Carlton business owner Lynnette Shaw enters race for HD 24
Lynnette Shaw says she's running to represent Oregon House District 24 because she believes her community deserves someone who will "show up for work."
Shaw will run unopposed as a Democrat in the May primary, setting her up to face Republican Rep. Ron Noble, who has held the legislative seat since 2016, in the November general election.
"I'm fed up. Our community deserves someone who is going to fight for us and be our voice, not walk away when they don't get their way," Shaw said, referring to Noble's participation in a Republican-led walkout, which shut down the last legislative session over a carbon cap and trade bill.
House District 24 covers a mostly rural area that spans from McMinnville and Dundee to rural Cornelius and Hillsboro.
Shaw is a small business owner and newcomer to politics who has lived in Carlton with her wife, Amy Wilder, a Carlton city councilor, for 12 years.
Shaw has started three small businesses in the Willamette Valley and currently owns Bit By A Fox Speakeasy, an open-air speakeasy and events company in Carlton.
She said although she doesn't have experience with elected office, her business experience working for years in the foodservice industry and living in a small, rural town has put her in touch with the economy of the district and the wants of its residents.
"I've got a pretty firm hold on what concerns people have in the rural part of the district," Shaw said, adding that, if elected, she will fight for school funding, small businesses and an affordable standard of living.
"I believe it's not sustainable to have a population that works two or three or more jobs just to be able to afford housing and health care and prescription drugs and child care, and I would support policies that address that," Shaw said.
She added that as a business owner, she's required to problem-solve and make compromises. Her ability to do so equips her to work in the often contentious environment of the state legislature.
"I have those collaborations every day," Shaw said. "I work through problems every day with people who don't share the same issues that I do. But we figure out how to manage those things. We have people of all sorts in our district, and we have to be proactive about listening across the board. We have to be proactive about understanding impacts."
As she puts it, the most substantial motivator for her choice to run was Noble's decision to walk out of the capitol, preventing the passage of bills that would have helped residents in the district.
"I believe that climate change is real, and that by doing nothing, we are risking jobs, we're risking resources and we're risking the economic future of this rural district," Shaw said. "We rely on agriculture and tourism. We've got to figure out how to keep our industries and our jobs safe from the impacts of climate change. Walking away just isn't going to do it."
Shaw added she would have liked to see House Bill 4001 pass. The bill was sponsored by Noble and would have allocated state funding to support temporary emergency shelters for people facing homelessness.
"We all have a shared responsibility for our communities, and we all have work that we can individually do to make this really the best and most-resilient place it can be," Shaw said. "I expect our elected representatives in Salem to do the same, to do the work we hired them to do."
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