CFM is expanding its Oregon state affairs staff with the addition of Ryann Gleason, who joins the firm after working as deputy legislative director for House Speaker Dan Rayfield, D-Corvallis.
“Ryann deepens our existing experience and knowledge of Oregon’s complex budget process,” says CFM State Affairs Partner Dale Penn II. “When Speaker Rayfield served as co-chair of the Joint Ways and Means Committee, Ryann was his point of contact for all budget-related issues, and she advised him on state agency, legislator, lobby and stakeholder budget priorities. She will be an invaluable advocate for our clients.”
After graduating from Portland State University with a degree in environmental studies, Gleason interned for the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, which supports pro-environment candidates and lobbies for environment friendly legislation. Her internship turned into a full-time job as an OLCV engagement organizer to mobilize the group’s membership in support of candidates and legislative priorities.
“My responsibilities included engaging members and voters on priority issues,” Gleason says. “I discovered many people do not like politics, but they care deeply about issues such as access to health care and quality education.”
I want to help organizations develop smart agendas and to advocate for their priorities effectively. Doing that job well is as crucial to the legislative process as working in the legislature.
Her work with OLCV landed her a job as legislative assistant for Rep. Paul Holvey, D-Eugene, for whom she assisted on his legislative agenda, advised on policy, managed communications, and oversaw scheduling. “It was a great experience,” Gleason recalls. “I was also able to learn the finer points of Oregon craft beer.”
After the 2019 session, Gleason began working for Rayfield, the then top budget writer for the Oregon House. She served as his legislative director, working to pass various pieces of legislation related to voter access and being the point of contact for all budget issues.
“Dan is the most well-versed person in the legislature when it comes to state budgets,” Gleason says. “I took the job as his legislative director knowing there was going to be a lot I needed to learn. I am thankful Dan gave me every opportunity to learn and absorb as much information as possible.”
She also served as Rayfield’s campaign manager, which included organizing the Willamette Valley Legislative Fellowship to train local students on policy development and campaign strategy. In this role, Gleason prepared Rayfield for campaign interviews and worked to meet Rayfield’s fundraising goals.
After Tina Kotek resigned as House Speaker in January to run full-time for governor, the House Democratic caucus selected Rayfield to succeed her. In the 2022 short legislative session, Gleason remained on the new Speaker’s staff as deputy legislative director with responsibilities for coordinating with Democratic chairs of committees dealing with education, housing and economic recovery, as well as House Rules, the committee that often handles key legislative priorities for the majority party.
“Because of my experience, part of my job was to assist on budget priorities during the transition,” Gleason says.
Despite enjoying work in the legislature where “every day is different”, Gleason’s goal was to work on the other side of the desk as a lobbyist. “I want to help organizations develop smart agendas and to advocate for their priorities effectively,” she explains. “Doing that job well is as crucial to the legislative process as working in the legislature.”
Gleason lives with her husband and two dogs in Wilsonville. Her hobbies include hiking and woodworking, an interest passed down from her retired US Forest Service ranger grandparents. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Gleason took an interest in baking, attempting to master boules and focaccia bread.
Gleason starts at CFM on June 6. In addition to Penn, the CFM state affairs team includes Zack Reeves, Waylon Buchan and Rachel Lara. The team represents corporate, nonprofit and public agency clients before the legislature and state agencies. “We provide our clients with knowledgeable, energetic and principled advocacy,” Penn says. “Ryann is a perfect fit for our team and our approach to representing a diverse set of clients.”