Lake Oswego councilor to seek GOP nomination for state treasurer
Lake Oswego City Councilor Jeff Gudman will make official next week what many in the city have known for months: He will seek the Republican nomination for state treasurer in 2016.
“Everything in my life has been building to being this state’s treasurer,” Gudman told The Review this week. “I don’t want to sit here and say it was a plan. But looking back, things such as my lifelong (state) residency, my education, my business experience, my civic experience and my philanthropic experience give me a depth and breadth unique among candidates for this office.”
Gudman, who is currently serving his second four-year term on the council, said he will file the necessary paperwork in Salem on Monday for a race that would likely pit him against state Rep. Tobias Read, a Democrat from Beaverton, and Chris Telfer, a former Republican state senator from Bend and current Oregon Lottery commissioner, who will run as an Independent.
Current Treasurer Ted Wheeler, who is prohibited from running because of term limits, will run for mayor of Portland instead and has given Read his endorsement.
Gudman filed paperwork with the secretary of state’s office in June to form Friends of Jeff Gudman, listing himself as a self-employed investor and naming Carol Russell of Bandon as the group’s treasurer. He has already made public appearances at several political gatherings and held a fundraising event just last month in Lake Oswego.
His platform will not substantially diverge from that of the Democrat currently in office, Gudman said.
“I want to focus on the work (Wheeler)’s done on building infrastructure, roads, schools and funding for education after high school,” Gudman said. “Our philosophy and focus are very similar. One, we both relish going down into the details of policy. Two, something that’s very important for me in terms of how decisions are made, is how does it translate to Joe and Jane resident of our state? I’m very similar to Ted in that regard.”
Gudman, 61, ran a primarily self-funded campaign for his second term on the City Council, which is scheduled to run through Dec. 31, 2018. He received endorsements from the Lake Oswego Citizens Action League, the Lake Oswego Municipal Employees Union, Local 1159 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, the Home Builders Association, the Taxpayers Association of Oregon, the Chamber of Commerce and The Review in his bid for re-election.
Gudman has lived in Lake Oswego for almost 40 years and played an active role in the community for most of that time. He has served on numerous city committees, including the West End Building Task Force, Lake Oswego Neighborhood Action Coalition, Lake Oswego Shuttle Transit Advisory Committee and Citizens Budget Committee.
Gudman bills himself as an independent thinker — his brightly colored shirts and sweaters are no doubt evidence of that — and a team player. He is the acknowledged council leader on all things related to the budget and has taken a leadership role on transportation issues. His first filter when looking at any issue, he has said, is a financial filter.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Pomona College and an MBA in finance and management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. He has previously served as a financial analyst at Hyster, a manufacturing company, and as controller at Magnetech. He has also served as treasurer for Oregon Natural Gas Development, and as volunteer treasurer for the Good Samaritan/Emanuel Foundation.
“The only difference between going over the finances of the city and the finances of the state? It’s the same process,” Gudman said, “just more zeroes.”
Telfer, a certified public accountant, was elected to the state Senate in 2008 after serving on the Bend City Council. She ran for treasurer in 2010, but lost to Wheeler in a special election. She lost her Senate seat to Republican Sen. Ted Knopp in 2012; in 2013, Gov. John Kitzhaber appointed her to the Lottery Commission.
Read, who has served in the Oregon House since 2007, has said he intends to continue some of Wheeler’s programs, like a state-sponsored retirement savings plan for which he himself served as floor manager. In August, he made a campaign promise to focus on climate change concerns, saying that if he was elected, he would call on the Securities and Exchange Commission to require fossil fuel companies to disclose their “carbon-related investment risks.”
Gudman criticized Read’s intent to use the office of state treasurer to advance environmental causes.
“It’s not the appropriate place,” Gudman said. “I’m focused on building bridges and roads, and getting our schools rebuilt, and not forcing environmental policy into a financial office.”
During his first term, Gudman led the charge to build an operations and maintenance center and new Police/911/LOCOM facilities using existing resources. He was an adamant supporter of the sale of West End Building. Among his current goals on the council: reducing unfunded road maintenance projects to zero within five years, developing the city-owned North Anchor property and converting the Willamette Shore Line into a bike/pedestrian pathway.
“It’s not a small list,” Gudman said during his campaign, “but it’s a good list.”
He views his lack of experience at the state level as a benefit in his run for treasurer.
“I’m not a career politician,” Gudman said, “and I’m not using this as a stepping stone for other higher office. I have a successful and rewarding professional life, but it’s now time to give back with a substantial commitment.
“Our roads and bridges are crumbling, and someone needs to help make replacing and maintaining those resources more affordable,” he added. “I’m running for treasurer because I’ve done it in Lake Oswego as a city councilor and I’m ready to put that model to work for the entire state of Oregon.”
Contact Saundra Sorenson at 503-636-1281 ext. 107 or firstname.lastname@example.org.