About Cheri Helt

Cheri Helt is a working mom, small business owner, former State Representative, and former nine-year member of the Bend-La Pine School Board. Cheri and her husband Steve are the co-owners of Zydeco Kitchen and Cocktails. Cheri and Steve met when she asked him to a high school dance, and they’ve been in love ever since – married 28 years. Cheri grew up in a working-class family in Michigan where she earned her degree in psychology from Michigan State. Not new to restaurant work, her first job was at a Wendy’s when she was 15 years old.

As a small business owner, Cheri takes an active interest in her co-workers, customers, and community. Cheri and Steve support employees with 100% employer-paid health benefits and generous retirement benefits. They are active in numerous community events and organizations and whenever possible, they purchase locally sourced, organic, and sustainable products.

When it comes to leadership and policy, Cheri considers herself a public servant, not an active partisan. She rejects the rigid left-right extremes that too often define politics today and believes the best solutions are found when people come together and find common ground.

18 years ago, Cheri and Steve were drawn to Oregon, like so many others, by the opportunity to start their own business, raise a family and enjoy the incredible outdoor lifestyle. They invested their life savings and today employ 60 people. Cheri and Steve have three children – Harrison, 22, serving in Eastern Europe as a member of the Oregon National Guard, Maddie, 21, attending art college, and Faye 11, attending public middle school. And together as a family, no matter the season, they love to enjoy and explore the mountains, rivers, lakes, and trails of Oregon.

As Commissioner of Bureau of Labor Industries,  Cheri will lead the fight for Oregon working families:

  • Vigorously defend workers’ civil rights and right to receive fair pay for their hard work
  • Work to fully and quickly implement paid family medical leave, which Cheri helped pass in the Legislature
  • Strengthen and expand access to apprenticeship programs
  • Partner with employers, employees, and homebuilders to create more affordable workforce housing
  • Position Oregon’s workforce and small businesses to propel a growing and sustainable Oregon economy that benefits all workers

Cheri is a proven and trusted ally of Oregon working families:

  • With her colleagues passed strongest paid family medical leave plan in the nation
  • Protected family budgets from rising taxes, and fees on rents, utilities, gas and cell phones
  • Pioneered affordable workforce housing solutions
  • Fighter for unemployment and health benefits for those in need
  • As School Board member, improved outcomes and opportunities for kids, results not rhetoric
  • Twice nominated by Independent Party of Oregon
  • Proudly supported by member sof all political parties
  • Bipartisan leader in Oregon Legislature