Who will be Oregon's brave new Republican?
Oregon is just one of 17 states in the country that does not have a Republican governor after 2016. It's been 30 years since Oregon's last Republican governor.
The time is now to change that and how to approach electing Republicans to office.
I was born a third-generation Hispanic woman and raised in a farm community in Central California. I was the middle child who watched my sister become a teen mom and a brother that struggled to find his place. We were raised by parents who have been married for over 50 years and two sets of grandparents who were married for over 50-plus years as well. My grandmother Nettie Chavez, is still living at 95 years old.
I was the first in my family to go to college and graduate. I then married my high school sweetheart, Shawn. Through education and hard work, we changed the trajectory of our family foundations. We married soon after college and I put my husband through medical school. We had twin daughters halfway through his time in medical school and came out bright eyed, broke and $350,000 in debt. We had no hard assets, but we had a foundation to succeed.
We moved to Happy Valley for a great job and to raise our twin daughters in a loving community. We started our own business in 2005 and it grew from a small health care company to a highly respected one today. We continued to invest in the one constant that can't be forgotten, which is education. Our twins graduated college from Arizona State University and Oregon State University. Annie is now a special-ed teacher in Happy Valley, and Emilie is on her way to law school at Michigan State University.
I became a city councilor in 2004, mayor in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014. I have invested 14 unpaid years into a community that I dearly love.
I ran for state representative (House District 51) in 2016 and came within 500 votes. The registration gap was more than 3,700 votes and I closed it by 3,200. I was outspent and bullied by the Democratic machine to keep me away from doing good work in the Oregon Legislature.
However, that didn't stop me from being a voice for my constituents down at the Legislature. I've been to Salem numerous times during the 2017 session to lobby on important issues. The one issue I lobbied for was the transportation package. The original transportation package that I signed on to support became much different by the time it was passed. It became a watered-down bill and failed to seriously fix congestion in our state. But that should be no reason for a Republican to stop considering re-investment in our infrastructure and future.
I have contemplated what the real issue is in Oregon. It couldn't be any clearer after the 2017 session adjourned a couple of weeks ago: One-party rule and a clear lack of leadership to bring both sides to the table.
If I've learned nothing from being a daughter, college student, wife, mother, business owner and mayor, it's that every voice has value and should be validated, if for no other reason than to give perspective on good decision-making.
I am considering running for governor because of all the reasons I just listed. I am a 49-year old Republican, who is tired of watching good people lose in Oregon. I never intended to be in the discussion for the governor's race. In fact, I had no plans of even considering the office six months ago. I never had a long-term plan to eventually become governor like some of the insiders and career politicians might. But I am willing to be governor to make sure our children have the tools to succeed and our citizens aren't burdened with any more unnecessary tax increases.
I want to listen to what all Oregonians have to say. It's time to bridge the gap. I'm asking the base of the GOP to let us stand on your shoulders and trust that a new Republican will defend the Constitution and ultimately protect traditional values that they have worked so very hard for.
If I do make this decision to run for governor, I vow to have an unconventional, young-minded and young-hearted campaign that will lead us out of this mess. We cannot expect to use the same old losing tactics and expect different results.
I hope to make this decision soon but I cannot do it alone. I want your input. I want to hear your concerns. I will continue to do my job as mayor and be a voice for my constituents in the state. I believe the time is now to usher a new wave of brave Republicans or better yet, new Republicans who will learn to be brave.
Lori Chavez-DeRemer is the mayor of Happy Valley.