Running for governor

Jessica Gomez checks out a fish hatchery near Bandon while visiting Coos County.

Jessica Gomez has proven she can be a highly-successful businesswoman. Now she has even bigger dreams.

Gomez, who co-owns a micro-chip facility with her husband, announced recently she is running for governor as a Republican. Last week, she brought her campaign to Coos County to discuss the needs of the community as well as the issues she feels are important for the state.

"I heard a lot about the fishing industry and how important that is to the economy," Gomez said. "People are feeling they're being ignored. I also heard about childcare. People are struggling to find decent childcare. One of the things I'd like to do is clear the barriers to allow employees to offer on-site childcare."

Gomez, who lives in Medford, said visiting rural areas of the state have shown her many feel state politicians only pay attention to the major metropolitan regions in the state. She said visiting Coos County and listening to local residents is something every candidate and every governor should do.

"It's a big piece of what the governor needs to do to build regional economies across the state," she said. "Just focusing on Portland doesn't help restoration of the state."

Gomez said she is also interested in helping the Port of Coos Bay open a shipping terminal, which would benefit the entire state.

"Looking at continued services in the Port of Coos Bay, that's huge," she said. "Oregon doesn't really have a deep-water bay."

Gomez said winning the Republican nomination won't be easy with at least 13 Republicans already running. But, she said, where she stands out is she can actually win the general election.

"We've got to have a candidate who can win the general," she said. "I can win the general election. I have business experience. I have public policy experience. It's important to have someone who hasn't been in Salem for a lifetime."

Gomez said her life experience and her ability to reach across the aisle make her the right choice in a state that is dominated by Democrats.

"I have seen what single-party rule has one for our state," she said. "We are such ideologues, we have stopped using common sense. We have a lot of rural Oregon that has been ignored. There's a lot of value we have not tapped into."

She said the right candidate does not have to be aligned with one specific party to win.

"I think it has a lot to do with the person," she said. "It has to be someone people can relate to."

And during the middle of a global pandemic, Gomez said one can fight government overreach like vaccine mandates while still acknowledging the danger of COVID-19.

While Gomez has been vaccinated, she is opposed to government mandates.

"I don't support the vaccine mandate," she said. "That should be personal choice. It's also a big negative on our workforce."

Gomez said it is time for a change in Oregon. The state as a whole is slipping largely due to the governor and government in Salem.

"We are not in a position where out state is thriving," she said. "We have a huge public safety issue, we have huge issues with education. What are the things that really impact people when they wake up in the morning.

As the campaign heats up, Gomez said she will continue to travel the state to reach as many voters as possible.

"We need to take Oregon forward, but in a new direction," she said. "I think Oregon has a lot of potential. We should be empowering businesses, not trying to stifle them, over-regulate them."

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