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Jessica Gomez’ party affiliation is no secret

I would like to respond to the column by Herb Rothschild Jr. published on Oct. 6.

He implies that Jessica Gomez may be hiding her status as a Republican. I have never had anyone introduce themselves as their party affiliation. In a political race I believe that is clearly defined, and she changed her party well before she worked in my office.

As far as me designating Jessica my heir, that gives me way too much credit. Part of being in business, and a good leader, is that you are always looking for someone better to replace you. I was a reluctant candidate for the seat when my friend and neighbor, Sen. Alan Bates, passed away suddenly. I was unsure if I could serve six years. I was looking for that replacement after the long session in 2017.

After numerous conversations with possible candidates and party members, Jessica rose to the top of the list. She was familiar with the Capitol and had great interest in the Senate seat and working to help Oregonians. Jessica was appointed by the governor to be a trustee for Oregon Institute of Technology and serves on many other boards. That, along with her past work on PERS solutions, health care and education, made it an easy choice. My fellow legislators were impressed by how hard she worked and her ability to solve complex problems.

I am proud of my work in the Senate, with the Republican Caucus and with the selection of Jackie Winters as our leader. We have come a long way, and adding Jessica as the first Hispanic woman elected to that caucus would add to the diversity that is needed in the state.

Herbert should celebrate and applaud the balance it gives the Senate. Everyone should be concerned if one party has a supermajority, which is what hangs in the balance of this election. We should all work together regarding decisions to better govern our state and always treat the minority party as an equal.

As for voting for the economic self-interests of large donors: He’s questioning the integrity of elected officials. Neither Jessica nor I would ever vote based on a donation. Our background is in business, balancing budgets and signing paychecks; this is what is needed in Salem. If we want to cure the problem, then we shouldn’t allow corporations and unions to donate, only individual contributions; but good luck getting either party to support that.

I am grateful for the education I received in my two-year position as your senator. I am looking forward to future opportunities that will continue my efforts to help our community and state.

Sen. Alan DeBoer of Ashland, 541-944-1600, represents District 3 in the Oregon Senate.