The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

    Leading with a Purpose

    A dive into Oregon Representative Emerson Levy’s visit to Summit High School

    Most people never get the chance to speak directly to a representative in their lifetime. But that changed for a hundred seniors on the Thursday before Thanksgiving break.

    Representative Emerson Levy answered questions from students eager to learn more about politics. Specifically, students heard her opinion on rising issues in the world and community, including a new bill she passed; Alyssa’s Law.

    Representative Levy earned her Bachelor’s degree in International Business and followed that with a Juris Doctorate. Levy is also a member of the Oregon State Bar and before politics, her career focused on finance and clean energy projects. Her background led her to be assigned to the Housing and Homelessness Committee and the Natural Resources Committee. Levy represents the north side of Bend, south Redmond, Tumalo and Sisters. Levy grew up with an interest in politics throughout her high school years in Georgia, but never would have thought she’d become a representative herself; Levy got into politics accidentally. 

    “It started when I had my daughter and I went to look at preschools when she was three and I was asking them about their bullet-proof glass,” Levy said. 

    Levy met a woman who lost her daughter in the Parkland shooting and decided to bring into legislation what would soon be Alyssa’s Law. After some time passed, Levy realized she would have to be in Congress herself to pass it. Soon after, Levy became a Representative for Oregon and she was able to put more energy into Ayssa’s Law.

    The law’s goal is to save time and make an easier way for schools to alert emergency services of an emergency. The system is being implemented at the beginning of the 2024 school year. 

    More specifically, Alyssa’s law is a phone-based silent panic alarm. If someone is having, for example, anaphylactic shock, then you open up the app and press the EMS button. It immediately alerts emergency services and anyone in the building who is certified to help. 

    In the case of an emergency, the alarm puts a geotag around the school so that staff in the school will have a 10-minute warning. Staff will get reports that there was someone with a weapon and that would go straight to the principal and the Student Resource Officer (SRO).

    “It doesn’t fix everything, but it buys precious time, and time in an emergency is everything,” Levy said.

    Normally passing a bill is very hard in Congress, but Levy was able to get it through in no time. 

    “I was really lucky with this bill; it was the most bipartisan bill we had. Almost every single person signed onto it except for two and they are the chairs of the ways and means and they don’t sign onto bills because they are final decision makers,” Levy said. 

    But it wasn’t all just luck; while this bill was trying to get passed, the senate walked out and Levy lost time to run the bill and hearings. So, Levy never got to put the full bill through, but she was able to put it in the public education budget as a budget note—a justification for a cost in a budget and a detailed description of the budget passed. Levy proved that there are many different and creative ways to pass policies.

    “You have to maneuver the different political roadblocks you find,” Levy said. 

    The goal is to live in a society where we don’t have “bad guy” events or even worry about them. So until we get there, Levy claims we’re going to need all that we can. Making a difference is one of Levy’s favorite parts about being a representative. 

    “I love it being a representative, it’s the best job I’ve ever had and my favorite part is you actually really do have the ability to make change,” Levy said.

    It’s not all about passing laws and making huge decisions, but it’s also about making a difference in an individual’s life on a day-to-day basis.

    “I’m working on a prescription issue for one constituent and getting housing for another and that’s the best part,” Levy said. “You actually can make a difference, I mean, in a small way but it still matters.”

    Levy started as a high schooler just like the rest of us, and chose to follow the things she’s passionate about into the field, such as Alyssa’s Law. As high schoolers start to carve out the path of their future, Levy is a great role model to look up to. Levy stands up for what she believes in and doesn’t conform to the groups around her, which many of us should embrace as we start our careers.

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    About the Contributor
    Paige Parton
    Paige Parton, Staff Writer

    When Paige isn’t running around getting things checked off her massive to-do list, you will probably see her playing lacrosse or online shopping. Paige loves to have fun and doesn't like putting all her eggs in one basket, pushing her to explore many different activities, even kitesurfing! But aside from all her hobbies, spending time with family and hanging out with friends is her favorite thing to do when she has time, since nowadays, Paige can never stay in the state for more than a couple weeks at a time. 


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