Jeff Gudman, the Republican candidate for Oregon State Treasurer, touched down in Hood River last Thursday on his campaign trail.
The Lake Oswego City Council member and private investor outlined his vision for candidacy with the Hood River News, shortly before addressing the Hood River County Republican Central Committee at China Gorge restaurant.
Despite his party affiliation, Gudman feels the state treasurer position is a non-partisan role. His campaign emphasizes his past experience in fiscal work and political leadership at a city level.
“I’m running for treasurer on a very simple premise: Oregon’s next treasurer ought to have experience as a treasurer,” Gudman said.
Gudman filed for candidacy last November. He will face two opponents in the November election: Rep. Tobias Read (D-Beaverton) and former state Sen. Chris Telfer, a Bend accountant who filed with the Independent Party.
Oregon’s treasurer, an elected position in the executive branch, serves as chief financial officer for the state. Responsibilities include managing the investment of state funds, issuing all state bonds, serving as the central bank for state agencies and administering the Oregon Savings Network.
Gudman entered the realm of public office when he was elected to Lake Oswego City Council in 2010, then re-elected in 2014.
He holds a MBA from Penn State’s Wharton School of Business. He has worked as a financial analyst for Hyster Co. and treasurer for several subsidiaries of Northwest Natural Gas. Gudman is the current treasurer of the Legacy Emanuel Foundation, and former treasurer of USA Olympic Swimming.
He is also a second-generation Oregonian and a former All-American swimmer who frequently takes part in Hood River’s annual Roy Webster Cross Channel swim.
“Nobody turns 21 or 22, wakes up the morning and says, ‘I want to be the treasurer of Oregon’ — they have psychiatric care for that,” Gudman joked when explaining why he’s running for office.
“But when (current Oregon State Treasurer) Ted Wheeler announced based on the ruling that he was term limited out, I said, ‘You know what, I can do this.’ I can bring that same skill set that I’ve applied to my service not only on the city council, but (to) all the things in my life.”
Managing the state’s assets as well as its debt are key aspects of the treasurer job, he said.
Issues Gudman highlighted for Oregon’s next treasurer include the looming Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) liability, coordinating the state’s burgeoning retirement system, and steering management of Elliott State Forest in southern Oregon via the State Land Board, on which the treasurer sits.
The crux of retirement reform, he termed, is “making sure that the PERS system is solvent without bankrupting (people) from communities all throughout the state.”
On corporate taxes, Gudman spoke out against state voter measure IP 28.
The measure would increase certain businesses’ taxes by establishing a 2.5-percent tax on corporate gross sales that exceed $25 million. That strategy, coming to voters on the November ballot, has drawn support from labor unions and opposition from business groups.
Gudman said he has no intentions of seeking another public office if he’s elected to treasurer. It would be his final statewide position, he said.
“It comes back to the technocratic nature of the job — you want somebody who understands all the aspects of the financing, all the different aspects of debt. They’re (the ideal candidate) not looking for a stepping stone.”
Oregon voters will have a choice between three candidates for state treasurer on Election Day, Nov. 8.