Government Relations Director
Jock Mills has served as Oregon State University’s Director of Government Relations since 2000. He works with state legislators, the Governor's Office, state agencies, local governments, and Oregon’s educational infrastructure.
Jock began his career in Oregon in 1983 as an analyst and committee administrator in the Oregon Legislative Assembly. His experience in Oregon includes 14 years with the Bonneville Power Administration in Portland. During Governor John Kitzhaber’s second term he took a nine-month sabbatical from BPA to serve as the Governor’s liaison to the Willamette Restoration Initiative, a public/private partnership created by the Governor to develop a comprehensive watershed restoration program for the Willamette River. In 2011-12 Jock served on part-time loan to Governor Kitzhaber’s Education Investment Project, managing the work of the Task Force on Higher Education Student and Institutional Success, created by HB 3418 during the 2011 session.
Before moving to Oregon, Jock worked with the Education Policy Research Institute, a branch of the Educational Testing Service in Washington, D.C. During the late 1970s he served for three years as a legislative assistant to a New York member of Congress. He also has experience as a “roustabout” on a Colorado dude ranch. A native of New Mexico, he is an avid skier, a wistful runner (having qualified three times for the Boston marathon, but never having run it), and a connoisseur of French cars.
Jock holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley. He completed his undergraduate education in 1977 at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was awarded a bachelor of arts degree, (magna cum laude) in political science with a public service emphasis.
Director of Federal Relations
Kate Sinner has served as OSU’s Director of Federal Relations since November 2007. In that role, Kate leads the University’s federal advocacy effort working with Congress and the federal executive branch to advance OSU’s interests.
Kate’s political experience includes serving for three years as a legislative assistant to a Washington State congressman with oversight of issues including education, health care, transportation and appropriations. She has also worked with Congress on behalf of a contract lobbying firm with clients ranging from manufacturing interests to criminal justice concerns. In addition, she has participated in numerous presidential campaigns.
Kate earned a masters degree in Public Administration and a certificate in Health Policy Management at the Maxwell School of Government at Syracuse University and has an undergraduate degree in Communications from the University of Washington.
Government Relations Associate
Heather Bené has served as OSU’s Government Relations Associate since January 2006. Heather works on state and federal advocacy for the university: managing congressional visits and inquiries, overseeing OSU advocacy and engagement on a portfolio of federal policy issues, tracking all state legislation that affects higher education and OSU programs or constituents, and coordinating activities related to OSU’s advocacy day at the State Capitol.
Heather earned bachelor of arts degrees (summa cum laude) from OSU in English and Political Science in 2007. As an undergraduate, Heather served as an Ambassador and student employee in the College of Liberal Arts for three years, where she was editor of the College newsletter. In 2005, Heather was recognized as the student employee of the year by both OSU and the State of Oregon. She is also a two-time recipient of OSU’s prestigious Waldo-Cummings Outstanding Student Award, which is given to only 10 undergraduates in each class in recognition of academic excellence and extracurricular achievement.
Heather is completing a master of public policy degree at OSU with an emphasis on political information, media, cognition and voting behavior. She is currently analyzing OSU student voting behavior over six Oregon election cycles.