Todd Gessele (Pronounced GUESS-LEE) is a fresh face to the race and in our community. He, along with 3 other candidates, is running for Klamath County Commission Position #1 to replace Donnie Boyd, who resigned.
Since arriving in Klamath County a year ago, Todd has studied renovating Yesterday's Plaza on 9th street, issued a LOI to purchase Ridgewater Subdivision on HWY 140, considered buying Harriman Springs Resort near Rocky Point, read all 437 pages of H.R.1319 - American Rescue Plan Act and written ARPA grants requests, which if awarded would create low income housing for the city and county. Todd has also worked closely with Discover Klamath and the staff at Choose Klamath to brainstorm how to bring more businesses to the area and proposed building destination treehouses to attract short-stay tourists.
"So many people I met were wishing out loud for leadership at the county level they could trust to be culturally-sensitive, kind, and caring. For someone committed actively help the county grow, but not too fast. And that describes me. So I decided to run. I'm a family man with no ties to special interests or old money. I absolutely love connecting with people from all walks of life."—Todd Gessele
"In this time of extreme political polarization, we need extra kindness, neighborly love, and empathic conversations over emotional reactions! For only by listening and talking with one another, can we separate honest mistakes from unproductive hate.”—Todd Gessele
Todd and Gioni (Pronounced G-ON-E), his wife, fell in love with Klamath County, when they stopped and spent a night in a hotel and realized there are 300+ days of sunshine and lodgepole pine trees. And parts of the county, reminded them of Lake Tahoe, in Nevada, where Todd had a potential business project previously.
They purchased a home in the Lynnwood/Lakeshore Gardens neighborhood overlooking Upper Klamath Lake. Their son, Christian is a freshman at Klamath Union High School. Together they enjoy kayaking and hiking.
Gioni's father, was an American GI, who went missing at the end of the Vietnam war. Gioni was airlifted out of Vietnam on operation baby lift at 5 years old, adopted by an immigrant couple from Germany, who raised her in Eugene and Bend, Oregon. In 2018, she found her four biological siblings.
Todd earned his BA in Mass Communications at Walla Walla University in Washington with a business minor in 1992. Todd is a certified Planned Giving and Trust Service officer and earned his Professional Project Management (PMP) certification from City University of Seattle (2007), while serving as Director of New Outreach Media for the North Pacific Union Conference, a faith-based non-profit focused on education, healthcare and religious liberty. In March 2022, Todd passed his Oregon General Contractor's Boards at Klamath Falls Community College!
Todd, an experienced fund-raiser/grant writer, has secured over 10 million dollars in funding for his clients. He is the chairman of the board of Changing the World INC, a 501 C3 non-profit concerned with solving homelessness, assisting veterans, at risk women and youth. Todd is also a board member of Impact Hope, which has provided 960+ college scholarships to refugee students in Rwanda, Africa since 2014. After the genocide, Rwanda became the number 1 country in the world with women politicians. Women hold 64 percent of seats in the lower house of Rwanda’s national legislature, the largest share of any country. For comparison, only 19 percent of seats in the U.S. House are held by women. Todd believes if more women ran for political office, we'd have more peace and fewer wars.
Since 2014, Todd has helped citizens and patriots present evidence of crime and corruption by public officials in the State of Alaska. His photojournalist style of photography has captured tribal struggles, the impacts of climate change and documented vanishing traditions around the world.
Todd photographed Yupik-speaking Alaskan Eskimos, audited the use of donor funds for education infrastructure projects in Myanmar (formerly Burma) and helped his client conduct health clinics and rescue young girls from female genital mutilation (FGM) at the request of women from the Maasai tribe in Kenya, Africa.
On assignment in Namibia, Africa, Todd learned how the Sans Bushman Tribe, with their bows and poison arrows, had been starved almost to the point of genocide. The Namibian War of Independence, ended in March 1990 with the United Nations dividing the San Bushmen's traditional tribal-hunting grounds to create the country of Namibia and redefining South Africa's border.
The 13 tribes in the newly formed Namibia government, in retaliation against the San Bushman, some of who had been trackers for the South Africans during the conflict, turned the most of their land into national parks and prohibited hunting. Romanian missionaries saved the starving Bushman in Namibia by drilling water wells which turned the Kalahari Desert into an agriculture oasis. Today teachers and agriculturalist are are needed to train the next generation of the Sans Bushmans' children so they can build homes and grow food, as their nomadic culture as hunters continues to be oppressed.
"Show me your world, I’ll share with you my soul. Let’s fellowship, laugh with each other, and create a better community.” —Todd Gessele
"As I understand it, the commissioner's job is to oversee 26 departments in Klamath County and to advocate for, to represent equally and fairly, our citizens interests here at home, at the state level when appropriate, and to keep federal and local government interference to a minimum. Our services must expand and keep pace with growth."—Todd Gessele
To learn more about Todd Gessele, visit www.electToddG.com. To reach him directly, call 503 348-8652.