Meet Your Government Affairs Team

Published Thursday, August 2, 2018

Some things change; others never do. New at Oregon Business & Industry (OBI) is our fully staffed government affairs team. What remains the same is our ability to carry your voice where it needs to be heard. With more than 40 years of combined experience, you can expect our team to continue to lay the groundwork for effective advocacy efforts in the state capitol and with regulatory agencies. Working with member-driven committees and councils, each director oversees the following priorities areas. 

Contact the respective director for more information and learn how you can become involved.

Energy and Environment, Transportation. Abbie Laugtug. 

Energy and Environment. A growing area of policy and rulemaking, OBI advocates for policies that both protect business interests and advance environmental outcomes. Areas of focus include climate policy, environmental regulatory policies, and energy and utility policy. OBI is a leading voice in the state’s ongoing debates on air toxics, water permitting, carbon emissions, and cap-and-trade policies and rules.

In addition to a larger focus on energy and environment, OBI convenes two committees specific to air and water policies and rulemaking, and advocates for sound and effective policies at legislative and regulatory levels, and uniform and consistent application of regulatory and permitting protocols. 

Transportation. Working closely with legislators to support a bipartisan, responsible, and balanced approach to improving our existing transportation infrastructure and investing in new systems. 

Health Care, Education and Workforce Development, Retail. Megan Chrisman. 

Health Care. Seeking to address the delivery of health care and cost drivers in the system, OBI works to identify issues affecting the three most important aspects of health care: quality, access, and affordability. Our advocacy focuses on reducing the cost shift to private purchasers, promoting transparency, addressing social determinants of health, and building a sustainable funding model for Medicaid.

Education and Workforce Development. Educational excellence, sound funding, and meaningful accountability at all levels, from pre-kindergarten to workforce preparation, are critical to ensuring Oregon remains competitive and prosperous. Current priority issues include stable funding for Pre-K, CTE-STEM, and increased access to post-secondary education. OBI is also a partner of the Oregon Business Plan, which advances key education policies to address fiscal stability and improved outcomes in our education system.

Retail. As the state affiliate for the National Retail Federation, OBI promotes policy that specifically relates to or greatly impacts the retail industry in Oregon. Priority issues include legislation around data breach, drug take back, product stewardship, and energy efficiency standards for appliances.

Labor and Employment Practices. Paloma Sparks.

Driven by the state’s largest and most influential business committee on employment practices, OBI protects the right of employers to lawfully manage their workplace without unnecessary government intrusion or mandates. Our goals are to support workplace laws and regulations that keep Oregon competitive and give employers maximum ability to promote the well being of their employees. From workers’ compensation regulations to paid family leave and predictive scheduling, OBI stands up for employers’ interests.

Tax and Fiscal. Mike Stober. 

Promoting a vibrant, sustainable, and competitive economy through private sector expansion and job creation is the foundation of OBI’s tax and fiscal policy priorities. OBI advocates for fiscal and tax reforms that are fair and sustainable. Key priorities areas include making the state pension system sustainable, holding the line on corporate tax rates and disclosure rules, and supporting tax reform while preserving business incentives.

OBI is also the state affiliate for the National Association of Manufacturers. For more information on policy and regulatory priorities for this industry, go to Manufacturing on our website.