Molalla City Council's newest member is Student Liaison Natalee Litchfield, a rising senior and soon to be Associated Student Body President at Molalla High School.
The council first met Litchfield when she and a classmate made a presentation to the council in favor of banning plastic bags in Molalla, according to Leota Childress, a city councilor.
Childress was impressed with her well thought-out presentation, follow-through and leadership skills, so Childress told Litchfield about the liaison position.
Litchfield applied and the council approved her application unanimously. She attended her first council meeting on June 26.
"It feels like such an honor to be a part of the council," Litchfield said. "I never would have thought even a year ago that I would have an opportunity like this to get involved in local politics and help the youth of Molalla be heard."
In the role, Litchfield does not have a vote, but serves as a bridge between the community's youth and the adults on the city council. She said she is encouraged to talk and offer her perspective on matters that are discussed in the meetings. She also gives reports of happenings at the high school.
"She's got some great ideas and she's definitely eager to get her fellow students involved in activities," said Terry Shankle, a city councilor. "I think she's the perfect liaison for the school and the city."
Litchfield confirmed she is eager to help students and adult leaders work together and to get more students involved. So far, she's easing into the role and getting to know the council members.
"I am fortunate to work with our volunteers who work hard for the town because they believe in it," Litchfield said. "They have all been so welcoming to me and I am very excited to work with them."
Council members seem to be mutually excited to work with Litchfield. Childress said the council has not had a student liaison for many years.
"Natalee offers a new perspective for the council," Childress said. "She represents the future leaders of Molalla. When we did surveys and meetings for the Molalla Area Visioning project, students represented almost 10 percent of the group. They gave excellent feedback and were very interested in the future of our city. Through Natalee, we can keep that interest alive.
"In summary, we are pleased to have her join our team and look forward to a long relationship," Childress said. "We may even have a future councilor at the table."
With the new role and Litchfield's many other endeavors, she will keep quite busy in the coming year. This summer, she is attending a summer journalism program at Princeton University. During the school year, she will serve not only as ASB president, but also as the FFA chapter vice president. She also continues to advocate for environmental causes.
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