14. September 2023 · Comments Off on Ag and Rural Caucus -September 2023 update · Categories: Committee News, Recent Events

ARC September Schedule

Note September date change for Better Practices: Thursday 14 September. 

Fentanyl kills…but us?

“Fentanyl’s effects are fast and dangerous…It’s linked to more fatalities under age 50 in the country than any other cause of death, including heart disease, cancer and suicide” (Seattle Times, 4 Sept 2023).

We want to distance ourselves from headlines about drug deaths. We may try to discount dramatic reports of drug overdose deaths as scare tactics for political or commercial gain. Or, we stereotype substance users – they are not like us – so we can shake our head and move on to the article on cryptocurrency. Or, we use the story as one more hit on life on Seattle and Tacoma streets.

What may slow our distancing from drug overdose deaths is the comparison to “heart disease, cancer, and suicide.” Deaths from these factors are very real in our rural communities, and in our families. What makes us think that we in rural Washington are somehow insulated from drug fatalities?

Our policy briefing on the 21nd is drug use and overdose fatalities in rural Washington. Kris Shera from the Health Care Administration will give us an overview of drug overdose data across the state. Steven Krager is the health officer for much of the rural southwest of the state. He will drill down on drug use disorder in the communities where we live.

Come to listen and learn. And to share. Join your observations and your heart to make sure we don’t use dispassionate data to distance ourselves from the real life effects of drug use disorder.

4 September 2023

Messaging Guns

We cannot seem to talk about what is “rural” without guns coming into the conversation. Never mind that city folks are ever more buying guns and it is mostly city folks who are mis-using them. Guns are rural, and we rural Democrats need to craft our message. 

Last winter we had an open session talking about gun control in anticipation of the 2023 legislative session. After the meeting, I summarized the conversation and crafted a discussion piece. It is time now to do that discussion about how we talk about guns.

Language works both ways. We use language to express our ideas. And language can feed back on our ideas. Messaging can change what we think we want. This is the case with my draft messaging of gun control. 

My messaging piece changes my usual thinking. 1) I talk about “stopping the killing” rather than gun control; 2) I accept that many people buy guns for self protection and that is legitimate; 3) I accept that there can be “good guys with guns” and we should be smart about making allies with “traditionalists” to isolate the “absolutionists”; and 4) I accept the argument that “people kill people” and “stopping the killing” starts with our families and communities.

These changes are controversial. Let’s talk. Join our conversation Thursday 14 September. Come with your ideas, your experience, your messaging.

30 August 2023

September Schedule

6:30 pm Thursday 14 September
 Better Practices roundtable

Stop the Killing…How to message gun policy

6:30 pm Thursday 21 September
Policy Series

Opioids in Rural Washington
Kris Shera, State Opioid Coordinator; Health Care Admiinistration
Dr. Steven Krager, Health Officer, Cowlitz, Skamania, Wahkiakum, Pacific counties

Our Better Practices roundtable is on the first Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm.. Use the link above for 2023.

Our Policy Series is on the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 pm. Use the link above for 2023. 

Copyright © 2023 Ag and Rural Caucus, All rights reserved.
Ag and Rural Caucus of State Democratic Central Committee
Our mailing address is:
Ag and Rural Caucus
2921 Mud Creek Rd
Waitsburg, WA 99361