Ex-Rep. Cheri Helt runs for State Labor Chief

By Cheri Helt for BOLI Commissioner

Small business owner, former State Representative and school board member aims to use statewide role to improve the lives of working Oregon families

Bend, Oregon – Cheri Helt, of Bend, today filed as a candidate for Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries, a statewide elected position. Helt, who with her husband owns Zydeco restaurant in Bend and represented Bend in the Oregon House of Representatives from 2019 to 2021, wants to turn BOLI into an agency that protects and advances Oregon workers.

“Oregon’s workers have been through so much in recent years. From the pandemic and workplace closures to sky-high housing prices and now broad-based inflation, our workers need an ally in Salem. As State Representative, I sponsored Oregon’s first family leave bill and fought for fair and equitable treatment for Oregon’s workforce. BOLI can do more to help ensure the availability of affordable and workforce housing by helping employers, employees, landlords and builders coordinate to provide the housing Oregon families desperately need.” Helt said. “I will provide the leadership needed to make BOLI the asset Oregon’s workers and small businesses need to propel a growing economy that benefits all Oregonians.”

Helt and her husband Steve own Zydeco restaurant in downtown Bend. The restaurant offers 100%-employer-paid health insurance for any of its 62 employees who work 30 or more hours per week. It also offers a six percent match on 401(k) contributions.

“Small businesses make Oregon’s economy go. BOLI should help strengthen the relationship between small businesses and their employees by making its regulations easy to understand for everyone involved and creating apprenticeship and housing programs that help small business employees thrive in Oregon,” Helt added.

Prior to her service in the House of Representatives, Helt served for nine years on the Bend-LaPine School Board, where she led efforts to enhance job training and to get students ready for apprenticeship programs.

Helt has three children aged 11, 20 and 22. Her children are all products of or currently attend Bend public schools. Her son serves in the Oregon National Guard and is currently deployed to Eastern Europe as part of the Biden Administration’s effort to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from further aggression in the area.