By Lynn Snodgrass
Former Oregon House Speaker
CEO of Gresham Chamber of Commerce
Life experiences and overcoming tough challenges combine to produce leaders who think outside the box and who search for ways to bring people together for solutions. And certainly the Oregon of today is facing big problems and is in dire need of new leadership — leadership that doesn’t think in a narrow, straight line!
While I have been a teacher, business owner, and stay-at-home mom, I am still often described as a farmer who became Speaker, and it is a title of which I am proud. Picking berries and beans on my grandparents’ farm as a child gave me a healthy appreciation of hard work. In the 50 years since my husband and I purchased our Portland-area company, Drake’s 7 Dees, we’ve faced the up and down challenges of running a small business. I believe those personal experiences led me to become a Speaker of the Oregon House with a perspective and understanding of the challenges faced by the Oregonians I served. They are still helping me today as a businesswoman.
But hey – politics is still a part of my life and I, for one, am upbeat about an Oregon rebound, a new Governor Gomez, and a new perspective. The life experiences and challenges Jessica has faced makes her my choice to be our next governor and CEO.
Jessica Gomez’ life story so far can be summed up in one sentence: A former homeless teen who became a successful CEO. She didn’t get where she is today in a straight line. Jessica faced tough challenges. At age 9 she couldn’t read or write, at 15 she was homeless, at 16 she started her first full year of high school, at 18 she graduated with her peers. She then graduated from community college, and at age 26 started her microchip manufacturing business.
Oregon’s problems cannot be solved by people whose “life experiences” have all been in political life. Our problems cannot be solved by people who think that today’s leaders must go in an ideological straight line. Our challenges must be faced by a leader with a team of people who understand all Oregonians and accept the mission.
For the next ten years, thanks to Democratic redistricting, Republicans will need to go into battle with a different set of arms. Literally! That set of arms needs a leader who is facing the challenges you all face and is not afraid to confront problems. A leader that will bring differing, practical, and well thought out views to the table to find solutions.
Jessica Gomez is my choice for Oregon’s next governor, and I ask you to join me, “a farmer who became speaker,” to elect Jessica Gomez, “a homeless teen who became a successful CEO.”