By Emily Neelon
You’re in the voting booth, peering down at the list of measures you are supposed to vote on, but you have no idea what any of them are advocating for. Crap you think to yourself. I should be more politically aware. As the small booth gets seemingly smaller and your brain tries desperately to recall the political ads you can’t quite remember, you begin to randomly check boxes. This is the scenario that sophomore Kate Garcia is working to avoid.
Garcia, an English and political science double major, is interning for the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG) this fall. OSPRIG is an organization that works on behalf of Oregonians by spearheading campaigns they believe in. Through interviewing the Oregon public on their beliefs on current political issues, OSPRIG works to act as a voice for the people. Garcia is currently working on the campaign for Measure 92, which will determine whether genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) will be labeled on food products in Oregon.
“There’s no law in Oregon and measures like this were recently rejected in California and Washington,” Garcia said. “It’s big agribusinesses that are opposing these types of measures. We just stand with the idea that we have the right to know what we’re consuming”.
Garcia, who works directly under the campaign organizer, says her main task is to spread the word about Measure 92, which will be voted on this November. She makes phone calls to Oregon residents who have signed initiatives in support of Measure 92 and writes letters to the editors of Oregon publications like the Oregonian and the Statesman Journal that run stories about the issue.
Garcia, who works three days a week at the non-partisan organization, got connected with OSPRIG when the campaign organizer spoke in her World Politics class earlier this semester. At the end of the class, Garcia signed an initiative saying she was interested, interviewed with OSPIRG, and was hired. As her first time doing something directly related to political science, Garcia enjoys working on a project she is passionate about.
“My favorite part (about my internship) is knowing that I’m contributing to a cause I support,” Garcia said. “I think GMO labeling is really important so it’s nice to get involved in this way.”