The 2017 AAUW of OR Lobby Day was a great day. We had over 60 AAUW members attend the event, plus members of the Oregon Commission on Women, including Commissioner Dr. Doris Cancel-Tirado, Commissioner Nikki Fisher, Advocacy Commissions Administrator Lucy Baker and the Commissions intern Ty Schwoeffermann. Thanks go to Claire Berger for working hard on organizing the event, and Penny Hoodenpyle (Hillsboro / Forest Grove) stepped up as well by greeting and checking in attendees as they arrived.
Special kudos go to these Branches: Ashland and Lake Oswego which each fielded 13 AAUW members, and Hillsboro / Forest Grove with 7. Not only did these Lobby Day attendees get a chance to mingle with their counterparts throughout the state, but these branches were able to socialize and discuss Public Policy as well.
House Democratic Leader Jennifer Williamson kicked off Lobby Day. She expressed her gratitude for our being there, and being there with such a large group. She promised that she would do all she could to get a Fair Pay bill passed. Newly minted, or as she said, “newbie” Representative Pam Marsh (District 5 – Ashland) echoed these words. It is clear that there is a lot to do in order to get oriented to being a legislator, but it looks as if Rep Marsh is well on her way.
We also heard information about how budgets are prepared, and the process is far more complex — and fluid — than we might have imagined. The topic might initially have sounded somewhat boring, but the presenters did an amazing job and all of us felt we left Lobby Day just a little wiser.
The absolute hit of the 2017 Lobby Day took place at the end of the day. The Ashland and Hillsboro / Forest Hills Branch gave presentations about what they have done to encourage participation in AAUW of OR Public Policy. And they have done a lot! Claire Berger spoke about having members bring in their laptops and AAUW member numbers (need both) to Branch meetings and having members sign up for the 2-Minute Activist Action Alert Network right then and there. She also referred us to the post-Woman’s March program organized around doing 10 ” Hear Our Voice,” pro-woman actions in 100 days. We can do that too! Ashland presenters Mimi Pippel and Phyllis Fernlund presented a brochure they had prepared about Lobby Day and AAUW of OR Public Policy. It is attached below and I strongly encourage you to take a look at it. You might want to print one up for your Branch. They also spoke of the effectiveness of having some informal coffees with groups within the Branch to discuss Public Policy and Lobby Day. Given the numbers of members who attended Lobby Day, they are clearly doing something (a lot!) right.
Following the Ashland and Hillsboro/Forest Grove presentations, we discussed what Branches can do to encourage participation in AAUW of OR Public Policy. While Lobby Day attendees came and went as they visited their Representatives, a lively and informative discussion continued. There were many ideas, and we anticipate continuing the discussion at Convention April 21-23. I will be speaking about our Public Policy at the Sunday luncheon, but I’m thinking of an informal meet up before then. More on that to come!! Please let me know if you have any suggestions.
Report from Trish Garner – State AAUW Public Policy Chair