I’m running for Congress to bring people together and work to bring common-sense, forward-thinking solutions back to Washington, D.C.

Meet Laura

I am a Southern California native, born in Los Angeles, moved to Orange County when I was 16 to attend UC Irvine, then back to UCLA for my Masters in Architecture where I met Homer Oatman. We married and settled in Orange County in 1984.  I became a licensed architect and worked for WATG Architects for many years, heading up their brand new AutoCAD division while designing hotel projects.

Then Homer & I became parents - 5 babies in 5 years (4 boys; 1 girl)!  For 14 years, I took some time off from the corporate world to run my own residential architecture practice from the home office. While the kids attended Andersen Elementary, I worked from home, served on our homeowners board of directors & architectural committee, represented Our Lady Queen of Angels Church on the Newport-Mesa-Irvine Interfaith Council, and was “team mom” to countless ayso soccer, roller hockey and ice hockey teams.

When the kids were all in high school at Corona Del Mar High, I went back to work again at WATG, earned my LEED-accreditation (“Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design”) so I could design environmentally-friendly buildings, and had the opportunity to manage sustainable hotel projects in Europe, Mexico and Caribbean.  

Then in 2008, Homer & I both lost our jobs in the Great Recession, with 3 kids in college and 2 in high school. We immediately started our own small business - Oatman Architects. During that time pre-ACA, many people (including ourselves) had no health insurance, so I started a second health/wellness business, Whole Earth Wellness.  I was active in women’s professional groups during this time  - NAWBO & eWomen Network – and mentored young women to become successful professionals.

"I’m running for Congress to bring people together and work to bring commonsense, forward-thinking solutions back to Washington, D.C."

As the economy steadily improved, Oatman Architects also grew and became a highly-acclaimed architectural firm. We now pride ourselves on offering our 7 employees the same benefits of a much larger firm – comprehensive health insurance, vision, dental, even wellness programs. For Homer & I, there is no greater joy than being able to add good paying jobs to our building industry after the brutal effects of 2008.  Our 5 kids were all able to successfully complete their college degrees. I was working full-time at Oatman Architects, but also offering free workshops to the community on the environment and health & wellness. Everything was going in the right direction. Our country, our community, our business and our family was moving forward.

Then came the elections of November, 2016. I felt sick. Over the last 8 years, we had seen slow but steady progress back to economic stability in our lives, mirroring what was happening across America. After the election, we feared going back again to unrestrained Wall Street greed and an unregulated banking industry that would lead to another economic collapse. We worried about climate change going unchecked, money being taken away from public education when we most need public education, and health care taken away from those who need it most.  We worried about the impact on women’s rights, and civil rights for all.  We worried about bullying and hate speech now being normalized. And to make matters worse, we felt like the soul of our country was impossibly divided, as some celebrated while others grieved the exact same election results.

After a few days, I gathered a handful of friends who I knew felt the same way, and from that small meeting was born the grassroots political activist group - Orange County Progressives. We started with about 10, now we are approaching 1,000 members. We meet monthly, offering the many newly-awakened OC activists education, networking, and resources where they can best channel their time and energy into existing progressive clubs in the area.

In January 2017, my daughter and I participated in the Women’s March in Washington DC. It was then that I finally regained the hope that I felt I had lost just 3 months before.  Millions of people, not just women, marching in solidarity with one another, standing up for one another’s rights and liberties, standing up for those who were feeling most vulnerable, the ones who felt their voices extinguished.  THIS is what democracy looks like.

I regained hope that day. I also gained passion and purpose, to go into public service and become the representative that I’d been waiting for – not a career politician, not a billionaire, just a hard-working small business owner and a mother, concerned about the future, who wants to make sure her kids and grandkids have the best education that trains them for jobs of the future, the best health care that keeps them healthy and well, and of course, a healthy, sustainable, and peaceful planet.  

As an architect, I have been trained to take a dream, put together a team, create a plan, work that plan, and make the dream a reality.  There are no architects in Congress, yet these are exactly the skills that Congress needs today.  A visionary, but also someone who can get the job done. As someone who has managed multiple large hotel projects around the world, who created two businesses from the ground-up, and who successfully raised five children, I know how to get things done... And I share a vision with you of a world that is peaceful and prosperous for everyone, and with your help, we can get this done, too.


Laura Oatman

People and Planet Over Partisanship

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