In November 2019, LBCC Faculty Mark Urista and Eric Slyter as well as six LBCC students headed to Salem with the goal of representing Oregon’s community colleges to lawmakers and showing the face of LBCC. By meeting with legislators, the Student Leadership Council hoped to demonstrate that community college students cared enough about their colleges to support state funding. John McArdle, the mayor of Independence and a lobbyist for LBCC in Salem, said “When people can hear a real story about a student getting a degree or a certification here, what that does for them and their family, that’s really good.”
“Legislators like to hear from students,” says McArdle “because legislators, just like most people in the community, want to support community colleges.” So when a group from LBCC’s SLC took a trip up to the State Capitol, McArdle gave them a tour of the Capitol Building and they met with several political figures, including State Rep. Shelly Boshart-Davis (District 15, including LBCC), and happened to bumped into State Rep. Dan Rayfield (Corvallis/Philomath) in the hallway.
John Wykoff, deputy director of the Oregon Community College Association, commented that community colleges play an important role during economic downturns; enrollment rises dramatically when unemployment is high, as many people turn to community colleges to learn new skills.
In fact, many students wanted to understand politics more themselves. Several public figures provided their own insights into Oregon politics including State Rep. Paul Evans. “It’s really hard for legislators to turn their backs on people who are actually engaged and playing a role [in politics],” said Rep. Evans. Rep. Boshart-Davis suggested three tips for meeting with lawmakers:
Form a personal connection with the lawmaker that you’re hoping to convince.
Be prepared with a good understanding of the topic, including statistics. Lawmakers will generally ask questions and providing an unclear answer damages your case.
Leave a one-page summary of your main points. This allows lawmakers to review your ideas and show them to colleagues.
Story and Photo by Konoha Tomono-Duval
At a glance:
How to contact your local State Representative
State Rep. Shelly Boshart-Davis (R) representing District 15 (including Albany, Millersburg, Tangent)
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1415 Email: Rep.ShellyBoshartDavis@oregonlegislature.gov
State Rep. Dan Rayfield (D) representing District 16 (including Corvallis and Philomath)
District Phone: 541-740-7744 Email: Rep.firstname.lastname@example.org
State Rep. Sherrie Sprenger (R) representing District 17 (including Lebanon and Sweet Home)
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1417 Email: Rep.SherrieSprenger@oregonlegislature.gov
For the complete list, visit oregonlegislature.gov/house/Pages/RepresentativesAll.aspx