University of Idaho senior Ashley Morehouse will climb the stairs of the Idaho Capitol Building wearing gold-accented black business attire with a Vandal pin fastened to her suit jacket — as the ASUI lobbyist for the 2014 legislative session.
“I have a passion for policy and funding at the higher education level,” Morehouse said. “I heard about the legislative breakfast that they do in the spring, and Andrew Blake — last year’s lobbyist — just happened to be sitting at the front desk of the ASUI office and he told me all about it. I applied and the next think you know, I’m going down to Boise next month.”
Morehouse was appointed as the ASUI lobbyist in November. She said she is excited to move down to Boise and get started lobbying on behalf of UI for issues such as increasing funding for scholarships, changing UI employee compensation and increasing funding to the Permanent Building Fund.
“I will look into all the issues in the coming weeks, but so far I’ve done some research on the Permanent Building Fund,” Morehouse said. “It’s a fund that allocates money for every square foot of a building and you can have building repaired or maintained with it. It’s kind of essential for an institution the size of UI.”
Morehouse, from Oregon and Hawaii, said she was drawn to UI as a senior in high school and didn’t care that she would have to pay the costly out-of-state tuition to attend school, because she knew she belonged at UI.
“When I first came to campus, the first building that I went into was the Lionel Hampton music building and I just looked around and thought ‘this place is fantastic,'” Morehouse said. “I love these old buildings and our Administration building is amazing — the marble, the landscape — I was like ‘I have to go here.'”
Morehouse said her love for the university will shine while talking to legislators and her personality is on par with most of them, making her a good choice for the position.
“I’m taking an organizational communications class right now and we did the personality profile type and I’m an ENTJ,” Morehouse said. “It’s one of the least common ones and it’s usually people who are in roles of power, so a lot of our presidents have been ENTJs and statistically ENTJs hold more CEO positions. That might make talking to them a little easier for someone like me.”
Currently an intern with the Dean of Students Office, Morehouse said she is familiar with all areas of the UI campus and plans to represent each facet of the university equally — by keeping an open line of communication.
“The best way that I can do that is just when issues come into the legislature, talking to the different people and leaders that are involved with that specific issue and getting their input on it,” Morehouse said. “When it comes to athletics for example, I don’t understand that perspective per say because I’m not an athlete and I haven’t played for the University of Idaho, so getting their opinions on issues is going to be key.”
Morehouse said while talking to legislators can be a challenging task, she is not afraid of trying to convince them that UI is a land-grant institution worth investing in.
“I’m not intimidated, because I believe I am there for a good cause,” Morehouse said. “But am I nervous? Yes. I mean that’s a big change to be here going to school one day and then to be standing in front of the state legislature the next. It will be an adventure, that’s for sure, and I’m excited to get started.”
Amber Emery can be reached at email@example.com