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Rep. Drew Hansen: Why OPR staff are like the elves from Lord of the Rings

Rep. Drew Hansen is smart, cerebral, and something of a modern renaissance man.

He chairs the House Higher Education Committee where this session he worked on bills like safe guarding financial aid for DACA students. Hansen also researched and sponsored the first state-based net neutrality law in the country in response to the FCC repealing those rules last year, earning plaudits from national outlets.

In Olympia, he’s known as being a serious foodie, into tacos as much as he’s into taxes.

Hansen is also very much into technology, voter engagement, and teaching through metaphor, all of which came together last week on an “Ask Me Anything” hosted by Reddit.  Here’s how that played out when asked about how the actual language for legislation comes about.

This from Hansen’s Facebook page, with permission:

The metaphor – that OPR staff are something like the elves from Lord of the Rings, ended up taking a bit more discussion to refine OPR staff’s understanding of what Hansen meant.

So I did this Reddit AMA (“ask me anything”) and it was fun. Someone asked “How do words get into a bill, who literally writes them” and I wrote the response in the photo, which compares our crackerjack nonpartisan Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) staff to the elves in Lord of the Rings.

This apparently made the OPR staff rounds, as all day I’ve been getting emails from OPR staffers with stuff like “The higher ed elves would like to know…” and “PS I hear you you think of me as an elf.”

I then have to write back to make sure they know it’s a compliment, so I’m like “You know I meant elves like Lord of the Rings elves, who are awesome and loremasters and can see by moonlight and starlight and not like North Pole elves, right?”

At that point, half of them are like “Well we didn’t quite get it but fortunately OPR is full of nerdy people who explained it to us” and the other half are the nerdy people who are like “WHO DOES NOT KNOW IT IS A COMPLIMENT TO BE COMPARED TO A TOLKIEN ELF.”

It is clearly time for us all to go home. Day 60, last day today.

Though often understated, Hansen was one of the most successful legislators of the 2018 session.