WWU's Ralph Munro Institute panels focus on range of political issues

Western Washington University will offer free Ralph Munro Institute panels from June 18 to 22 on the campus of North Seattle Community College and from June 25 to 29 on the WWU campus in Bellingham.

Elected officials, public policy experts, political scientists and distinguished scholars will be among the speakers.

“The panels will focus on a wide range of some of the most important issues facing our state today. The public is invited to join us for these interesting and lively discussions with key decision makers and experts,” said Sara Weir, chair of WWU’s political science department and director of the Ralph Munro Institute, in a press release.

North Seattle Community College, June 18-22.
All panels will be from 2:15 to 4 p.m. at Room 1520 in the Arts and Sciences Building.
Parking is in the north visitors’ parking lot; public parking is free, no parking passes are needed.

Tuesday, June 19: “Budgeting in Challenging Times”

Panel with moderator Dick Thompson, Western trustee who served in the administrations of three Washington governors, including as past director of the state Office of Financial Management, state Rep. Ross Hunter, state Sen. Doug Ericksen, Marty Brown, current director of the state Office of Financial Management and Rep. J.T. Wilcox.

Wednesday, June 20: “Higher Education: Legislative Challenges”

Panel with moderator Kelly Evans, public affairs and political consultant, state Rep. Reuven Carlyle, Rep. Hans Zeiger, Rep. Larry Seaquist, state Sen. David Frockt and Sen. Steve Litzow.

Thursday, June 21: Initiatives and Referenda: Good for Washington State?”

Panel with moderator Paul Dunn, senior executive assistant to the Western president, Seattle Times journalist Joni Balter, political activist Tim Eyman, state Rep. Chris Reykdal and Allison Holcomb, campaign director for Yes on I-502, the marijuana legalization initiative.

WWU campus, June 26-28.
All panels will be from 2:15 to 4 p.m. in the Board of Trustees meeting room in Old Main 340.

Tuesday, June 26: “Political Influence: Inside the Process”

Panel with moderator Todd Donovan, professor of political science at WWU, political strategist Ron Dautzauer, political strategist Terry Thompson and Alex Hays, executive director of the Mainstream Republicans of Washington.

Wednesday, June 27: “Political Reporting: A Challenging Landscape”

Keynote address by Western president Bruce Shepard. Panel with moderator Dave Ammons, former Associated Press capital reporter and current communications director for the Washington Secretary of State, Seattle PI.com columnist Joel Connelly and Austin Jenkins, Olympia reporter for public radio and host for TVW’s weekly public affairs program “Inside Olympia.”

Thursday, June 28: “Lobbying: Influence and Access”

Panel with moderator Cole Taratoot, visiting assistant professor of sociology at WWU, contract lobbyist Charlie Brown, Wendy Rader-Konofalski, with the Washington Education Association and Amber Carter, with the Association of Washington Business.

Western’s Ralph Munro Institute is devoted to promoting civic literacy within secondary education and the public at large. It offers students, teachers and community members an opportunity to work with professors, activists and political leaders to learn how local, state and national politics develop.

The institute was named in honor of Ralph Munro, a WWU alumnus and trustee. Munro was elected Washington’s Secretary of State in 1980 and continued in that position until his retirement in 2001.

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