KOIN 6 News contacted candidates who are planning to run for Oregon governor in 2022, asking them to respond to these three questions:
- Why are you running for governor?
- In your opinion, what are the top three issues Oregon is facing right now?
- What is something you believe is going right in Oregon and how would you like to continue to build on it?
Jessica Gomez is running as a Republican. Here are her responses:
Why are you running for governor?
I’m running because Oregon needs a CEO and leader who delivers back to Oregonians what they have heavily invested in with their tax dollars. Our state is suffering from years of public policy driven by political ideology and not on best practices and pragmatic solutions. Years of one-party rule and now a supermajority, has led to Oregon’s declining business-friendly reputation and decreasing expectations from our education system. Our largest city’s reputation is destroyed by leaders unwilling to see that the compassionate approach to homelessness is getting the unsheltered people off our streets and into rehabilitation programs. We have elected officials who ignore the fact that there is a direct link between defunding the police and rising crime rates. The next Governor and CEO of this state must lead a strong, focused team understanding that there are strengths in differing opinions but who are inspired by the governor to come together for pragmatic solutions.
In your opinion, what are the top three issues Oregon is facing right now?
- Improving Oregon’s academic standards. Teaching students how to think, not what to think.
It is unacceptable that Oregon schools rank in the bottom third nationally. The dumbing down of education and the devaluing of Oregon’s high school diplomas must be reversed. We must raise expectations for public education outcomes, give parents a choice of the public school best suited for their child’s needs and support charter schools. We should align high school curriculum with regional workforce needs and implement a college credit program where all credits are transferable in full between any community college or public university in Oregon.
- Addressing Homelessness – A Comprehensive Approach
We must have zero tolerance for unsheltered homelessness. We must implement a comprehensive plan for getting unsheltered people off the streets and into rehabilitation programs. The assisted living model for care of the elderly could be adopted to address systemic homelessness. This work will take place in community living complexes divided by levels of care. Efforts will be coordinated with mayors, councils, commissioners, non-profits, and insurers. Merely throwing money at a problem without objectives, accountability and deliverables will not be tolerated.
- Economy and Jobs
Empowerment and opportunities, not burdensome taxes and regulation should be the approach. Oregon’s business community will be treated as a valued partner. To be more competitive, Oregon should join 38 other states that do not apply an estate tax as well as 48 states that do not impose a tax on gross receipts. Building strong, resilient, regional economies in both urban and rural communities will need targeted investments in infrastructure.
What is something you believe is going right in Oregon and how would you like to continue to build on it?
Oregon’s advanced manufacturing sector, its wine and spirits industry, its craft foods, its farm to table entrepreneurship, its bio-tech, semiconductor and medical equipment industries and its forest technology sectors to name just a few of our economic engines which are humming. I want to focus on improving transportation across our state, expanding digital connectivity, modernizing water management storage and delivery systems. I will lead a team of state agencies to streamline and simplify the regulatory systems. I’ll encourage employees to offer at-work childcare to get parents back into the workforce making that a non-taxable benefit for employer and employee.
Editor’s Note: KOIN 6 News asked Jessica Gomez for a source for the information she stated saying, “there is a direct link between defunding the police and rising crime rates” and “Oregon schools rank in the bottom third nationally.” Gomez’ campaign replied saying the link between defunding the police and rising crime rates was reported in a Seattle Times article from June 2021. The Seattle Times article says the Portland Police Bureau believes the rise in homicides is related to the disbanding of the Gun Violence Reduction Team, which happened in 2020 after the city council voted to reduce the police bureau’s budget. However, the article also cites a Boston University researcher who said economic and other stresses of the pandemic likely contributed to increased violence. Gomez’s campaign also pointed out that according to an article from the Wall Street Journal published in May 2021, several cities are increasing their police budgets after decreasing them in 2020, in response to increases in crime.
Gomez confirmed her statement that Oregon schools rank in the bottom third nationally by citing a 2016 report from Education Weekly that was mentioned in an Oregonian article. The 2021 report from Education Weekly also places Oregon in the bottom third among states when it comes to education rankings.
KOIN 6 News made minor adjustments to spelling, capitalization and punctuation in the responses the gubernatorial candidates submitted.