Former Oregon Gov. Roberts Shares Lessons with Emerging Leaders


Six-day training program helps young adults who are emerging leaders

By: Peter Wong, Statesman Journal

When Barbara Roberts first came to the Oregon Capitol four decades ago, her only involvement with the Legislature was with a member who agreed to help her with a bill.

She was there to speak up for the educational rights of a son with autism.

“I was scared to death, almost flat broke, and didn’t even know where to find the women’s restroom,” she wrote years later in her autobiography.

But more recently, Roberts led a group of more than two dozen young women around the Capitol, where she talked about the lessons she learned on her way to being elected Oregon’s first female governor in 1990.

For the ninth year, Roberts spoke as part of the National Education of Women’s (NEW) Leadership Oregon, sponsored by Portland State University. Participants are chosen from all Oregon universities and colleges.

The women spent a day at the Capitol as part of a six-day training program for college students who are emerging leaders. They do not have to study political science or be involved in student government.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for them,” Roberts said. “Those of us who came before did not have any way to learn what these young women are learning now. We had the ideals, but not necessarily the knowledge, though we got better at it as time went on.”

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