Who is Nick Chen?
How many more empty promises?
1. Empty Political Promises
I would love to tell you I am someone special. It probably takes a slight egomaniac to even consider writing their name down on a form to run as governor. I am not going to lie and say that I am incapable of such petty thoughts. I would like to think however that it would have to be a shared quality. One that is recognized by every candidate if they were honest with themselves. If I am not uniquely qualified to run, if I have the longest shot at winning the election, and if I am likely to have the least experience, then why would I run? Because…
I do not believe anyone is uniquely qualified to be individually responsible for such large a population. I believe a local community knows more about their needs than any one person could consider from their office in the capital.
I do not care that the two major parties have such a firm grip on the government. I must follow my conscious. I cannot fall into a lose/lose/lose situation by voting for the lesser of two evils while sacrificing my voice. No matter how insignificant it may seem, it is my voice and my conviction.
For too long I have watched as our elected officials play games with the law. They refuse to hold their own members accountable for the very crimes they accuse their opponents of committing. Victims of sexual assault paraded around when time is most convenient for the election cycle. Perpetrators excused of their actions because their party would lose the majority stake in power. Empty promises made to our faces while secretly shaking hands with donors behind closed doors. Politicians posing for populist sound bytes and positioning themselves for long careers. Careers spent creating laws while never living life underneath them. Deadlocking themselves with childish games, filibustering, and threatening the people with shut down.
Even now I am not here to make a political promises. I have no solutions vetted by more experienced sources. What I can offer is this…
I am not beholden to any donors. I have not taken money from any sources nor have I pledged to any cause. I have my own personal convictions but included among them is a strong belief in every individual’s fundamental rights and liberties. I do not have businesses and holdings which gives me the incentive to manipulate the system. I would like to be a small business owner own day. A dream that many people wish to accomplish. Perhaps a pizza place. Feed the community and give a few high schoolers the opportunity to save for college, and provide for my family. If that is your goal too then perhaps you would like to see progress towards making that a possibility for anyone willing to try.
Maybe I do not deserve the opportunity to lead the people. Even so the people deserve a choice beyond the two we have now. Right now I am one of the few who stood up and signed their name to the line. Fortunately for our state we have an elected cabinet. Roles like the Secretary of State are not filled by the governor. So you must ask yourself, could one person bring the whole system down? If they could, then what are we trying to save? Could slightly less experience spell the end, or are we already spiralling out of control?
“One of the illusions of life is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive hour. Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
2. a little bio
Who is Nick Chen?
We’ll have to start from before I was born to give a little context to the situation. My mother’s family migrated from Europe before the Civil War. I’ve done a DNA test and I’m just a mutt from all over the place. My father was born in Taiwan but was raised in Japan. He immigrated to the US in the 70’s. The first of his family began immigrating after the Federal Ban on Chinese Immigrants was lifted. They met in high school during a time when racial divide was prominent in this country but my grandparents did not think about race as a barrier to love. My father pointed that out to me recently as my Grandfather entered hospice. He is no longer with us but he asked me to run this race. My Grandpa Roy was sixteen when he joined the Navy to fight in World War II. He returned to the US from the Pacific theater and less than 40 years later his half asian grandson was born.
My father put himself through college working for the family restaurant. He not only maintained employment he double majored in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Speaking three languages, Chinese, Japanese, and English, helped him become very successful in the technology industry. He taught us an appreciation for science. He is an Atheist leaning Agnostic. If you prove him otherwise he is open minded but he would rather not talk about religion. My mother on the other hand brought my brothers and I up with a sense of both patriotism and a belief that something was out there. She would profess to be a Christian but we were never required to attend church as kids. This has led to me becoming a Theist leaning Agnostic. I only bring up my religious stance because it’s brought up a lot in American politics and I believe while it may annoy some this represents a very large portion of the population. I don’t know what is out there so I am not going to proselytize my beliefs.
Growing up in Lake Oswego I cannot claim a life filled with hardship. That came much later in life. I was provided many opportunities that others have not been provided but we were by no means living in the upper crusts of society. My father likes to go out into the garage and work on the car himself. He would eat a cheap and modest meal even if he could afford something more expensive. He often provides me with a great example of discipline. Discipline is something I struggled to develop in myself for a very long time. I had always tested well in school. I would receive top marks for the ACT, SAT, and ASVAB but seemed to find homework a little beyond my attention. With no real direction I headed off to college to work on my general credits. It was then I was encouraged to join the Navy by my Grandpa in order to gain some life experience and give myself focus.
Most people will tell you that PreNavy and PostNavy is where the discipline is clearly evident. I still remember the moment the Chief of my division in Boot Camp had me seated in the squat position of the Barracks. I was holding the Blue Jacket Manual reading from page 92 of our edition. The chapter was titled “Discipline” and I was being informed that my greatest weakness was my lack of it. Didn’t stop me from getting through and achieving up to 2nd Class Petty Officer as an Aviation Electronics Technician. No need to thank me for my service. I spent my time in a tool room getting in trouble for disobeying orders. After leaving the Navy I blew up from the bulky 230 pounds that I had been most of my adult life to 300 pounds. Maybe my chief was right?
My wife approached me one day announcing that she was pregnant with our first child. I was working as a car salesman because I have the gift of gab and had not yet discovered that I had a soul. I knew that I was going to have to offer that little girl a better life than what I had been preparing for my wife and I. I began working out and I enrolled at OIT to finish my Bachelors in Electrical Engineering. I had previously earned my Associates in Electronic Technologies because it was only a matter of paperwork having completing Navy “A” and “C” schools.
Shortly after returning to school I was informed that one of the largest tech companies in the area was having a mass retirement. Many of the employees had been there from the beginning and were about to leave all at once. I used this opportunity to get my foot in the door. I figured it would be easier to ask for a transfer than to ask for a job in a competitive field. Around this time I also hit my goal of losing 110 pounds. Through a disciplined program of nutrition and exercise I transformed my body.
I also became involved at 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu. It was here that I learned sometimes life will have you by the neck but you can’t give up. You have to grip tightly and fight. It also taught me that losing does not always mean walking away with nothing. I lose many fights in life, and will continue to lose more. However, with each defeat comes a lesson. It teaches me a weakness in my game. It teaches me a new strategy provided by my opponent.
My life has been full of mistakes. Whose hasn’t? But every mistake and the following lesson has made me a stronger person. Each failure a reminder of what it is to be human. Each failure bringing an opportunity to try again even harder. Learning that sometimes we must rely on each other because each person is struggling to get through life alongside you. Knowing we all make mistakes and knowing we all struggle together gives me hope. It means that we can reach over and hold each other up. It means we can learn to forgive each other. It means we can work together to make the world a better place whether we are forced to or not.