A former chief of staff for the late state Sen. Alan Bates has been hired as Southern Oregon University’s new liaison to state and federal lawmakers.

Director of Government Relations Julie McFadden will work with elected officials, legislative staff members and others on measures that will benefit the university, its students and the state of Oregon, an SOU news release said.

As the head of Bates’ legislative office for two years, McFadden developed working relationships with state and federal legislators and administrative staff, lobbyists, union representatives, local leaders and others. That position also involved researching policy concepts and law to ensure the passage of effective policies, the release said.

McFadden also was field organizer for Rogue Community College's bond measure campaign in 2016 and for Our Family Farms' campaign to ban genetically modified organisms in Jackson County in 2014, both of which were successful.

Before that, McFadden worked as a geriatric care manager in Ashland for four years, executive director for a year of the Leela Foundation, which funds a hypnotherapy school in Ashland, and was a Waldorf teacher and massage therapist, according to her resume.

McFadden, who started work Jan. 9, will make $86,000 annually.