Point #86: Profile of Diana Carpenter

March 14th, 2018

This November, we will begin the draining of the Salem swamp!

I’m Sam Carpenter running for Oregon Governor, and today I want to cover a vital topic: Diana, Oregon’s next First Lady!

Diana Bybee and I were married last November, in Stearns, Kentucky. We have a second home there, but reside permanently in Bend. (I’ve been an Oregon resident for 43 years.)

How did Diana and I meet? At a week-long Leadership Institute workshop on campaign management in Arlington Virginia back in 2015. (From the LI website: The Leadership Institute provides training in campaigns, fundraising, grassroots organizing, youth politics, and communications. The Institute teaches conservatives of all ages how to succeed in politics, government, and the media.)

As you read this, you’ll see that Diana is particularly well prepared to be Oregon’s First Lady.

She tells me she is especially thrilled about the opportunity to do hands-on, non-profit work for Oregon children: particularly relating to vocational school training, foster care, and rural poverty issues, including drug and alcohol addiction. Diana is a dig-in-and-get-it-done woman, gregarious, smart, a wonderful public speaker; incredibly organized yet down-to-earth pragmatic. And, as you can see, she’s beautiful!

She describes herself as a Christian; a mother, a daughter, and a wife…and a dog-lover and a quilter! And I can tell you first-hand, she’s a gourmet chef.

I’m a lucky man!

Here’s a quick bio…

Born in Mississippi, the daughter of an Air Force Tech Sergeant, she has three sisters and a brother, all scattered across the U.S. but still, very close. Most of her early years were in California, but when she was nine, upon her father’s retirement, the family moved to McCreary County in rural Eastern Kentucky.

Once a thriving coal mining, timber and textile manufacturing center, Kentucky’s McCreary County now has the distinction of repeatedly ranking among the ten poorest counties in all of the United States. (There are approximately 3,000 counties in the U.S.).

Diana is first-hand familiar with rural poverty and the challenges it forces upon families, particularly children. She’ll tell you the transformation of the county in the late 70’s, from an idyllic rural family hideaway to an economically wasted backwater, had everything to do with bad international trade deals and the heavy-hand of government’s environmental and natural resource over-regulation.

Sound familiar?

With a career in public service in mind, she graduated from Cumberland College in Williamsburg, KY in 1984 with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health Administration, a teaching degree in Health Education, a teaching minor in Psychology, and a Master’s Degree in Health Education.

Working various jobs, including as a resident assistant, she worked herself through college (and if questioned, she will humbly admit that she graduated, with all those undergraduate degrees, summa cum laude in three years.

Diana’s professional career has been about children: from working with communities and schools in the fields of substance abuse prevention and mental health education, to providing pre-natal classes for expectant mothers, to a Youth Service Center Director. Children have always been her central focus.

For twenty years, she also taught second-offender DUI classes, as well as worked with local and state courts to provide guidance for families who had their children removed from their homes due to substance abuse issues.

Diana has thirteen years of experience managing therapeutic foster homes for Social Services and Juvenile Justice.

Most recently, for the last nine years and until January 2017, she was the Human Resource Manager for Outdoor Venture Corporation. OVC is a prime supplier of military modular tent systems, base camp components, and military accessories for the US Department of Defense, international governments and private industry. Her work there brought her into even more intimate familiarity with workers’ job-related and personal challenges.

Diana has also been committed to serving her community and Kentucky. She’s served concurrently on a dozen different Boards of Directors for various state and regional organizations, Including three terms as President of the McCreary County Chamber of Commerce.

Before our marriage last fall, she was a single parent for over 20 years. Her daughter Amy, was the valedictorian of her high school class, is now a seventh-grade mathematics teacher in Stearns, finishing up her Master’s Degree in Working with Exceptional Children. Amy was recently married, so we now have a new son-in-law!

And now, Diana travels with me to nearly every campaign stop and is intimately involved with the management and messaging of the campaign operation. She says she particularly enjoys discovering the exquisite nooks and crannies of our beautiful Oregon, and making new friends (which comes easy for her).

If you see her on the campaign trail, be sure to introduce yourself! She’s got a big smile and is gregarious and fun!

Yes, I am a very lucky man….