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My Name is Richard Esterman, Otherwise Known as, 'The Commoner Running for Governor'Richard Esterman for Salem-News.com
I was taught at an early age that anything in life is possible, and there is no such word as can’t.
(BEND, Ore.) - I have been a resident of Sisters since 1989.
I call myself a Photographic Artist from the College of Common Sense. I am self taught and have been doing my photography since 1982. My photography has taken me through every state in the United States including the state of confusion.
In 1996, I began taking photos professionally and witnessing other walks of life outside of the United States. To date, I have had the opportunity to visit 34 countries. I have traveled from the beaches of Normandy, stood before the pyramids of Egypt, walked through the holy paths of Israel and have touched the ruins of Machu Piccu.
I was born in Santa Monica, California on March 5, 1956. My father worked for the postal service as a Letter Carrier and my mother was a stay-at-home mom. I have two brothers that were born two years apart after me. Money did not grow on trees in our household. Besides my dad putting in a full time week with the post office, he, my brothers and I would pick up an early morning paper and hit the garage sales looking for old typewriters and adding machines or anything that needed some repair. We would fix these items and resell them to make extra money to put food on our table.
In 1962, we moved to Simi Valley, California. Our two-story tract home was in the middle of orange and walnut groves. I attended school in Simi Valley. My first job was a paper route at the age of 9. When I reached the age of fifteen, I began to pester the manager of an Alpha Beta Market, and did so on a weekly basis for six months until he hired me. Mr. Benton, my store manager, was a very strict supervisor. He wore cowboy boots with sharp tips and always muttered the words “Let’s get Crackin'” and “Never Assume.”
After my first year at Alpha Beta Markets, I was given the opportunity to be a foreign exchange student by my store manager through Lion’s International. I was in Japan the summer of 1973 for six weeks. This is where I got my taste for foreign travel, and little did I know at the time that it would be the birth of my photography career. After my trip to Japan, a family friend who was in the Art business viewed some of my pictures. He was impressed with my composition and my eye for photography.
While I was in my senior year of high school, I enlisted in the Air force Reserves. That summer after I graduated, I took a leave of absence from the grocery business to ship out to boot camp. Little did I know at the time, that on my ship-out day, I was not going anywhere. On my final physical exam, they discovered I had a hernia and the government was not going to pay for it... so I was given an honorable discharge.
I went back into the grocery business, later transferring to Phoenix, Arizona in 1978, and worked my way up to management. I was in the grocery business for ten years. During that time, I learned how to market, merchandise, manage and most importantly how to work with others to accomplish a common goal.
In January of 1982, I left the grocery business to become a self-employed photographer. I went from $3,200.00 a month to $500.00 a month in wages. This is when the reality set in of not being able to rely on a paycheck. When you are self-employed, it is a totally different way of life. You learn quickly that if you do not push yourself, you will not survive.
It was the 15th of February, 1987 when I hit the lowest moment of my life, and the worst thing a parent could endure. I found my son Michael, six years old, at the bottom of our backyard pool. It was from that day forward that I began to speak my mind and stand up for others. Life is very short and until proven otherwise, we need to live our lives to the fullest.
On a photographic road trip to Alaska in 1988, I stopped to visit a friend along the way in Sisters, Oregon. Immediately, falling in love with the area and desperately needing a change of scenery, I relocated to Sisters in March of 1989.
There are many things we do not know. Most of us just assume, and never take the time to look deeper than the surface. It is easier to blame than to be accountable and take responsibility.
In February of this year, I decided to stop complaining and to get off my couch, to step up to the plate and run for Governor of the State of Oregon. I called my friend Gary Dale, whom I was involved with in a group that we started in the mid 'nineties called “Parents for Equal Rights.” I ran my crazy idea of running for Governor by him, and here we are today.
I was taught at an early age that anything in life is possible, and there is no such word as can’t. Even though I'm a long shot at winning this race, I am going to give it my all.
The People of Oregon need to have a voice, and need to be listened to. I hear that voice from all sides of the fence, knowing that it is impossible to please everyone. We all want the same light at the end of the tunnel. How we get there is what counts.
The choice this year for Governor is different than in any previous election year... You can either vote for typical career and money candidates, which put us in the mess we are in today, or elect a Commoner that can get us back on track.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve the people, but, somewhere down the line it became a career. Nowhere in the constitution does it state career, money, Democrat or Republican. This is not my ultimate goal in life. It is just a path along the way that an inner voice is telling me to travel down.
I researched and chose the hardest way to run for Governor in this State for a few reasons... If you work hard for something it is appreciated, and it creates character from its inherent hard-earned experiences along the way. I plan to take action against the existing process that allows discrimination, and is in violation of our "Bill of Rights" in the Oregon Constitution. In order to change a process, one must identify the problems therein, and make a full-press attempt to implement and effect the necessary changes. My goal is to make it easier for all those who would like to serve, who get discouraged by the present process.
Finally, I am running as an Individual – Non-Affiliated (Independent) - because we need a wake-up call to be reminded that it is about the People - not party differences and who has the most money. It is not a two party system. It is a one party system, The Party of the People.
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