Close to thirty people gathered at Wesley United Methodist Church on E. 12th Street in Des Moines on Thursday morning January 17th to participate in the 2018 Legislative Advocacy Day which was hosted by the Iowa United Methodist Women.
Marty Ryan, a lobbyist for the Justice Reform Consortium, a prison advocacy group lead the orientation before the group of Methodist’s headed to the Iowa State Capitol.
During session, the Legislative Team, who are all volunteers, met with legislators and staff. The team informs and educates legislators, through the lens of the United Methodist Church, on the potential impact of legislation on the state’s residents.
Legislative advocacy has long been a part of the heritage of United Methodists in Iowa and is a chance for Iowans and United Methodists to meet with their state senator and representative and talk about issues that are important to them and were encouraged to invite them back to Wesley for a complimentary gourmet soup, organic salad and artisan bread buffet catered by Kathi Mitchell and volunteers, United Methodist’s Women Coordinator for Social Action. A beautiful display of homemade pies was served for dessert.
During lunch, participants had conversations with state senators and representatives and the Legislative Advocacy team.
After lunch, were presentations focussing on United Methodist Women’s priority issues—Maternal/Child Health and the Criminalization of Communities of Color.
Erica Shannon Stueve, Attorney and Iowa Area Program Manager for the Iowa Primary Care Association and the Iowa Association of Rural Health presented on Maternal/Child Health.
“Our passion and tradition of United Methodist’s makes it vital that the work we do is a part of the larger work of the state of Iowa to reform and assure that all people have access to physical and mental health care,” stated Stueve.
The Iowa Primary Care Association (Iowa PCA) provides technical assistance and training to Iowa community health centers to support their ongoing commitment to provide quality, affordable primary and preventive health care to the underserved in Iowa.
Ann Naffier, Managing Attorney and Sol Varisco, Executive Director of Justice For Our Neighbors presented on the Criminalization of Communities of Color.
Iowa Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON) is a nonprofit organization, welcoming low-income immigrants of all faiths into our churches and communities by providing free, high-quality immigration legal services, education, and advocacy.
Crystal Wilkin and Kristine Rodney wrapped up the day with a conversation on The Commission on a Way Forward.
In addition, the UMW hosted a viewing of the movie “The U Turn” and discussed the Criminalization of Communities of Color as well as viewing of “Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare” with a discussion after.