About Bernadette

I grew up in a military family and spent most of my early life living in many foreign countries. My father served in the U.S. Air Force and is buried in Arlington Cemetery for his steadfast service to our country. My mother was a first generation Japanese-American immigrant who embodied the American spirit and worked hard to become an American citizen. After returning to Oregon, I attended University of Oregon and graduated with degrees in East Asian Studies & International Business.

I am a longtime public servant who has worked for the Oregon State Legislature (Senate Water Policy Committee Administrator), Oregon Water Resources Department (Natural Resource Manager), and Greater Yamhill Watershed Council (Executive Director). I have spent my whole life uniting people from different backgrounds around common goals.

From a young age, I was taught the importance of responsible and moral leadership from my military father, who served in the U.S. Air Force. As the Executive Director of the Greater Yamhill Watershed Council, I used those lessons to lead teams of individuals on restoration projects, ensuring responsible management of our district’s resources.

While employed by the Oregon Water Resources Department (15+ years), I had the privilege of working and living in beautiful Eastern Oregon. Stationed in Baker City and Pendleton, I worked with farmers and ranchers to develop water management plans and water right transfers. There I learned that regardless of political affiliation, social ideology or economic status, people have much more in common than not. By listening to my clients’ concerns, in a non-judgmental and respectful way, we were able to create “win-win” solutions. I left with a genuine sense of belonging and earned the respect of those I worked with.

The politics of division and the absence of policies that help rural communities must be addressed – economic opportunity and infrastructure, access to health care, education, and making government work for all of us. Not just for the sake of our democracy, but for the sake of people’s lives and livelihoods. My hope is to work with other legislators from rural Oregon to revitalize our communities. Together, we can increase investment in and support for economic opportunities in farming, ranching, forestry, and manufacturing. Innovation, technology, and collaboration can lead to new practices, products, and industries that could provide jobs in rural areas. I know we can build the necessary bridges to find common ground to solve problems. This isn’t rocket science, it just requires patience and hard work. We can and must do better.

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