CONTACT:     Megan Chuinard                                                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PHONE:          503-585-8351




Salem, Ore. (June 15, 2020) — The Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) today announced that three new staff members will be joining the organization in the legislative affairs department.

Lizzy Atwood Wills joins AOC after serving in various roles with advocacy organizations, and as chief of staff to Senator Steiner Hayward. Lizzy will cover a number of AOC policy areas relating to governance, employment, elections, and will assist in public safety advocacy efforts.

Having staffed the chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation, supporting policy development and engagement in the historic investment in Oregon’s infrastructure, through the 2017 transportation package and associated projects, Mallorie Roberts will join AOC as the legislative affairs manager for transportation and community development.

Lizzy and Mallorie’s first day in the office will be Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

Lauren Smith joins AOC as the natural resources legislative affairs manager and will be replacing long-time county commissioner, legislator, and natural resource policy expert Susan Morgan. Lauren comes to AOC from Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic and has a vast background in public policy and legal experience, working at both the state and federal levels, including participating in the regulatory processes and rule development at the agency level.

Lauren’s first day in the office will be Monday, June 15, 2020.

“I am delighted to announce this team. Lizzy, Mallorie, and Lauren are all well equipped to hit the ground running and have strong backgrounds and relationships in the Legislature and among advocacy groups. I know they will do a tremendous job advocating for counties, and elevating the organization and our members in our state, federal, and agency partnerships,” said AOC Executive Director, Gina Firman Nikkel, Ph.D.

Lizzy, Malorie, and Lauren round out the legislative affairs team and join Rob Bovett who serves as the association’s legal counsel and legislative director covering public safety and Andy Smith, legislative affairs manager for health and human services and veterans.

“AOC has always had an exemplary staff, and now we have an even stronger team. I am pleased we have filled these vacant positions and are able to elevate the county voice – even more now than ever.” said Jim Doherty, AOC president and Morrow County Commissioner. “AOC is a leader in advocating for county needs and educating members, the public, and elected officials on the importance of counties. I cannot wait to see what this team is able to accomplish together.”


About AOC

The Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) unites Oregon’s 36 county governments. Founded in 1906, AOC brings county officials together to advocate with a collective voice on state-wide and national policy, exchange ideas, build new leadership skills, and exercise exemplary leadership in public service, while enriching the public’s understanding of county go