Making Democracy Work

First Thursday Luncheons

See who is speaking this month!

About First Thursdays

Once a month (except July and August) The League of Women Voters of Deschutes County hosts a luncheon. League Board members discuss current issues and invite local experts to be our host speakers.

Everyone is invited to this luncheon. Please arrive by 11:00 am if ordering from the menu. The speaker will begin at noon. There will be time for questions and answers at the finish of the presentation. No RSVP needed.

Black Bear Diner
1465 NE 3rd St.
Bend, OR 97701
The corner of Third and Olney

See the Calendar Page for list of all events

the new political landscape

Speaker will be Judy Stiegler, former State House Representative and Political Science Instructor at COCC and OSU Cascades. She teaches Intro to US Government and Politics, and State and Local Government and Politics

Ms. Stiegler studied at the University of Oregon and Lewis and Clark College, Northwest School of Law.

She will cover the new political landscape nationally and locally and also address the idea of the National Popular Vote.

women's health

Speaker will be Liliana Cabrera, of Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette.

Liliana Cabrera comes to Central Oregon from the Central Coast of California. Prior to moving to Redmond, Liliana worked as a Community Health Educator for Planned Parenthood in Monterey County. Her work as a Community Educator has allowed her to follow her passion to work in the field of social justice and given her the opportunity to do so in Central Oregon.

bend-la pine school district funding

Speaker will be Shay Mikalson, Superintendent of Bend-La Pine School District.

In this role, Shay Mikalson oversees all educational and administrative issues, and develops operational procedures for the District; recommends review procedures for the allocation of staff and for special studies authorized by the Bend-La Pine Schools' Board of Directors, and directs the assignment of school administrators.
Shay has earned a statewide reputation for increased student achievement.

casa of central oregon

Speakers will be Jenna App, Executive Director, and Leslie Fritch, Associate Director of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Central Oregon.

Jenna graduated from Vassar College and the University of Arizona College of Law. She clerked for the Alaska Court of Appeals and was a Fellow with the National Association for Public Interest Law. Before moving to Bend in 2013, she practiced law in Alaska and directed a lobbying and consulting practice.

Leslie became a CASA in Sonoma County, CA in 1997 and has been an enthusiastic supporter and volunteer ever since. She received a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley with an emphasis in Ethnic Studies.

CASA advocates for children in the foster care system.

Central Oregon Health Council

Speaker will be Rebeckah Berry, MS, CHES, Operations and Projects Manager at the Central Oregon Health Council (COHC).

Rebeckah has supported projects like the Pain Standards Task Force, a regional group of providers committed to educating their peers around the topic of safer opioid prescribing and evidence-based alternatives for individuals living with chronic or persistent pain. She managed the development of the 2016-2019 Central Oregon Regional Health Improvement Plan, and supports the work of numerous committees and workgroups striving to serve our communities in their effort toward creating a healthier Central Oregon.

Ms. Berry received her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University, her Masters of Science at the University of Kentucky, and is credentialed as a Certified Health Education Specialist.

Rebeckah moved to Bend, Oregon in 2006. She spent eight years working at Deschutes County Health Services as a Programs Coordinator and Health Educator, where she worked closely with school districts and non-profit organizations throughout Central Oregon, increasing the accuracy, consistency and comprehensive nature of their sexual health education among students and consumers of varying ages and backgrounds.

Rebeckah enjoys mountain biking, all kinds of trail running, and backpacking. She looks for opportunities to be outside as much as possible. Before she began working at the COHC, Rebeckah and her significant other traveled the US and Canada in their minivan for a year exploring and enjoying nature.

at risk youth services in central oregon

Speaker will be Amanda Gow, Director of Community Programs, Cascade Youth and Family Services and Program Manager, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Oregon.

Amanda is a native to Bend and graduated in 1999 from Bend Senior High and holds a degree from the University of Oregon in International Business.

Amanda began working with J Bar J in 2011 as part of the events and development team. During that time she oversaw J Bar J's biggest fundraiser, the Oregon High Desert Classics.

