I believe in Oregon and the people who’ve made it great.

Pioneer spirit has always been part of who we are. Oregonians have spent lifetimes enriching this great state to put the next generation in a better situation. When I travel and people learn I’m from Oregon, a common refrain is, “Wow, I hear it’s beautiful. You’re lucky you get to live there.”Richardson

Oregon is a legacy and a gift — a state whose beauty is second to none and one filled with human and natural resources that were once used in a balanced way that allowed Oregonians to thrive.

It’s disheartening to see the state my family loves falter. Instead of being first in the nation for ingenuity and a flourishing economy, instead of being a leader in education, Oregon has a high and stagnant unemployment rate, a devastating childhood poverty rate and one of the highest uses of food stamps in America.

After serving more than 10 years in the Oregon Legislature, I believe Oregonians deserve a plan for Oregon’s future and a leader who understands our state, who has the capability and the resources needed to ensure our families thrive, and one who will see that future generations have the opportunities they need to be successful.

We can do better. We’ve built some of the most revered cities in the nation. Our universities have created a solid foundation for thousands of people. Oregonians have built businesses which have improved the world. This is the Oregon I’ve known. It’s the Oregon I love. This same pioneer spirit is still in us today, but it’s getting weaker because Oregon’s state policies no longer promote self-reliance, individual initiative and personal accomplishment.

We used to make, grow and build products that were the envy of the nation. As those industries withered, families were left wondering, what’s next? Traded-sector workers have been waiting years for change. It becomes harder to care for each other when we’re no longer able to care for ourselves.

Oregon’s most vulnerable citizens — low-income earning seniors, children with special needs and disabled veterans — rely on the services we can provide when our economy is robust. Yet without a vibrant economy and enough family-wage-paying jobs, providing adequate services for our most vulnerable citizens is increasingly difficult.

In the coming weeks and months, with the help of Oregonians statewide, we’ll develop a detailed plan for Oregon’s future — a plan that will reignite Oregon’s pioneering spirit. Our plans will enable and encourage innovations in technology, medicine and foreign exports. Together we can charter a course to greater opportunities and prosperity.

I’m the son of a union carpenter who swung a hammer his whole life. He taught me about honest living and hard work. I put myself through school to make a living for my family, just like many other Oregonians have done.

Oregon is our state and it is going to take hard work to move Oregon forward. I’m committed to serving you and our great state. I believe we need a leader who will stop defending the status quo and start championing a new plan for Oregon’s future. I’m running for governor because I believe we’re stronger together.

State Rep. Dennis Richardson is a Republican gubernatorial candidate from Central Point.

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