College Democrats of Oregon host winter convention

The College Democrats of Oregon hosted their second annual winter convention on Feb. 28 in the Lokey Education building on the University of Oregon campus to network and interact with elected officials. Students from UO, Pacific University, PSU and OSU were present.

The convention began at 11:00 a.m. with Ben Unger from ‘Our Oregon’ as he discussed the importance of voter registration and the necessity of help with education and the importance turnout programs.

“Hopefully at some point the leadership of the college democrats will decide to get together and put all of their eggs into the voter registration basket,” Unger said.

A panel with Dr. Chuck Currie and Dr. Jessica Ritter discussed economic inequality, paid sick leave, increased minimum wage and changes in policy for the LGBT community.

Tobias Read, Representative of House District 27 of the Oregon State Legislature, spoke about the innovation in Beaverton as well as the entire state of Oregon.

“Find some aspect of innovation that inspires you and share your story with each other and with me,” Read said.

The keynote speech was given by former governor of Oregon Ted Kulongoski .

“The narrative for all of you when you talk to your candidates or you’re going to run one of these days is critically important to you,” Kulongoski said. “I believe that our party has lost sight of the fact that character does matter and values our important to the American people. In the end, politics is not just about strategy and tactics, about who wins and who has majority control, its about public policy making life better for the people of this state and this country.”

Lindsay Scholten, the political director of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, discussed some of the pro-conservation priorities for 2015, such as clean fuel for Oregon, protecting the Elliott State Forest and reforming the department of fish and wildlife.

After that, a panel discussion was held with Beaverton City Councilor Lacey Beaty, Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson, Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakain and Representative Phil Barnhart.

“I am a very strong believer that there isn’t any issue that you shouldn’t be involved in,” Piercy said. “Every issue effects your life and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a federal issue or a state issue or a local issue.”

Andrew Davidson spoke about his representation on the Portland Public School Board and the convention concluded with a speech from Kevin Frazier, the president of the College Democrats of Oregon.

“It is incredibly inspiring to get together with a group of people who not only share my values, my interests, my commitment to public service and being involved politics but also who are of the millennial generation, just like I am,” said Celine Swenson-Harris, the College Democrats of Oregon chapter president. “I think it is important that we recognize that our age are involved, and passionate and are ready to get the wok done to make a positive differences we need for the state.”

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Gabrielle Deckelman

Gabrielle Deckelman