Student leader, former president of OSU College Republicans Jacob Vandever runs for District 16 House seat.

Oregon State University student Jacob Vandever, 21, wants to represent Corvallis and run for State House District 16.

After Benton County Health Department's Brian Cooke had to forfeit his place in the running for the district seat, Vandever decided to attempt to fill the slot.

Rep. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, who currently occupies the seat, will run for a seat within District 8 of the Oregon Senate. Gelser will run against current Sen. Betsy Close, R-Albany.

As an OSU senior studying political science, Vandever has assumed various college leadership roles. He currently serves as the assistant to the advocate in the Associated Students of Oregon State University.

Vandever said he's looking forward to discussions with as many people as possible.

"There's a lot the people of Corvallis and Philomath can teach me about them," Vandever said.

Before this, he served as an ASOSU senator, speaker of the house and as president of OSU College Republicans.

Vandever knew he was ready to run for office once various community members encouraged him to consider the opportunity.

"When you take up responsibilities like this, it shouldn't be for your own ego," Vandever said.

Vandever wants to tackle matters involving student affordability and further securing Oregon's economy.

"If we've got students in the State House, they're going to have to listen to us a little bit," Vandever said.

Dan Rayfield, a commissioner on the board of the Linn-Benton Housing Authority, is Vandever's only opponent. Rayfield announced his candidacy in October 2013.

Donald Handeland, current president of OSU College Republicans, said Vandever has a talent for jumping into leadership roles and directing the flow of things.

"He's the kind of person who doesn't like to sit on the sidelines," Handeland said.

If elected, Handeland believes Vandever would be an excellent voice for other students throughout the state of Oregon.

"All these years he's been working on student issues," Handeland said, "he's going to continue that when he's elected."

Taylor Sarman, executive director of government relations at ASOSU, said he's excited to see a student run for a position of office.

"He has a good ear," Sarman said. "He listens to what people say."

Sarman has worked with Vandever throughout his time at ASOSU, including when he served as both senator and speaker of the house.

Vandever said the next steps in his campaign will involve assembling a team and attending the Dorchester convention in Seaside.

Vandever also hopes to have a website up and running soon.

Sean Bassinger

Higher education reporter

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