Oregon Lobbyists as Advocates for Citizen Engagement

by Rayleen McMillan

Mention of lobbyists often provokes images of fast-talking dealmakers wearing expensive suits and singlehandedly bending legislation to the will of their clients. While components of this image might hold up in circumstances elsewhere, the general perception is wholly inaccurate within discussion of Oregon politics. Money most definitely plays a role in Oregon’s political landscape, as does strategic framing of issues. However, the accessibility of our legislature is uniquely high, and its inhabitants outwardly pride themselves on being citizens first and legislators second. In Oregon’s “Citizen Legislature”, there are many access points at which the public can work to influence policy– and while this measure is certainly taken up by individual Oregonians on a wide variety of issues, the most effective legislative advocacy is engaged by combining the efforts of professional lobbyists and the grassroots organization of the clients that employ them. Read More »