The Benton County Elections Office plans to mail out ballots this week for the Nov. 8 general election and in an effort to help voters get to know the candidates a little better, the Philomath News asked each of them five questions.

This is the second of a five-part series of questions and answers to be published this week at PhilomathNews.com. Two candidates are running for state representative in the 10th district — incumbent David Gomberg and challenger Celeste McEntee.

This is the second of five questions asked of the candidates. Each candidate was allowed no more than 200 words for each individual answer with no exceptions. Answers were edited only for punctuation and typos and to conform to newspaper style guidelines (abbreviations, capitalization, etc.).

What background do you have in your personal and professional life that you believe work in your favor to represent citizens in your district?

GOMBERG: Over the course of 35 years, my wife Susan and I built a successful small business. We manufactured kites. We had wholesale, web pages and stores. I was elected president of our trade association.

I learned what small employers face striving to find employees, deal with regulations, pay taxes and satisfy customers. Very few legislators go to Salem with that experience. I often observe that I don’t think there are five people in the Capitol that actually own a cash register.

We have now retired our business and I serve the district full time.

I’m a graduate of Oregon State (long ago) where I served as student body president, earned a bachelor’s, a master’s in political science, economics and history, and then an MBA at Willamette.

I’m now serving in the Oregon Legislature where I am vice chair of the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee, co-chair Transportation and Economic Development, am a member of the Wildfire Recovery Committee and on the Senior Services Commission, Small Business Advisory Council and Seismic Safety Commission.

In the Capitol, experience, relationships, seniority and an understanding of the process work in our district’s favor. I use that experience every day to better represent our district.

MCENTEE: I grew up with a single mother in a house of four children. I was instilled at an early age the value of hard work and doing what’s right to make ends meet and putting others above one’s self. Now, I have a wonderful husband, four incredible children and an amazing family I’ve raised here in Newport — where I’ve worked to instill them with those same values.

Practicing what you preach is important to me. On top of being a mother and wife, I also am an entrepreneur and help run my husband’s family restaurants. But to me, that’s not about simply running businesses; it’s about giving back to the community.

I spend a lot of my time volunteering and finding ways to make my community around me a better place to live, work and raise a family. During COVID, I went to the frontlines to help provide families with food to eat and that children had food to eat. This selfless mentality is the same focus I’ll bring to Salem as your next representative. I’ll always put the people of this district first.

Coming Wednesday: What politician, whether it’s local, state or federal, do you most admire or has had the most influence on you as you go through your own journey seeking office?

CANDIDATES Q-and-A
PUBLISHED
Monday, Oct. 17: How would you define the responsibilities of a state legislator and what do you believe constitutes appropriate and effective citizen representation?
Tuesday, Oct. 18: What background do you have in your personal and professional life that you believe work in your favor to represent citizens in your district?
COMING
Wednesday, Oct. 19: What politician, whether it’s local, state or federal, do you most admire or has had the most influence on you as you go through your own journey seeking office?
Thursday, Oct. 20: Redistricting has placed Philomath in House District 10 and with your background and residency on the coast, do you believe you’ll need to adjust or balance your approach in how you would represent the various interests that you might find in these communities?
Friday, Oct. 21: Housing, health care, transportation and education are examples of common issues that come up during elections. What’s the one issue that really gets you worked up, something you want to prioritize, during a two-year House term?

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.