Rob Cornilles is putting on his game face as he prepares to run as the GOP candidate for Oregon's 1st Congressional District in the Jan. 31 special election.

'Now that we've taken the first step in changing the 1st district of Oregon, are you ready to change Washington, D.C. with me?,' Cornilles asked a crowd of supporters at his Beaverton campaign headquarters Tuesday night after election results came in.

Cornilles will face Democratic candidate Suzanne Bonamici, a state senator since 2008.

Cornilles has yet to hold public office and the seat he's campaigning for has been filled by a democrat for the past 36 years. Yet he said he's optimistic.

'I'm finding such broad support from people, even some who didn't vote for me last time, who are saying, 'I want to do what's right for Oregon, not necessarily my party,'' Cornilles said. 'With the problems we've been facing in the state right now, we don't need loyalists, we need leadership.'

Many of the key platform issues of this campaign remain largely unchanged from the 2010 election, including the national debt and job creation. Some of Cornilles' ideas on job creation and decreasing the national debt include the simplification of our tax code ('It's only benefitting the mega-corporations right now.') and making it easier for businesses to grow in the region.

'Right now, (our regulation) is so burdensome that it takes forever to start businesses, expand businesses, invent things, build something, and that really hurts our economy,' Cornilles said.

The Tualatin man often touts his experience as a job creator, being the founder of Tualatin-based Game Face Inc., a consulting and executive training firm for professional sports franchises. Cornilles began the company in 1995 out of the home he shares with his wife, Allison.

Cornilles' youngest son inspired him to pursue politics while watching the news together three years ago.

'A story about national debt came on. It was pretty sobering. I didn't think he was paying much attention, but when it went to commercial he turned to me and said, 'Dad, am I going to have to pay for that?' That kind of hit me between the eyes.

'I thought, 'You know what, we adults need to start acting like grown-ups and not leave this problem to our children, or our children's children,'' he said.

At the time, no one was challenging Congressman David Wu for his seat.

'I decided I was in a good place, I had a good family supporting me, I knew something about job creation - so I decided to run.'

The decision to run for the seat again did not come easily after losing to Wu in 2010.

'We were wiser,' Cornilles said. 'We talked about it as a family, prayerfully considered it, and decided this is the best way we can contribute to the community.'

Cornilles has been accused by some of his own party members of not being 'Republican' enough, citing the fact that Cornilles had failed to sign the no-new tax pledge nor a pledge to repeal the health care act signed by President Obama.

'I've never been a fan of labels,' Cornilles said. 'A lot of people are frustrated because they have a hard time pinning a label on me. They forget that I'm not running for a party, I'm running for people. I've been a republican all my life, but I'm not afraid of calling the Republican Party out when they make mistakes.'

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