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Andree Mihalyo
Joann Swanson


(360) 949-6192



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Stories From Around the State

  • Date:  July 12 and July 19, 2012

    Location:  Port Ludlow Beach Club, Port Ludlow, Washington

    Event:  Candidate Forums

    Partners:  Jefferson County/Port Townsend Leader and Jefferson County American Association of University Women

    The League of Women Voters of Jefferson County, Washington, held two judicial candidate forums in Port Ludlow on July 12 and 19.  Both events were moderated by Fred Obee of the Jefferson County/Port Townsend Leader. 

    The July 12 forum, attended by 40 people, featured six of the nine statewide Supreme Court candidates, as well as one candidate representative.  The candidates described their life experiences and qualifications for the bench, and responded to a recent Jefferson County Bar Association poll that evaluated them across five professional categories.  Justice Stephen Gonzalez, whose opponent, Bruce Danielson, has not campaigned or appeared in public, weighed in on the value of judicial diversity on the state Supreme Court and its impact on elections.  Candidates also fielded questions from the audience on healthcare, judicial activism, and their views on prosecuting attorneys versus defense lawyers.

    The July 19 forum, attended by 80 people, featured all six Court of Appeals (Division 2) candidates and all three candidates for the Superior Court of Jefferson County.  In addition to sharing their backgrounds, candidates addressed the importance of judicial independence and diversity, and responded to the same recent Jefferson County Bar Association poll that evaluated them along five categories.  The candidates also evaluated the process by which court commissioners can hear cases and then advocate for those cases in front of the Supreme Court, agreeing that reform is needed to increase the perception of fairness.

    The events were covered in the Port Townsend and Jefferson County Leader, as well as in The Peninsula Daily News and on KPTZ, the local FM radio station, and video recordings of the events were shown on the local public-access cable channel.

  • On May 30, Zaida and I traveled to the rolling hills of the Palouse region in eastern Washington state for the 2012 Council of Leaders of the League of Women Voters of Washington.   As hosts of Council, the League of Pullman pulled together both a panel discussion and a banquet with speakers that discussed the state of judicial diversity and independence in Washington. 

  • Date:  3:30-5:30 PM; 6:00-8:00 PM, June 2, 2012

    Location:  Smith Center for Undergraduate Learning, Room 202, Washington State University; Banyan's on the Ridge restaurant, Pullman, Washington

    Event:  Panel Discussion and Banquet

    Partners:  Thomas Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University, Whitman County Bar Association, Whitman County Gazette, Washington State Bar Association, The Daily News

    In conjunction with the 2012 Council of the League of Women Voters of Washington, the League of Women Voters of Pullman will host a program on June 2, 2012, exploring judicial diversity in the state.  A free public panel, "The Need for a Diverse Judiciary in the State of Washington will take place from from 3:30-5:30 PM, will feature Washington Supreme Court Justice Stephen Gonzales; Spokane Appellate Court Judge Laurel Siddoway; Superior Court Judge Cameron Mitchell of Benton-Franklin County; District Court Judge Douglas Robinson of Whitman County; and Dr. James Gibson, the Sidney W. Souers Professor of Government, Washington University in St. Louis.  The panel will be moderated by Dr. Cornell Clayton, Director of the Thomas Foley Institute at Washington State University.

    Following the panel, Washington Supreme Court Justice Charles Wiggins will address the Council banquet as keynote speaker on judicial independence at Banyan's on the Ridge restaurant in Pullman.  Free bus transportation from the panel will be provided.  Professor Nicolas Lovrich of Washington State University will moderate questions from the audience.   $25 paid registration is required for the dinner portion of the banquet (contact lwvpull@yahoo.com), but the speech itself will be free and open to the public.

    Panel video is available here

  • Date:  May 19, 2012

    Location:  12-3 PM, YWCA Ballroom, Bellingham, Washington

    Event:  Annual Meeting

    The League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County will make judicial campaigns the focus of their Annual Meeting on May 19.  Cathy Allen, President of The Connections Group and judicial campaign trainer with partner organization Justice at Stake, will talk about the judicial selection process in Washington state.  In addition to covering the basics of judicial elections, Allen will review efforts to promote a more diverse judiciary and regulate the funding of nonpartisan campaigns for selecting judges.  There will be a fee ($15) for those who would like to partake in the luncheon, but the admittance to the speech itself will be free to the public.

    To register, e-mail ProgramChair@LWVbellinghamwhatcom.org


  • This past weekend, I visited a League at the far northwestern tip of the United States--only about 50 miles south of Vancouver, Canada--to attend "Access and Justice for All," a three-hour seminar that included a keynote speech, panel discussion, and question-and-answer session to explore diversity and the courts in Washington state.

  • Date:  April 21, 2012

    Location:  11:30-2:30 PM, Northwood Hall, Bellingham, Washington 

    Event:  Panel Discussion

    The League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County offered a judicial diversity seminar, "Access and Justice for All," on April 21, 2012, featuring Washington Supreme Court Justice Steven Gonzalez; Deborah Fleck, Superior Court Judge and Chair of the Workforce Diversity Committee, which recently published “Building a Diverse Court;” Charles Snyder, Whatcom Superior Court Judge; Raquel Montoya-Lewis, Western Washington University assistant professor and Nooksack Indian Tribe Chief Judge; and was moderated by Robbi Ferron, Tribal Court Judge.  The seminar was an opportunity to explore why a diverse court is so important in  a multicultural society, what is being done in Washington and specifically Whatcom County  to promote diversity, and what the challenges are in crafting a representative bench. 

    The presentation featured a provided lunch and was open to the public.

  • The Regional Training for LWV State Coaches this past weekend was a great success! Thirty League leaders from 9 states (mostly in the central region of the United States) gathered with LWVUS board, staff, and 8 of the 23 Ruth S. Shur Fellows in Houston, TX from April 13-15, 2012.

  • Date:  11 AM to 1 PM, April 18, 2012

    Location:  Gonzaga University School of Law, 721 N Cincinnati Street, Spokane, Washington

    Event:  Panel Discussion

    Partners:  Moot Court Room, Gonzaga University

    The League of Women Voters of Spokane, Washington, hosted a free public panel discussion entitled "Diversity on the Bench: Why It Matters" on April 18, 2012, in the Moot Court Room at Gonzaga University School of Law.  Panelists included Judge Maryann Moreno, Superior Court; Judge Gregory Sypolt, Superior Court; Judge Patty Connelly Walker, District Court; Judge Mary Logan, Municipal Court; and Judge Kenneth Kato, Court of Appeals (retired).  The panel was be moderated by George Critchlow, Associate Professor of Clinical Law Programs at Gonzaga University School of Law.   The event was open to the public and light refreshments were served.

  • LWVUS Board and staff will be training some 30 League leaders from 9 states in Houston, TX on Friday, April 13 until Sunday, April 15, 2012. The training will bring together individuals who have volunteered to be state coaches as part of the Membership and Leadership Development (MLD) program, funded by the Fund for Local League Growth.