KATU: Oregon teen gun-control activist to attend State of the Union
Author: by Chris Liedle, KATU News
Posted: February 11, 2019

Watch KATU's original story

An 18-year-old Sunset High School graduate and current Portland State University student will be attending Tuesday night’s State of the Union.

U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Oregon, invited Alexandria Goddard, who helped organize Portland’s March for Our Lives event and who also led campaigns to get young people involved in politics.

Goddard and Bonamici joined KATU via Skype Tuesday from the nation’s capital for an interview.

“What I’m going to take away from this is a wonderful experience meeting really hardworking people who are doing good,” Goddard said.

Goddard is well known for helping to organize last year’s March for Our Lives event in Portland, a student-led demonstration in support of stronger gun violence prevention measures.

Bonamici attended the event, where she first met the Sunset High School student.

“With the voices like Alexandria and amazing students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, we’re going to be making a difference,” Bonamici said.

For the first time in eight years, lawmakers will hold a hearing on gun violence prevention Wednesday. A topic to be discussed is universal background checks.

Goddard said she is also working with lawmakers to tackle suicide prevention. She used Oregon as an example. The state has a suicide rate 20 percent above the national average. She said almost half of those people saw a primary care physician prior to taking their life.

“We are working on mental health legislation for more training, primarily for primary care physicians, for school counselors, for nurses, people who are seeing these people,” Goddard said.

At Sunset High School, Goddard created the Agora Theory, which encourages young people, especially minorities, to get involved in politics.

So far, nearly a thousand students in the Beaverton School District have registered to vote.

“A strong society and a strong government has to start with young people, has to start with the future, has to start with education,” Goddard said.

Other lawmakers invited guests to the State of the Union.

The White House invited parents of those killed or affected by actions of immigrants inside the country illegally.