Posted: Jun 8, 2021 1:47 PM
Updated: Jun 9, 2021 9:44 AM
MEDFORD, Ore. — A Rogue Valley-based business leader says that she will run for Governor of Oregon in 2022. Jessica Gomez officially announced her candidacy on Tuesday, declaring her hopes for becoming the state's first female Republican governor.
“It is time for Oregonians to work together to build a future in which we can all be proud. I firmly believe the strength of our state lies in our differences,” said Gomez in a statement.
Gomez is the founder and CEO of local tech company Rogue Valley Microdevices, and she currently serves as Chair of the Oregon Tech Board of Trustees.
This isn't Gomez's first brush with politics, either. In 2018, she ran for a seat on the Oregon state Senate — winning the Republican primary, but losing in the general to Democrat Jeff Golden. Prior to her run, she worked as a legislative aide to outgoing Senator Alan DeBoer.
Gomez leverages her experience as a business owner for promoting Oregon's economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic by creating an attractive business climate, deriding "relentless" taxes and regulations. Her campaign says that she will encourage targeted investments in infrastructure for both urban and rural communities.
“We’ve been through tough times, endured devastating wildfires, a global pandemic, and continuous rioting. It is easy to point fingers and complain about failed leadership, but that accomplishes nothing,” said Gomez. “The negative impact to our communities is painfully clear. What is crucial is that we make the best decisions moving forward."
According to the Gomez campaign, she experienced homelessness as a teen — building the foundation of her views on education and the means for addressing homelessness.
“Higher education, and especially community colleges, are underfunded in Oregon – this must change so skyrocketing tuition and student debt does not prevent all Oregonians from reaching their full potential,” Gomez said.
For the latter issue, Gomez emphasized that law enforcement is essential for improving safety, but with statewide training and education standards. More directly, she says that homelessness should be met with funds reallocated toward coordinated mental health and public safety infrastructure.
“Learning to survive, then striving, and finally thriving, is how I describe my personal journey. Oregon can again truly thrive with all of us striving together,” said Gomez.
The 2022 gubernatioral field currently has few declared candidates. Kate Brown will not be able to run again, having reached her term limits, and no other Democrats have officially thrown their hats into the ring. On the Republican side, former nominee Bud Pierce and perennial candidate Paul Romero have declared their intent to run, along with business owner Darin Harbick. Sandy mayor Stan Pulliam launched an exploratory committee, but has yet to make an official declaration.