Cheri Helt is a candidate for Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industry (Labor Commissioner) and a former state representative from Bend. On May 17, she finished in second place in the primary, meaning she will move to the general election in November and face civil rights attorney Christina Stephenson.
While this statewide position is nonpartisan, Cheri is a moderate Republican and business owner. Previously, she served on the Bend-La Pine School Board for nearly a decade. In this episode, we talk about her experience as a moderate Republican in the legislature (including a couple of difficult votes she took on the Student Success Act and vaccines). We also cover her vision for the role of Labor Commissioner (apprenticeships, workforce development, BOLI staffing, etc). We have an interesting exchange on the famous "Sweet Cakes by Melissa" decision on LGBTQ+ rights and religious freedom (which played out under Commissioners Brad Avakian and Val Hoyle, but may be resolved by the next Commissioner) where Helt describes how she would approach the decision.