candidate endorsements

2020 Candidate Endorsements 

With its candidate endorsements, the North Clackamas Chamber of Commerce has worked to be fair-minded, supporting leadership qualities over individual positioning. Over the years, we have earned the reputation of a chamber which will endorse candidates from across the political spectrum when they show the stronger personal and professional attributes and the all-too-rare willingness and ability to set aside dogma and work with those with divergent views.

Our Candidate Endorsement Team is made up of members who are representative of the demographics of our chamber’s membership. Each is selected due to their political expertise and some have experience in local and/or State government, which lends to a broader understanding of process which helps this committee to make better, more informed decisions.  No endorsement is final until thoroughly vetted and voted on by our Board of Directors.

In our thorough process of interviewing and evaluating candidates we stay true to our business platform in supporting candidates that are pro-business and who will take seriously the decisions they make on legislative issues that will effect business in Clackamas County and in our State.

Current endorsements:

County Commissioner Position #4:
Although a self-proclaimed champion of business and economic development, incumbent
Commissioner Ken Humberston’s support for burdensome business taxes and deference for
METRO proved otherwise in his first term. Newcomer Mark Shull’s agenda is far more in-line
with the Chamber’s policy positions. “If you want me to dedicate $250 million to homeless
services, you’ve got to give me a plan,” said Shull in his interview regarding the recently passed
METRO tax, echoing sentiments widely held in the business community. His 25 years in the
military are evident by his blunt, sometimes uncomfortably aggressive cadence, which the
Chamber hopes softens with experience in civilian public service. Despite the gruff persona, we
found him principled, candid and energized, and ask our members to vote Mark Shull for
County Commissioner with our endorsement.

Congressional District #5:
With nationwide approval of U.S. Congress floating around 31%, we give Kurt Schrader 100%,
along with our strongest possible endorsement. Schrader thoughtfully approaches policy with
common sense and foresight. He supports rural broadband as necessary infrastructure, as well
as a federal solution for a carbon tax so Oregon doesn’t implement a one-off version. He also
expressed enthusiasm for the ballot measure to move redistricting to a citizen panel rather
than a partisan process. He is accessible, direct, thoughtful and sincere. His opponent Amy Ryan
Courser showed tremendous community involvement and political potential. We hope to see
her elected to local or state office in the near future.

State Treasurer:
The easiest decision we made was to endorse Jeff Gudman for State Treasurer. Gudman is an
authentic and principled type of moderate Republican in line with Hatfield, Atiyeh and Myers.
His pedigree for this position is unmatched, from his Masters in Finance from the Wharton
School, to his work as Treasurer of the Legacy Emmanuel Hospital Foundation, and service on
the Lake Oswego City Council. In his interview, he advocated for reforming the wasteful state
purchase order system that was discovered by Dennis Richardson’s audit. Gudman blasted his
opponent for failure to advise the legislature on bond capacity spending and not applying
“found money” toward our PERS obligations instead of expanding services. At one point, he
prefaced, “This is a little wonky … but that’s what you want in a treasurer.” We agree. Please
vote Jeff Gudman for State Treasurer.

Secretary of State:
In what will likely be the most contested statewide race in Oregon, voters should choose Kim
Thatcher for Secretary of State. Thatcher was insistent that she believes the position should be
non-partisan and vows to perform that way. She said that the office is about “carrying out law,
not creating it,” and indicated she would carry the torch of Dennis Richardson in the aggressive
pursuit of auditing state agencies. She said one of the first things she will do is to audit the
employment department – which was on the list to be performed when Richardson passed
away in 2019.

Political newcomer Josh Howard has earned this Chamber’s endorsement for his surprisingly
fluent understanding of public policy for a first-time candidate, and his realistic approach to
complex problems. The former CFO for Hope Northwest, a non-profit providing drug and
alcohol rehabilitation housing, Howard is uniquely qualified to provide solutions to the
homeless epidemic. He said simply, “You can’t just give someone a house that has addiction or
mental health issues and expect them to live like you and I do.” He cited his opponents votes
for business taxes and rent control as his motivation to run. Howard is being mentored by
retired legislator and long-time Chamber supporter Bill Kennemer, and it shows. Josh Howard
should be the next representative from House District 40.

Christine Drazen has given this Chamber one of the most collaborative legislative relationships
in recent history. Always honest, straight-forward and reliable, Drazen’s matter-of-fact style
delicately balances a sincere approach to providing resources for those who need them with
necessary hardlines in defense of our business community. She is proactive, often giving
Chamber leadership advance notice on budget and policy discussions and encouraging
participation. Her position as caucus leader gives our members more powerful influence over
legislative negotiations. We are delighted to once again endorse Christine Drazen for HD39 and
encourage all our members to vote for her.

In House District 41, incumbent Karin Power’s priorities do not always align with the
Chamber’s. Rep. Power is, however, a thoughtful, inclusive legislator who consults with the
Chamber on critical issues and works with the Chamber to achieve goals where priorities
align. Rep. Power’s leadership role in key committees puts her in a position to benefit the
community. We hope that Rep. Power, an Environmental Attorney, will increase her
understanding of the needs of Chamber members by viewing issues from the perspective of
businesses. Mike Newgard is a newcomer to politics, but not to House District 41. Newgard
seeks to represent the community in which he grew up and where he currently works in the
County Clerk’s office. Mike Newgard has deep roots in the community that is evidenced by his
understanding of local priorities. Newgard, a decorated veteran and Medivac Helicopter Pilot
for the Oregon National Guard, with an education in finance supports policy positions that align
with Chamber member’s needs.

No Recommendation

Approved by the North Clackamas Chamber Board of Directors on June 17, 2020.