Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the content
Christian or Lobbyist? Yes!

Christian or Lobbyist? Yes!

As a lobbyist in Oregon, Stephanie Tama-Sweet believes that politics can't be black and white.

Lobby and compromise. Two loaded words when it comes to politics, yet they describe much of the work that Stephanie Tama-Sweet does as a lobbyist in the nonprofit health care industry in the Oregon state capital. CT video producer Nathan Clarke sat down with Tama-Sweet, 31, in Portland to ask what it's like to be a follower of Jesus working for the flourishing of greater Portland through an industry rife with vested interests and doublespeak.

Q. What do you do as a lobbyist?

The work I do is primarily focused on health areas, so creating healthier communities and healthier people. Also I focus on low income people, so getting better access to health care for low income people, and getting better housing and food access for low income people.

You're communicating your issue and the priorities of your client to an elected official and trying to win them over to your interests. Essentially, you are a communicator, but you're also working on marketing and relationships.

Q. Why did you decide to become a lobbyist?

In 2009, Oregon passed landmark legislation that expanded health coverage to 80,000 children and 50,000 low-income adults. Prior to the bill, Oregon had one of the highest rates of uninsured children in the nation, at about 12 percent. As a Christian, I was drawn to the issue because of the clear value Jesus placed on the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of people (my favorite verse is John 10:10). I have also personally experienced the stress of not having health insurance and know that the cost can be extremely high - too high for many people - to pay out-of-pocket. Lack of insurance can be a major cause of stress for families, often forcing people to seek emergency medical help which is costly and drives up the price of health insurance for everyone in the system.

I believe my work is furthering the work of Christ in the community because I'm helping to bring about structural change that influences real peoples' lives and helps them live the life that God intended for them, to help set up a more beloved community.


Rethinking the $3,000 Missions Trip

Rethinking the $3,000 Missions Trip

When I learned that kids in my city couldn't swim, I started to rethink how much I'd invested in overseas missions.
Furniture Fit for the Kingdom

Furniture Fit for the Kingdom

For Harrison Higgins, building beautiful furniture is not simply a steady job but a sacrament unto God.
Faith in a Fallen Empire

Faith in a Fallen Empire

Detroit's list of maladies is long. But some Christians' commitment to its renewal is longer.
'Daddy, Why Do People Steal from Us?'

'Daddy, Why Do People Steal from Us?'

How I answered the question would prove crucial to addressing racial divides in our D.C. neighborhood.

Comments Are Closed

No comments


Make a contribution to help support the This Is Our City project and the nonprofit ministry Christianity Today.Learn more ...


RT @MissionYear: A great collection of articles from @ct_city @CTmagazine http://t.co/OLmjHvUIfr

In honor of Kim Newlen, a friend of @ct_city who died Saturday, we share our story of her battle with cancer: http://t.co/S3FGKhVDuo

RT @CTmagazine: After three years, hundreds of stories, thousands of readers, our tribute to This Is Our City: http://t.co/Gz35NhAdqc @ct_c2026

The top 10 stories of @editor @KatelynBeaty picks her favorites and reflects on lessons learned in 3 years: http://t.co/BQxYdaoyD9

"As a community we have to do a better job of rescuing these young people." The newest (and last) City video: http://t.co/vZL0cRKO7H #RVA