Pressing issues to see debate Nov. 5-7 at seminar

Elliott Smith
for Western Today

Panelists will discuss some of the state's most pressing issues -- including the business climate, economic recovery and job creation -- during the 2013 Munro Seminar for Civic Education, which takes place Nov. 5, 6 and 7 in Viking Union on the Western Washington University campus.

The Munro seminar is an annual program sponsored by Western's Political Science Department designed to bring students, faculty, business leaders and legislators together to discuss how to build a smarter Washington. Ralph Munro is a WWU alumnus who served as Washington's secretary of state from 1980 to 2000. He now serves as a member of Western’s Board of Trustees. The talks each morning will focus on technology, higher education, Washington's business climate, Washington politics and more. A media panel on the final day will feature guests from the Seattle PI, Washington State Wire and The Herald newspaper in Everett.

Students, faculty, staff and members of the broader Bellingham community are encouraged to attend the talks, all of which are free.

"The panelists this year will be focusing on some of the most important issues facing our state," said Sara Weir, chair of Western’s Political Science Department and director of the Ralph Munro Institute. "Western students and community members are particularly encouraged to join us for these interesting and lively discussions with key decision makers and experts."

All panels will be in the Viking Union Multipurpose Room. Community members attending the Munro seminars can obtain a free parking permit at Western’s Parking Office.

Paul Dunn, senior executive assistant to WWU President Bruce Shepard, will serve as moderator for the panels.

The list of topics and panelists for the three-day seminar:

Tuesday, Nov. 5: “Changing Demographics, New Technology, and the Modern Workforce: How Should Higher Education Respond?”

9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. - Panel with Sen. Michael Baumgartner, vice chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee and member of the Senate Higher Education Committee; Marjorie Hatter, Phillips 66 Refinery manager and member of the WWU Foundation Board of Directors; and Paul Francis, executive director of the Council of Presidents.

Tuesday, Nov. 5: “Washington’s Business Climate: Too Much Tax? Too Much Regulation?”

10:30 to 11:45 a.m. - Panel with Rep. Chris Reykdal, vice chair of the House Labor and Workforce Development Committee and member of the House Finance Committee; Rep. J.T. Wilcox, minority floor leader, House Appropriations Committee; Paul Guppy, vice president for research, Washington Policy Center; and Andrew Nicholas, senior fiscal analyst, Washington State Budget and Policy Center.

Wednesday, Nov. 6: “Economic Recovery: Competing Priorities for State Dollars”

9 to 10:15 a.m. - Panel with Sen. Rodney Tom, Senate majority leader; Rep. Pat Sullivan, House majority leader; Sen. David Frockt, Senate Democratic floor leader and a member of the Senate Higher Education Committee; Rep. Chad Magendanz, assistant ranking member on the House Education Committee and a member of the House Higher Education Committee.

Wednesday, Nov. 6: “Nurturing Talent & Innovation: What Is the State’s Role in Job Creation?”

10:30 to 11:45 a.m. - Panel with Rep. Ross Hunter, chair of the House Appropriations Committee;
Bill McSherry, director of State & Local Government Operations, The Boeing Co.; Susannah Malarkey, executive director, Technology Alliance; Egils Milbergs, former executive director of the Washington Economic Development Commission; and Alex Pietsch, director, Governor’s Office of Aerospace.

Thursday, Nov. 7: “Who Built That? Public Infrastructure and the Private Sector”

9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. - Panel with Sen. Doug Ericksen, chair of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee; Rep. Dan Kristiansen, House minority leader; Rep. Jeff Morris, chair of the House Technology and Economic Development Committee; and Rep. Larry Springer, deputy majority leader for Jobs and Economic Development and member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Thursday, Nov. 7: “Changing Media Landscape: Impact on Political Coverage”

10:30 to 11:45 a.m. - Panel with Joel Connelly, columnist with seattlepi.com; Erik Smith, news editor and staff writer, Washington State Wire, and Jerry Cornfield, reporter and columnist with the Everett Herald.

The seminar is scheduled to air on TVW, the state of Washington’s public TV network.

The seminar is sponsored by Western’s Ralph Munro Institute, a program of the WWU Political Science Department that 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.

[ Information from a Western Washington University press release by contributed to this story. ]

Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 10:52am
Rob McKenna, then the Washington state attorney general and a candidate for governor, speaks during the closing session of the 2012 Munro Institute for Civic Education at Western Washington University on Thursday, June 28, 2012. File photo by Matthew Ande

Rob McKenna, then the Washington state attorney general and a candidate for governor, speaks during the closing session of the 2012 Munro Institute for Civic Education at Western Washington University on Thursday, June 28, 2012. File photo by Matthew Ande

Rob McKenna, then the Washington state attorney general and a candidate for governor, speaks during the closing session of the 2012 Munro Institute for Civic Education at Western Washington University on Thursday, June 28, 2012. File photo by Matthew Ande

Rob McKenna, then the Washington state attorney general and a candidate for governor, speaks during the closing session of the 2012 Munro Institute for Civic Education at Western Washington University on Thursday, June 28, 2012. File photo by Matthew Ande