In 2013, Amanda accepted the position of Program Director for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Amanda is also a Big Sister to an 11 year old girl and truly believes and lives the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

family access network - the other kind of homework

Speaker will be Mikaela Rickards, FAN Donor Relations & Events Planning.

Mikaela comes to Central Oregon from Seattle. Prior to beginning her work for FAN she worked for Outdoors for All, an adaptive recreation organization and for her family's business. Upon her relocation to Bend Mikaela found FAN and was struck by it's practical approach to work with students and families through basic needs connections. No longer on the program side, she is enjoying development and event planning that focuses on donor retention and diversified funding. Mikaela is also the head coach for the girls lacrosse team at Sisters High School and a strong proponent for female empowerment at the youth level.

The Family Access Network improves lives by ensuring that children have access to basic need services. FAN is unique to Central Oregon, located in all public schools in Deschutes and Crook County. Working through one dedicated FAN advocate, a child or parent is connected to essential services such as food, shelter, heating, health care, clothing and more. FAN has been in existence since 1993 and has served over 130,000 individuals since it's inception.

the deschutes river, how best to manage?

Speaker will be Margi Hoffman, and Gail Snyder, spokesperson for the Coalition for the Deschutes.

Margi will talk about a draft plan for management of the upper Deschutes River that is being prepared by the Deschutes Basin Board of Control. She will address canal piping by local irrigation districts, small-scale hydropower, stream flows, river health and agricultural water use efficiency.

Margi is a locally based consultant with a decade of experience in energy efficiency and resource conservation. She is currently consulting with the Farmers Conservation Alliance in creating watershed plans for eight Central Oregon irrigation districts that will be called the Central Oregon Irrigation Efficiency Improvement Project.

Our speaker and the river management issue will be introduced by Gail Snyder.

2017 legislative session summary

Speaker will be Tim Knopp, Senator from District 27.

Senator Knopp will summarize the last legislative session in Salem.

Tim Knopp is a native Oregonian who has lived in Central Oregon fo​r over 39 years. He and his wife, Melissa, have been married over 30​​​ years and have 4 children: Reagan(his wife, Caitlynn), Emilie, Daniel, and Grace.

His background includes nearly 20 years as a small business owner and community service as a former little league coach and board member of the Bend Chamber of Commerce as well as serving as a current board member of affordable housing non-profit, First Story. Tim is the Executive Vice President of the Central Oregon Builders Association and the Executive Director of Building Partners for Affordable Housing.

Tim previously served in the Legislature from 1999 to 2005 for three terms, including one as Oregon House Majority Leader. He led the PERS Reforms of 2003.

Our Changing Climate: Impacts on the Pacific Northwest

Speaker will be Caroline Skidmore, Climate Reality Leader.

Our Changing Climate: Impacts on the Pacific Northwest, Solutions, and How to be an Agent of Change.

In March of 2017 Caroline, along with her two teenage sons, became a Climate Leader through Al Gore's Climate Reality Project. Since becoming a Climate Leader, Caroline has given presentations on climate change and renewable energy to a variety of community organizations including Indivisible Bend, 350Deschutes, The Environmental Center, Roundabout Books, and First Presbyterian Church. She is passionate about working to protect our environment for future generations and strengthening Oregon's economy through the renewable energy industry.

Caroline has owned and operated Skidmore Speech and Language Services, a pediatric speech pathology clinic in Bend since December of 2002. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California and her Masters of Science degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Oregon. Caroline is an active member of the Bend community.

bend charter review

Speaker will be Bend City Councilor, Bruce Abernethy.

In June of this year, the City Council adopted a resolution to establish a committee to consider and recommend Charter amendments to the voters by May 2018.

Bruce was elected to the City Council in January 2017. He also served on the City Council from 2000 to 2008, including a stint as Mayor.

Bruce moved to Bend in 1992. He is married to Dr. Mary Meador and has two adult daughters.

Bruce's top issues include affordable housing and homelessness. He has been involved in educational initiatives including Children's Forest of Central Oregon, Camp Tamarack (outdoor school), Better Together, Cascades Commitment and TeachOregon.