in Binghamton, with a focus on American labor history. Upon completing his doctorate, Dmitri and his wife, Kara Ritzheimer ’97, returned to Oregon and he gravitated back to public policy and politics. He has worked as legislative director for then house speaker Jeff Merkley, as the chief of staff for the Oregon House Democratic Caucus, and as legislative director and deputy chief of staff for Oregon governors John Kitzhaber and Kate Brown. He had a short stint working for a private consulting firm, before he returned to state service to work as chief of staff for Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read ’97.
He has remained active in his community, coached youth sports and serves as the treasurer of the Fairmount Hill Community Foundation, which includes a number of Willamette alums. Dmitri and Kara, a history professor at Oregon State University, live in Salem and have two boys, ages 16 and 13.