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Legislative Conference features issues before 2016 session, global-local ties

Speakers and workshops at the 2016 Eastern Washington Legislative Conference will explore “Our Responsibility for the Common Good” from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 30, at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 316 E. 24th Ave.

In her keynote presentation, Linda Haydock, SNJM, executive director of the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center in Seattle, will discuss “Connecting Global UN Goals with Local and State Issues.”  After lunch, she will also give a presentation on how to engage in advocacy.

Catholic Bishop Emeritus William Skylstad will give theological reflections based on Pope Francis’ encyclicals, “Hope, Grace, Mercy,” and “Laudato Si’” on climate change.

In a workshop on environmental issues, Jessie Dye of Earth Ministry will discuss toxic-free kids, solar tax credits, pesticide notification and reducing CO2 emissions.  John Sirois of the Upper Columbia United Tribes will also share his observations as a participant in the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, as well as state and local issues on earth and river resources.

In a second workshop, Sr. Sharon Park, OP, director of the Washington State Catholic Conference, and the Rev. Paul Benz, co-director of the Faith Action Network, will discuss the impact of two initiatives on wealth inequality.

In a workshop on education issues, Jonas Cox of Gonzaga University’s School of Education, and Ivan Corley, principal of Grant Elementary School, will discuss issues related to funding schools and testing, curriculum changes and struggles schools face.

Phil Tyler, vice president of the NAACP-Spokane, and Layne Pavey, mental health clinician, and member of Smart Justice Spokane and I Did the Time, will inform participants about criminal justice issues before the legislature, including ban the box, abolishing legal financial obligations and certificates of restoration.

Also bringing a global-local connections perspective will be Skyler Oberst, president of the Spokane Interfaith Council, member of the Human Rights Commission and legislative assistant with Spokane City Council, discussing policy recommendations from the 2015 Parliament of World Religions related to city and state issues.

Sr. Sharon and Paul, who are involved in legislative advocacy with the Washington State Legislature, will review issues before the 2016 session.

The Rev. Dale Cockrum, Inland District superintendent of the United Methodist Church, Lutheran Bishop Martin Wells, and Episcopal Bishop Jim Waggoner Jr., will also present reflections and prayers to inspire participation in the year’s legislative process.

Nonprofit agencies and ministries will bring displays to share resources about legislative initiatives and their programs that serve people in the region.

Organizers include The Fig Tree, Catholic Charities Spokane, the Faith Action Network and the Inland District United Methodist Church.

For information, call 535-1813 or email  Fliers are at

Copyright © January 2016 - The Fig Tree