Local Students Impact Policy and Campaigns

CORVALLIS – The Willamette Valley Legislative Fellowship, hosted by Representative Dan Rayfield (D – Corvallis), has concluded its second year. This year’s class consisted of 23 outstanding fellows who crafted a variety of impactful policy concepts and traveled across the state of Oregon campaigning for Democratic House candidates.

“We wanted to provide an opportunity for students to have experiences that went beyond that of a traditional internship,” said Rayfield. “The policies our fellows created were insightful, and their excitement to learn and engage throughout the program was contagious.”

Each fellow participated in an eleven-week series of workshops with guest speakers where they learned how to craft policy and run a successful political campaign. Fellows subsequently applied these learned skills by developing seven unique policy concepts and knocking on more than 6,500 doors and making more than 2,500 calls for seven different Democratic House candidates. Each House candidate the fellows volunteered for won their race.

The final meeting of the program culminated with a policy competition at the Capitol in Salem. Students presented their policy concepts in a committee hearing room with Speaker of the House Tina Kotek (D – Portland), Representative John Lively (D – Springfield) and Representative Rayfield serving as judges. Two of the seven concepts were chosen by the judges to be drafted in the 2019 session: increasing the eligibility of students to utilize the Oregon Opportunity Grant and expanding the Corvallis bag ban statewide.

"The fellowship was a great experience," said Carson Lommers, graduate of the 2018 Fellowship and sophomore at Corvallis High School. "Having the chance to learn real-world skills and putting them into practice to make a difference was amazing."

Students from five schools across the Willamette Valley graduated from the program:

Oregon State University: Ashley Arellano, Austin Carsh, Ellie Freeman, Loretta Gunder, Cole Hansen, Grant Hart, Ryan Khalife, Jack Lehman, Alessandro Milio, and Alexander O’Keefe.

Western Oregon University: Jared Bynum-Lewis, Gustavo Guerrero, Adam Kane, and Steven Richmond.

Crescent Valley High School: Sarita Ahmad, Sage Rasmussen, Connor Robson, Athena Scarborough, Aravind Sriram and Garak Ward.

Corvallis High School: Carson Lommers.

Philomath High School: Rafael Grossman-Naples.

West Albany High School: Patrick Spence.