Posted by: sweeneyblog | April 9, 2013

An Interview with Kaylee Galloway

Recently, I sat down with Kaylee Galloway, a WWU student running to become the Vice-President of Governmental Affairs for their student organization because I wanted to offer some coverage of that race. Why, you ask? Three reasons:

  • More people vote in the these elections than vote for the mayor of Ferndale. On average, over 3,500 students cast their vote – that is a huge population that is underserved by the media coverage available.
  • It is one of my goals for this blog to highlight young political organizers. Too often, they get stereotyped as ineffective activists, however there are scores of people making a big impact on their community. I wrote about some of them earlier this year.
  • Finally, this race (VP for Gov’t Affairs) is about who will lobby our state representatives, city council members, and the community at-large and their issues are less tied to the campus and to the greater challenges facing young people in our community.

Galloway met me for a brief interview at The Woods late last week. The former Snoqualmie resident is studying Political Science, Philosophy and Economics at Western (it is an actual major!) and decided to run for this job because of a desire to be an advocate for students.“This is something I am extremely passionate about. This is an opportunity to provide students with the resources they need.” She elaborated on how she sees the position. “It is focused on representation and advocacy efforts, it is a multi-dimensional position, a liaison between the community and the associated students on issues that are extremely important to both groups.”

Kaylee Galloway

Kaylee Galloway

Galloway highlighted the main responsibilities as managing Viking Lobby Day (where students try to persuade their legislators to support their agenda) and voter registration. Last year, Western Washington University registered more voters than any other university in the state, a whopping 2,303 voters.

“As our involvement is growing, our organizing and lobbying efforts are growing, and the student influence in politics is evolving. We are becoming more powerful and now recognizing how powerful that is.” She gestures through the rain streaked windows of The Woods Coffee at the Lettered Streets.  “Students are part of the community, we are all one of the same city. We can confront issues as a unified front.”

As always, pushing for lower tuition is a key priority. “Our focus is for college to be accessible and affordable.” She highlighted the increased burden of debt that comes with our high tuition, high financial aid model. “Again, that’s something that can be worked at a federal level and state level and we need to work on both.”

I asked about one of the issues of vital importance to so many in our community: rental safety. She agreed that it is a critical issue. “Safe housing benefits everyone, not just students. The Associated Students will work with the community on this issue. We are one and the same, WWU is part of the community and the community is part of western.”

What role does Galloway believe partisanship should play in this sort of position? “I do personally identify as a Democrat, but I do believe that there is a time and place to use that partisanship. I do not think that running for the Vice President of Governmental Affairs is an appropriate place to be running on a partisan platform. The Associated Students prides itself on its nonpartisanship, inclusion and diversity, and as soon as you declare and identify as a political party, as soon as you bring a specific voice to the table you are excluding people. The VP’s role is not to focus on party, it is to focus on representing all students.”

“Now I recognize that sometimes it is important to engage with issues that might fall on a party line. The democratic budget might be more in tune with what we are looking for as students,  they might be more generous toward higher education. That’s when it would be appropriate to say that students support a specific partisan approach.”

She cites as credentials some of her experience working within the Associated Students and serving on the executive board of the Washington Student Association. However, she points out that this work isn’t all about lobbying for tuition. “I would hope that people recognize that students are holistic, we have other interests and ideas and topics that we are passionate about beyond higher education.”

I have reached out to Andrew Taylor, who is running for the same position and hope to sit down with him in the next week. In the meantime, I will have a follow-up on Sen. Doug Ericksen’s tax increase on Lynden residents and candidate announcements before the weekend.

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Responses

  1. Nice photo.

  2. Riley, thanks for this insiteful interview with a politically astute WWU student.
    Hope she gets the position. Sounds like she will be a great advocate for the ASB at WWU!

  3. […] few weeks ago, I sat down with Kaylee Galloway, who was running to become WWU’s top student lobbyist (Associated Students Vice-President of […]


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