By Megan McClure
Andrea Chiapella's search for a post-college job in public policy took her all the way across the street.
The senior policy analyst in the Oregon Senate minority office has been with the office the last three years. Chiapella has spent the last 10 years in the Oregon Legislative Assembly. Before her current position, she worked in the House of Representatives for different members representing areas around the state.
Recently, she was elected as second vice chair of the Leadership Staff Professional Organization for 2017-2018.
Q: How/why did you end up working for the legislature?
A: I always had an interest in government and how it worked, so it was only natural that I attend college near the epicenter of Oregon politics. I went to college across the street from the Capitol, therefore, proximity helped me gain access and led to a great internship with a member of the House. Being able to work in the legislature while attending college allowed me to spend more time learning the process and building upon those experiences to further my career in politics.
Q: Do you have any unique experiences or stories about your time working in the legislature?
A: Never in my life did I think that I would be talking about dabs, the differences between indica and sativa, or be nicknamed “ganja girl” at work, but here we are in 2017 and Oregon has legalized adult-use cannabis. Cannabis is one of my policy areas of expertise, yet it is still a bit weird to talk about recreational drug use from a regulatory perspective. I have had some interesting experiences in the legislature, but one of the highlights has been working on this unprecedented legislation.
Megan McClure is a senior staff assistant in NCSL's Legislative Staff Services program.