Safe routes to school, helping local businesses thrive and forging new partnerships that bring Lake Oswego community members together socially, culturally, educationally and economically are important to Lake Oswego resident Rachel Verdick. These are some of the goals she will work toward if elected to the Lake Oswego City Council.
Verdick announced her candidacy for the 2020 City Council race on the heels of Emma Burke's announcement in May. Former city councilor Joe Buck also announced his candidacy for another term on Tuesday.
There are three council seats up for grabs in November, as current Councilor Skip O'Neill's term is set to expire and Councilors John LaMotte and Theresa Kohlhoff have announced their candidacies for mayor.
"I decided to run now because I think we're in the position to start making real changes," said Verdick in an interview with the Review, adding that she would be a good fit with the current city councilors while also offering a different perspective.
Verdick said she believes in services and that she can make a positive impact on the community.
"Over the years I've been very engaged in Lake Oswego, the community, whether it's through being on neighborhood associations or working with Leadership Lake Oswego and the Chamber or the preservation society," Verdick said. "I have just grown over the years to love this community more and more."
Verdick said she wants to continue to help Lake Oswego be a special place to live. She said she also has a desire to continue the great work done with schools, parks, trails "and create a safe community where people are active and thriving."
Verdick graduated from Saint Mary's College in Indiana with a bachelor's degree in sociology and received a master's degree in business from University of Notre Dame and a master's degree in design studies from Boston Architectural College.
Verdick moved to Lake Oswego in 2001 but has lived in Oregon most of her life. She lives in the North Shore neighborhood with her husband, Jonathan Puskas, and their two dogs. Verdick owns local residential design firm Verdick Residential Designs and has previously worked in both corporate and nonprofit organizations.
"As an entrepreneur, I've been blessed to receive tremendous support and mentoring from our local community. When I started Verdick Residential Designs, a local mentor suggested I join the Chamber of Commerce and participate in Leadership Lake Oswego," Verdick said in a press release. "At its essence, Lake Oswego is a community of excellence where people care about each other and its overall quality of life."
Verdick has had many experiences in Lake Oswego that have helped shape her into the civic leader she is today.
She is the vice chair of the City's Historic Resources Advisory Board (HRAB), the president of Lake Oswego Preservation Society, and an active volunteer helping design the Lake Oswego Veterans and First Responders Memorial in Foothills Park and the future home of the Arts Council of Lake Oswego in the new City Hall.
Over the years, Verdick has served on various boards and committees of the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce including Young Professionals Lake Oswego, Leadership Lake Oswego, Lake Oswego Veterans Memorial Board, neighborhood associations and more.
"Inspired by the words of Margaret Meade, my goal as a City Councilor will be to maintain our community's sense of place while thoughtfully helping write the next chapter of our city's history," Verdick said in the press release. "Lake Oswego is a city marked by excellence where active people care about each other and the well-being of the city as a whole. I have always been a proactive volunteer and I am committed to continuing and improving on what makes Lake Oswego so special."
Two issues that are very important to Verdick are diversity, equity and inclusion as well as sustainability.
"We need to continue with our diversity, equity and inclusion. I believe that's extremely important," Verdick said. "I also believe our sustainability efforts are critical."
Being a small business owner herself, Verdick said it's important to support these businesses and was pleased with the economic funding the City Council approved to help struggling businesses amid the pandemic.
Verdick said she plans to bring her leadership qualities and thoughtful decision-making skills to the table if elected to the City Council.
"I like to listen to all sides of an issue prior to making a decision and then I want to make the best decisions for the citizens of our community," Verdick said.
Click here for more information about Verdick.
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