Mary Wendy Roberts, emeritus board member

Mary Wendy Roberts has a B.A. from the University of Oregon and an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin; Currently, she consults on labor law and is a partner in a wellness business with her husband, Rhett Simpson.

In 1972, Wendy was elected to the Oregon State Legislature. She was a State Representative for two years and State Senator for four years. She served on the Joint Ways and Means, Senate Labor, Consumer and Business Affairs, and Senate Human Resources Committees.

Wendy was elected Oregon Labor Commissioner in 1978 and served in that position for 16 years. As chief executive of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, she was responsible for enforcing Oregon's civil rights laws in employment, all wage and hour laws, and child labor laws, and for overseeing housing and public accommodation and the apprenticeship system. Among her accomplishments are Oregon’s Family Medical Leave Act and the first comprehensive Wage Security Fund in the nation.

Awards include:

  • 1978 Woman of the Year Award, OWPC
  • 1989 Award for Outstanding Service to the Farm Workers of Oregon by the Oregon Hispanic Commission
  • 1995 Leadership and Courage in Human Rights Advocacy by Oregon GALA
  • National Award in Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action by the American Society of Public Administration

Wendy's political activities reached beyond state and national borders when she was included in a US delegation to an International Conference on Apprenticeship in Paris, France. She established the ongoing annual exchange program on School to Work education and training between Oregon and our sister state, Lower Saxony, Germany. She was also a US delegate to the China in 1980 and in 1999, sent by the American Council of Young Political Leaders.

Wendy was the person who convinced Mohammad Kharoti to create an organization to help raise money for his school in Afghanistan. She was member of the original board of directors of Green village Schools and a guiding force in its early years.