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 and raised in Los Angeles. I moved to Orange County when I was 16 to attend UC Irvine, then back up to LA for my Masters in Architecture from UCLA, where I met Homer Oatman. We married and settled in Orange County in 1984.  I worked for WATG Architects for many years, heading up their new AutoCAD division while designing their hotels (many of them sustainable green hotels).

Then Homer & I became parents - 5 babies in 5 years (4 boys; 1 girl); for 14 years, I took some time away from the corporate world to run my own residential architectural practice from home. While the kids attended Andersen Elementary School, 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 and roller hockey teams.

When our kids were all at Corona Del Mar High School, I went back to work again in the corporate world, earned my LEED-accreditation (“Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design”), and had the opportunity to work on sustainable hotel projects in Europe, Mexico and Caribbean.  

Then in 2008, Homer & I lost our jobs in the Great Recession, with 3 kids in college, 2 in high school. We immediately started Oatman Architects. During that time pre-ACA, many people (including ourselves) had no health insurance; so I started a second nutrition 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 common-sense, forward-thinking solutions back to Washington, D.C."

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

Then came the elections of last November. Over the last 8 years, we had seen slow but steady progress back to economic stability in our lives, what was happening in America. After the election, we feared going back to unrestrained greed that would lead to another economic collapse. We worried about climate change going unchecked, money being taken away from education when we most need 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 meet monthly, offering the many newly-awakened OC activists with education, networking, and resources for where they can best channel their time and treasure into existing progressive clubs.

Then my daughter and I participated in the Women’s March in Washington DC in January, and it was at the Women’s March that I regained the hope that I felt I had lost last November.  Millions of people 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’ve been waiting for – not a career politician, not a billionaire, just a hard-working small business owner and a mother, concerned about the future for her kids and her future grandkids, 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 all healthy and well, and of course, a healthy sustainable planet.  I have lived here since I was 16, have raised my five kids here, have multiple roots in this community, and friends on both sides of the aisle. I am invested in this community, in this county, and in this country, and when I get to Washington in 2018, I will fight for ALL of us.

The rest of the story is still to come.

The best days are still ahead.

Forward!

Laura Oatman

People and Planet Over Partisanship

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