By Hannah Fisher, Katie Markey, Courtney Morse and Rudy Soto. Hanna, Katie, Courtney & Rudy served consecutive terms as the student body presidents of Portland State University from 2006 to 2010.
As previous student body presidents of Portland State University, we share a unique experience in understanding the intricacies of higher education at both a local and state level. We know that the state representative for District 36 must have an excellent grasp on the issues facing not only PSU but of all higher education in Oregon. It is Jennifer Williamson’s consistent demonstration that she has the experience and knowledge necessary to fight for the issues that affect us every day, which has inspired four student body presidents to stand behind and endorse a political candidate. We have never had a candidate who has motivated us to join together and take a stand.
Jennifer Williamson has been a champion for quality and access in higher education since her time serving as the student body president at the University of Oregon, where she successfully fought to keep student loan interest rates low. But Jennifer is not a one-issue candidate. Williamson is a leader in protecting a woman’s right to choose which is why she is the only candidate endorsed by Planned Parenthood, she has the background and courage to advocate for a single payer healthcare system and understands the investment needed to create jobs in Oregon.
We have personally faced the issues that are of concern to most residents of Oregon--massive student debt, chronic unemployment and lack of health insurance for both family members and ourselves. These problems are real and affect us everyday. Our lives have been drastically altered from situations like the inability to afford the tuition to graduate and the dire repercussions of inadequate health insurance; institutional barriers than Jennifer doesn't just talk about. Williamson, like too many of us, grew up as an Oregonian whose family sometimes had to rely on food stamps and food pantries. She shares the experience of being a first generation college student who put herself through college and law school.
Jennifer encompasses a unique combination of both the life and professional experience necessary to make real changes. Jennifer is an advocate, an activist and an ally--she is the uniting force that Oregon needs.