(Update: Adding interview video)
Editor's note: NewsChannel 21 reached out to all of the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor and asked if they would respond to the same set of questions. We are presenting their answers online, in full and as sent, except for any minor typos/spelling errors.
Republican candidate Nick Hess
- What sets you apart from the other candidates?
What sets me apart from their other candidates comes back to my experience as CEO and my technical experience in technology and cybersecurity. Oregon is in desperate need of good leadership. There is a big divide between urban and rural communities and between the two political parties. Current Oregon leadership has either mangled or disregarded any calls to fix this.
And that is where a business leader can help--a CEO gets things done. We make deals every day, inspire our employees, and keep things moving. The primary job of a CEO is making sure your employees and customers are successful. We live by the motto of: your success is my success. But everywhere I turn, the people of Oregon aren’t winning yet the same politicians keep getting elected. As governor of Oregon, this is my goal: to get results for the people of Oregon and to ensure they have every opportunity to be successful in their own lives, whatever that looks like to them.
To get things done, the government needs to embrace technology like the private sector. With my experience in technology, I want to improve transparency between the government and its citizens. I want to make state data transparent. That includes election, healthcare, education, and budgets 100% available and information easily accessible by every Oregonian.
- What are your top three priorities and plans to address them?
My top 3 priorities are: Public Safety, Homelessness, and Education.
With public safety, we need to hire and train more police officers. All police officers hired in the state attend the state police academy in which there is currently up to a 2 year waiting list. We need to add more sessions and get more police officers in our community. Every police officer in the state of Oregon must be equipped with high-frame body cameras to increase transparency and accuracy of reporting. I want to see more community engagement with our police force.
With homelessness, we have amazing non-profits doing critical work across the state but we need more. More state-level grants need to be available for private non-profits with proven models of success. Additionally, we must leverage technology and track available beds in real-time with web-based applications similar to Hotels.com. Currently, in 2022, that information is still being tracked by spreadsheets and phone calls. We can do better. For my full homelessness plan, please visit votehess.com.
With education, I am a supporter of school choice and create competition between private and public schools. The state pays approximately $11,920 per student and under school choice, that money would follow the student in the form of vouchers. You and your family should have options. But there also needs to be accountability and transparency within the classroom. Private schools have begun installing cameras in the classroom. Parents can be more informed and know what is happening throughout the day. If a student is out sick, cameras allow the student to still be able to access classroom lessons.
- What one accomplishment are you most proud of and why?
I am proud of my accomplishments in business. I started my first business at 14 building computers. I have spent the last 21+ years building multiple tech businesses from the ground up. I have hired and worked beside fantastic employees. I have gotten to know their families and watch them grow. I have also worked beside business owners, helping them thrive by navigating the changing world of technology.
I am thankful of my accomplishments but I am also thankful of the opportunity to do so. And it is this opportunity that I want every Oregonian to experience if they choose to do so. I believe in the old adage: If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. Our state must give people the tools to create the life they want rather than provide for them. This means putting more money into the pockets of everyday Oregonians by cutting taxes, lowering the cost of housing, and attracting good, high-paying jobs to Oregon.
- Why should Central Oregonians vote for you?
Oregonians do not need another career politician as governor. We need a leader that gets things done and one that can heal our great political divide. We need a leader that brings people together, to LISTEN, and someone who can find common ground.
In November, Oregonians need options on the ballot. Betsy Johnson and the Democratic primary front-runners are all politicians who have contributed to the mess Oregon is in. A far-right candidate will never win in the state of Oregon. As a fiscally responsible, socially moderate Portland native, I provide an electable alternative to these candidates.
If you want to return Oregon to pristine conditions that protect our state for future generations. If you envision clean and safe streets, low crime, and a thriving economy with high-paying jobs. If you want to see Oregon become a hub that grows, attracts, and fosters the next generation of leaders. If you want to raise the quality of education in our public school and ensure a prosperous future for our children, then I ask for your consideration on May 17th.
Please visit votehess.com to see what's possible in the state of Oregon.