PPPM interns find niche in Salem

MCRP student McAndrew (left) and MPA student McKay (photo: McAndrew)
MCRP student McAndrew (left) and MPA student McKay (photo: McAndrew)

Joe McAndrew and David McKay are making a difference for Oregonians through the state government.

The University of Oregon Planning, Public Policy and Management graduate students are immersed in the legislative process through internships with the government.

McAndrew, a second-year Master of Community and Regional Planning student, is a government relations intern with Lobby Oregon, focusing on public transportation issues. McKay, a second-year Masters of Public Administration student, is interning for Margi Hoffman, Gov. John Kitzhaber’s energy policy adviser.

Both said their internship experiences have furthered their policy interests and expanded their skills.

“My educational experience at the UO has certainly benefited from my internship,” McAndrew said.

McKay agrees. “I am very interested in energy policy and the economics behind our state’s shift to cleaner, renewable energy,” he said. “The final stages of Gov. Kitzhaber’s 10-Year Energy Action Plan presented an opportunity for me to get involved in energy policy development in Oregon.”

The internships provide McAndrew and McKay a glimpse into the public policy arena and allow them to directly contribute to Oregon’s policy development. In addition to the real-world lessons they’re learning, Hoffman sees a broader benefit: training the next-generation work force.

“Gov. Kitzhaber’s commitment to growing the next generation of innovative Oregonians spans from the macro to the micro, fundamentally transforming the education system to involve people like David in the work that we do on a daily basis,” Hoffman said.

McAndrew had previous experience working for a U.S. congressman from Iowa before enrolling in the master’s program. His internship allows him to work directly with Lobby Oregon’s president, Doug Barber, to represent the policy interests of health care organizations and Lane Transit District. He is tracking more than 70 bills for the district.

“Joe had experience working in the U.S. Congress so he understands the legislative process,” Barber said. “But the Oregon Legislature is more informal and legislators are more accessible. I think it was eye-opening for Joe, to see how easily, sometimes, you can drop in on legislators or check with them in the halls to find out information or let them know about an issue.”

McKay has been interning for Hoffman since the beginning of the fall term. He has worked to answer public comments submitted to the Energy Action Plan’s draft proposal and is currently conducting policy research and analysis to aid in the plan’s implementation.

“David's assistance in reviewing the comments, determining where we needed additional research, changes, or more thinking enabled us to deliver a comprehensive final product that took into account each of the 1,200 comments we received,” Hoffman said. “It is critical in drafting a comprehensive energy strategy for Oregon that we meaningfully engage the public and incorporate their feedback into the plan.”

- from the UO School of Architecture and Allied Arts