Manuel Castaneda, a business owner who grew up herding goats in a Mexican village, is running for the Oregon Legislature.
Castaneda, a Republican and a member of St. Cecilia Parish in Beaverton, runs a Washington County firm focusing on soil stabilization and seismic upgrades. He was named the Oregon Minority Small Business Person of the Year in 2008 and was awarded the Daily Journal of Commerce Minority Contractor Award in 2009.
Castaneda hopes to win the May Republican primary and go on to face five-term incumbent Democrat Jeff Barker. Castaneda is seen as a potential force when it comes to reforming state immigration policy. He also speaks about creating jobs.
He graduated from Forest Grove High School and started mowing lawns to earn money. That led to a landscaping business, study in engineering and earth science and then the current enterprise, which employs 30 people.
“The 'American Dream' is fading for too many Oregonians, and kids don’t have the same opportunities I had when I immigrated here as a teenager,” Castaneda said. "Unfortunately, I see fewer young entrepreneurs because our kids aren’t prepared to compete and our government discourages hard work and innovation.”