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Behind the Scenes in Oregon by Forrest Kamperman
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Behind the Scenes in Oregon by Forrest Kamperman

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  • 1. Abstract This summer I worked at the Oregon Citizen Representative office, which is a part of the Governor’s office. I was the first line of communication between the governor and the constituent. My work there coincided with the end of the Oregon Congress General Session, and so I became well versed in the major bills that were or might be sent to the Governor for signing. I also worked with the policy advisors the Governor had, and helped with communication between constituents and the advisors. Other work there included answering questions for constituents and drafting policy letters for the office. This internship helped me to understand the connection between citizens and government, and how the decisions made by high-level officials can be influenced by average citizens. I enjoyed helping make people’s concerns and issues heard, along with helping them solve issues they were having with the government, but I do not feel that working as an intermediary between government and constituents is something I would like to do. It did give me more of a clear view on how to get into government, and what type of work I would want to do if I joined the government. Captiol The Capitol building houses the Governor’s office, the offices of his advisors, the House of Representatives and Senate and the offices of those who work there, along with Oregon State Police offices. Behind the Scenes in Oregon Forrest Kamperman Grand Bargain The Governor had many objectives for the 2013 session. All of his main objectives except one were passed. The one that wasn’t passed was the bill to provide more funding to schools by increasing some taxes. In order to get Republican support for the bill, PERS reform was included in this package. This package was a way to decrease future payouts by decreasing the amount the cost of living could increase. I watched the vote on the first of these bills, which was officially defeated 15-15 in the Senate, and sent back to committee for review, a week before the end of session. The governor called a special session on September 30th, where the Oregon Congress discussed the details of the bill, still trying to make a workable solution. Major Bills and Events -HB 3460- A bill requiring medical marijuana dispensaries to be regulated more, was signed into law by the Governor -SB 6- A bill that increases punishment for animal neglect and requires animal rescue organizations to obtain licenses, passed by House and Senate, not yet signed -HB 2456- The Democratic half of the Grand Bargain, would increase school funding by $100 million, is still on the floor, a special session was called recently , mostly to discuss this bill and SB 857. -SB 857- The Republican half of the Grand Bargain, it would limit PERS(Public Employees Retirement System) cost of living increases, still on the floor -HB 3194- This bill was a public safety reform bill, which allowed for reduction of certain sentences and allowed for more room for appeals, has been signed into law by the Governor -Salem Education Round Table- The governor held a round table on education in Salem, where he first announced his plans for a special session to try to pass SB 857 and HB 2456 -Emergency Conflagration Act- This act was invoked by the Governor on July 20th because of fires in central and southern Oregon, as a way to help those affected by the fires Future Plans After working at the Governor’s Office, I have decided to look elsewhere next year. While I did enjoy my time working there, and did learn a lot about government’s inner workings, I do not feel that I can be sure working in government is something I want to do. While I am definitely not ruling out working in Government, I am ruling out working at a Citizen’s Representative Office. Being the first line of contact between constituents and the government is not something I can see myself doing in the future. I did make many good contacts this summer, I definitely feel that it was a beneficial experience.