Lincoln County small businessman David Gomberg has announced he will seek the Democratic nomination to represent Lincoln County in the state House of Representatives.
The news comes two months after incumbent Rep. Jean Cowan (D-Newport) announced she would not seek another term representing House District 10, which includes portions of Lincoln, Tillamook, Polk, and Yamhill counties.
Gomberg, who, together with his wife, Susan, owns Gomberg Kite Productions and Northwest Winds Kite Stores, said he wants to put his business experience to work in the Legislature.
"For more than 20 years, we've lived here on the Coast, built a successful business, created jobs, and worked to make our community better," Gomberg said. "I'm ready to use my experience and my enthusiasm to help create a better economic future for families up and down Oregon's coast."
In addition to running three retails stores and organizing performances for Disney, the Superbowl and motion pictures, the Gombergs received statewide recognition in 2004 when Gomberg Kite Productions was among the finalists in the Excellence in Family Business Awards run by Oregon State University's Austin Family Business program.
"I'm a Democratic businessman with international trade experience," Gomberg said. "But more important, I'm a small town, family businessman who understands what it takes to survive in a down economy and put people to work."
Gomberg, who holds a master's degree in economics, history and political science from Oregon State University and an MBA from Willamette University, is no stranger to Salem, having worked two sessions in the Oregon Legislature - first as a legislative chief-of-staff, and then as administrator of the House Education Committee.
Later, he served as an administrative law judge for the Motor Vehicles Division before moving to the Coast to take a position as executive director of the Lincoln City Chamber of Commerce. Two years later, he left to focus on his own business.
"With Jean's retirement, we're losing experience, seniority and a strong voice for Coastal concerns," Gomberg said. "My own work in the legislature and with administrative rules was a long time ago. But it will give me a head start on the job when I'm elected."
Cowan said she is pleased to support Gomberg in his bid for office.
"David has a diverse background and experience in both the private and public sector that will serve this district well," she said. "He has already proven himself a hard worker and an articulate advocate for the community."
Oregon Coast Community College President Patrick O'Connor has also leant his support, saying Gomberg played a critical role in the early development of the college.
"I've worked with David many years and know he is more interested in finding solutions than scoring political victories," O'Connor said.
County Commissioner Don Lindly said Gomberg has proposed steps to empower home-based business in the county and, more recently, suggested to ways to resolve the animal shelter issue.
"I'm pleased to see someone with his ideas and commitment running," Lindly said.
Gomberg is currently the sole candidate for the Democratic nomination, which will be decided at the May 15, 2012, primary election.
Voters will go on to chose Cowan's replacement in the November 2012 general election.
The deadline for candidates to file for the seat is March 6, 2012.