Marie Kuch, Kelly Dahlman-Oeth, Nathan Hollifield, and Jenny Phillips meet in between workshop sessions at Faith Advocacy Day in Olympia.
By the Rev. Jenny Phillips
With the Washington State legislative session in full swing, PNW United Methodists are bringing their values to Olympia. Last week, more than 400 people of faith, including dozens of United Methodists, participated in Faith Action Network’s Interfaith Advocacy Day (see photos). Participants met with senators and representatives from around the state to advocate on a number of issues, including:
- Building a sustainable budget that includes funding for mental health, education and civil legal aid
- Reducing wealth inequality through wage theft prevention, gender pay equity, and paid family and medical leave
- Dismantling the culture of violence by limiting access to assault-style weapons, ending the death penalty, and reforming the state’s deadly force statute
- Protecting housing and preventing homelessness through increased funding and protections from discrimination
- Sound environmental stewardship, including a carbon tax and establishing disclosures on toxics in electronics.
This week, Governor Jay Inslee welcomed David Valera, Executive Director of Connectional Ministries, Jenny Phillips, Minister for Environmental Stewardship and Advocacy, and two dozen faith leaders from around the region to discuss ways to do the work of love and justice in Washington.
When leaders from the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations presented Governor Inslee with notes from children thanking him for his leadership in opposing the recent immigration ban, he responded by sharing that he has never seen a larger outpouring of support on any issue in his time as governor. He also expressed gratitude for the work of the interfaith community in responding to the ban. The group also discussed the death penalty, the justice issues related to the Real ID act, and the importance of a just carbon tax.
At both Interfaith Advocacy Day and the meeting with Governor Inslee, political leaders stressed the importance of the faith community’s witness during the legislative session. You can follow key bills and learn about upcoming hearings on the Washington State Legislature website.
The Rev. Jenny Phillips serves as the PNWUMC’s Minister for Environmental Stewardship and Advocacy.