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Editorial

State legislators listen to their constituents to shape policies

Here we go again! It seems that there is no time for some national elected leaders to shift from political campaigns and take time to govern. For far too many, their governing is over-ruled or made invisible by media as they begin campaigning for re-election in the next round. It would be nice to see them concerned about finding real solutions to issues that plague society.

Media pundits already set them up for sparring and political games to keep readers, viewers and listeners on edge in ways that "hold" their audience. It's sad to see national leaders follow that spiral.

Media seem less interested on coveringĀ  state and local campaigns now.

The Eastern Washington Legislative Conference (EWLC) briefings, plenaries and workshops indicate that state legislators are at work making things happen to improve lives. They are less pressed by of media seeking a divisive story. In fact, on the state level, media tend to do their job of informing us about what is happening.

It gives positive room for organizations like the Faith Action Network (FAN) of Washington, the Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) and Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power and Light (WAIPL) to inform citizens motivated by their faith values on the status of bills so they can make their voices heard.

In this issue, we share information from EWLC plenary and workshop speakers and discussion leaders. They provided background information to build awareness around issues of housing, environment, refugees, seniors, racial justice and food security.

In the February issue, we reported information on issues and bills offered by FAN, WSCC and Earth Ministry/WAIPL advocates who keep up on issues, build relationships with legislators and create coalitions among faith communities so their concerns are articulated clearly.

Faith Action Network, now in its 10th year, connects with thousands of people and more than 160 faith communities across the state to "partner for the common good" as they advocate "for a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world." FAN was formed when the Washington Association of Churches and Lutheran Public Policy Office merged.

The Washington State Catholic Conference describes itself as a common voice for Catholics, the public policy voice for the bishops of Washington and "Catholics advocating for the common good, to create a society that recognizes the dignity of every human person."

Earth Ministry/WAIPL "envisions a just and sustainable future in which people of all spiritual traditions fully embrace their faith's call to environmental stewardship."

Elise DeGooyer, executive director of FAN, said state legislators are at work, and people can follow the FAN Bill Tracker at fanwa.org.

"Things are moving as we come close to policy and fiscal cutoff dates," she said. "Our state legislators are hard at work governing and working to get policies through that impact lives." At the Feb. 9, FAN Advocacy Day, Elise was impressed by the passion in 41st District Rep. My-Linh Thai's words to those who gathered.

"She talked about love and doing what is right for humanity as the motivation for her work. She is the first refugee to serve in the our State Legislature," Elise reported.

Feb. 15, two legislators spoke about criminal justice reform at the Multifaith Lobbying Day for Restorative Justice, and about real people whose lives and stories have shaped their policymaking.

"So at least at the state level, I think they're really hard at doing the work they were elected to do," Elise affirmed.

Hearing compassion for people and passion for justice from their faith-based constituents also helps motivate state legislators, so sharing matters.

Mary Stamp - Editor

 
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, March 2023