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State Representative Brian Clem believes we need bold leaders with fresh ideas to move Oregon in a new direction. He knows our state has what it takes to succeed - hardworking citizens, incredible natural resources, an innovative spirit, and a commitment to making our communities better for everyone. And he knows that Oregonians want public servants who are willing to listen, and then lead boldly with progressive values.
A fifth-generation Oregonian, Brian and his brother were raised in Coos Bay by a single mother who struggled to make ends meet. With financial aid, scholarships and student loans, Brian worked his way through Oregon State University, graduating with honors. During his Senior year, he served as the student body president where he fought for greater access to higher education for low income Oregonians .
By then, Brian knew his interests lay in public policy and public service. He learned how the Legislature works while serving as an aide to State Senator Cliff Trow, an OSU professor. Later, he worked for U.S. Senator Ron Wyden and learned how to help everyday Oregonians with their concerns. His time with Senator Wyden also gave him a deep understanding of local government issues around the state.
After years in public service, Brian decided to enter the private sector. In 2000, he used his expertise in computer systems to open OnSite PC Help in Salem. Together with his wife, Carol Suzuki, he also helped operate her family's 80-acre fruit orchard near Hood River. Through both enterprises, Brian learned firsthand about the tough challenges facing Oregon's small businesses.
Brian settled in as a leader in the Salem community, joining the Chamber of Commerce and twice being elected president of the Salem City Club. He was also appointed to the Student Assistance Commission, where he served four years as chairman and led efforts to help thousands more students afford to go to college.
In 2006, deeply dissatisfied with the direction of our state, Brian ran for state representative. He won in a landslide, defeating a popular incumbent Republican with over 60% of the vote. He kept his promises and worked hard for his neighbors. Republicans and Democrats elected him to a second term in 2008.
As a legislator, Brian won the respect of his colleagues for his work to bring urban and rural Oregonians together on key issues, like promoting the use of Oregon-grown crops in our public schools. Brian's real-world experience helped him become a leading voice on agriculture, small business and land-use issues.
In 2009, he became Chairman of the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Communities Committee, where he worked to bridge the gap between Oregon's rural and urban communities. He also served on the Higher Education Subcommittee, where he pushed for expanded access to college for all Oregonians. In 2009, Brian successfully led a bipartisan effort to keep a jewel of Oregon's landscape pristine forever. He sponsored the law to protect the Metolius River Basin against California-style resort development. Former Governor Vic Atiyeh joined Brian in the fight.
Brian and his wife Carol live in the Bush Park neighborhood of Salem with their daughter Kohana.