On Wednesday night, Troy Reinhart asked the Deschutes County Commissioner the tough questions so attendees could learn more about who Baney is both inside and outside of her role as an elected official.
“Well first, I’m Addy’s mom, I think that’s most important” Baney told an audience of about 50 at Deschutes Brewery. “My job, what I do, is serve. What I love about what I do is I serve the community I was raised in.”
Baney, who became a Deschutes County Commissioner in 2007, said Deschutes County Commissioners handle a wide gamut of issues ranging from homelessness and healthcare to road infrastructure.
Baney told the crowd she is one of five woman elected as a commissioner in nearly 100 years.
“I’ve never played the ‘I’m a girl’ card. It doesn’t matter. I want to work hard, I expect you to work hard. It doesn’t matter what your gender is,” she said. “I want people to be afforded opportunity because they are working hard and applying themselves. So I’ve never looked at (being female) as a hindrance by any means.”
Reinhart, partner with Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management, asked Baney what advice she would give her daughter.
“Be yourself and not someone else…Be you, you are the best you and you are the only you. Get good at that,” Baney said.
Next, she said, “Nothing is going to come to you that is really worth having by just happenstance. We have to apply ourselves. You really are going to get what you give.”
She told the audience one of her personal secrets is she doesn’t have a four-year degree, but hopes to earn one before her daughter goes into college.
Baney’s background is in business management and real estate sales/investments. When she was 34 she started thinking about running for office.
“I had a fair amount of people say, ‘Tammy I think that’s awesome, have you thought about a homeowners association? Have you thought maybe about a school board or something?” Baney said.
She said her sights were set on being a commissioner because she knew her voice would be powerful in Salem as a local elected official.
“I don’t see barriers, I see opportunity,” she said. “I don’t hear no.”
Reinhart asked Baney what can be done to get people to start dreaming again.
Baney said a supportive community will help people dream. She said the community is failing its kids in a lot of ways.
“I’ve met enough young kids that are here that are afraid to dream. We have an undercurrent in our community of those that are living just one car breakdown from losing their job and losing their ability to feel like they have some sort of security,” she said.
In order for people to have hope, she said the community has to be willing to recognize some of the social things that are occurring that are keeping people from feeling secure.
“I worry that education is costly. The burden of school debt … and the worry of that for some will keep them from that dream,” she said.
Baney said her definition of success for her life isn’t a dollar amount.
“Is success the home, the car, the vacations? Or is success the health, the family and that unity?” Baney said.
What matters to her, she said, is her health and her family.
See the entire interview with Tammy Baney on the Bend Chamber YouTube channel.