Legislative advocacy has long been a part of the heritage of United Methodists in Iowa. One Tuesday, Feb. 7, that tradition will continue with a Legislative Advocacy Day at Wesley United Methodist Church, 800 E. 12th St., Des Moines.
“We will be meeting the whole day, and we hope many people will join us as we begin to look at key issues as Iowans and United Methodists,” said Rev. Brian Carter, team leader of the Legislative Advocacy Team.
The Advocacy Day event will take place from 9 am to 3:30 pm. During this time, participants will get the chance to speak with Bishop Laurie Haller in a Q and A session, followed by presentations by two special speakers. Ralph Rosenburg of the Iowa Environmental Council will speak about environmental issues facing Iowa, including clean water. Teresa Bomhoff, president of the Greater Des Moines National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), will speak about changes to the mental health system in Iowa.
Participants will enjoy a complimentary lunch at Wesley. Following lunch, participants can go to the State Capitol and meet with their own state senators and representatives, or the Legislative Advocacy team will set up meetings regarding mental health and the environment.
Participants are also invited to attend a legislative breakfast hosted by Bishop Haller from 7:30 to 8:30 am at the church, for a charge of $5. All state legislators are invited to breakfast. Register for breakfast calling Brian Carter at 515-979-5775 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
“It will be a time for legislators to be prayed for and prayed over,” said Carter.
Click here to listen to the "Iowa Conference Conversations" with Rev. Brian Carter
Each year during session, the Legislative Advocacy Team with the bishop and the assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries, choose several legislative priorities on which to focus. This year's priorities are:
- Mental health including proving adequate funding for mental health care; suicide prevention, and providing an adequate number of mental health care workers.
- Poverty including providing a minimum wage/living wage; welfare reform and gambling.
- Gun violence measures supporting universal background checks; ensuring guns are sold only through licensed retailers; prohibiting those with mental illness from purchasing a gun; establishing a minimum age for gun purchase and possession; banning large-capacity magazines; promoting new tech to aid law enforcement, and prohibiting access of guns to children.
- Environment including studying climate change, human activity and the impact of climate change; greenhouse gas reduction, and the right to abundant and clean water.
During session, the Legislative Team, who are all volunteers, meet with legislators and staff one-on-one or in committee meetings at the state capitol. 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.
“We are there to remind them of the human factor that our bills impact, not just industry and commerce,” said Carter. “We remind legislators of the moral and ethical impact and work for the common good.”
Carter hopes the Legislative Advocacy Day will get Iowans involved and interested in ways the United Methodist Church can help the people of Iowa on these legislative priorities.
“It will be a time for devotion and to think about what it means to be responsible as Christians and United Methodists caring for the least and the lost,” he said.
For more information on the upcoming Legislative Advocacy Day or to register, visit their Facebook event page