Susan’s Story

Susan is a 5th-generation Oregonian, raised on farms in the north Willamette Valley.  Her family valued integrity and a strong work ethic.  When Susan was young, she got involved in 4-H and raised sheep, swine, and beef cattle with her brothers and sisters.  She picked strawberries and green beans to make money for school clothes and pay for 4-H projects – these values of hard work and responsible spending have guided Susan throughout her life.

From the time Susan was 14 years old, she was involved with speech and debate. This experience taught her that if a community needed to solve a problem, it was important to bring together multiple perspectives to identify solutions—and that listening thoughtfully was every bit as important as making your point well.

Going to school was the heart of the experience Susan had with her community, so she decided to get a teaching degree from the Oregon College of Education (Western Oregon University).  Shortly after graduating, she began teaching and coaching speech and debate in Hillsboro. For the last 40 years, she has woken up every day feeling grateful for the opportunity to have a positive impact on her community. In 2011, Susan was honored to receive a Crystal Apple award for outstanding local teachers from the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce.  In 2022 she was inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame in recognition of her contributions as an Educator and Coach to high school Speech and Debate, both in Oregon and nationally. 

Susan and her late husband raised their family together in Forest Grove and Susan has attended church in Cornelius for more than twenty years. Her husband owned a machine shop in Cornelius and worked very hard to provide for the family, like so many other small business owners that make up the character and fabric of the community.

Susan’s background made her passionate about funding education, and about the way we balance protecting Oregon’s natural resources with creating the infrastructure that families and the economy need to thrive.  These are the issues that first led her to run for Metro Council in 1990, where she served until 2006.  In 2015, Susan was elected to serve her first term in the State Legislature.  Over the last seven years, she has worked tirelessly for her constituents in House District 29.  As someone who has served our community as an elected leader for 23 years, Susan has always worked to be a good listener and make sure the public has input on issues of education funding, land use and planning, transportation, and solid waste.  It was – and always will be – important to Susan to make sure she is helping facilitate a government that is part of the solution, and not the problem.

Susan has worked her whole life to give children a great education, protect Oregon’s beautiful farmlands, and find sensible solutions to allow families and the economy to thrive. She will continue to work every day in Salem for the same priorities.