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ASCOCC Lobbying

Jack Ewing | The Broadside

Contact: jaewing@cocc.edu

 

The Associated Students of Central Oregon Community College sent three student-government representatives to the Oregon State Capitol in Salem on Feb. 3 to lobby on behalf of COCC’s students. Their purpose was to speak with legislators and to encourage them to support the positions (mentioned below) of the Oregon Student Association (OSA).

The OSA has three branches: the board of directors, the Oregon Students of Color Coalition, and the Oregon Students Equal Rights Alliance which represents lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students.

Over the course of the ORS’s Oregon Student Lobby Day, ASCOCC’s representatives spoke to eight legislators. A few prominent issues were a bill that deals with student voting accessibility, research funds for to encourage students to learn higher math, and a proposal to freeze tuition.

According to Vice President of Legislative Affairs JoriLynn Messner, the voting bill (15-86), if passed, would require each college campus to have a ballot box within one mile that allows completed ballots to be mailed without postage stamps.

“For someone who doesn’t use snail mail regularly, it could be a challenge (without the ballot box) to get the ballot in,” said Messner who noted that she herself cannot always find the stamps that she rarely purchases.

        When Messner spoke to Republican State Senator Ted Ferrioli, who represents district 30, which includes parts of Deschutes county, he was not receptive of the voting accessibility bill.

        ASCOCC President Connor Westover said that a priority for him this school year is a voter registration drive. According to Westover, the OSA helped register over 55,000 new voters in 2015. ASCOCC will be out in full force before the April 26 voter registration deadline.

        The Mathematics Research Bill, if passed, will offer tuition assistance to encourage students to learn higher math by allocating up to $6.5 million across Oregon colleges. According to Messner, the dollar amount for the math-funding bill would help open up the conversation for free tuition and funds for higher education.

        “We could be on the Bernie Sanders side and be on a roll, or not be on the Bernie side and not be on a roll,” Messner said, equating support for the presidential candidate to support for education funding.

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