W2D presents 8 programs per season—from September through May (there is no program in December). This page provides a brief summary of past programs beginning with the most recent.
As you can see, W2D's past programs have been insightful and informative and cover a wide variety of topics with the most influential and knowledgeable speakers available.
To view photos of recent programs, please visit our Photo Gallery.
April 13, 2017
"EMERGE OREGON: Unleashing the Political Power of Women" with Emerge Oregon's Executive Director, Jillian Schoene
At our April program, Willamette Women Democrats (W2D) hosted Jillian Schoene, Executive Director of Emerge Oregon along with 3 former Emerge participants and board member, Karen Packer and over 70 attendees. Emerge trains Democratic women to run and win public office and operates in 18 states. In 2016, Emerge Oregon helped 25 women get on ballots with 72% winning their seats. One positive result of the November election is the significant increase in women seeking to be trained to run for office. For the first time in the Oregon Legislature, women (54%) outnumber men. Among the inspiring takeaways from the panelists were: Don’t be afraid to run for office; with the right training and coaching, you can succeed. Think about civic engagement at all levels and local electeds have many opportunities to make a big impact quickly.
March 9 2017
"The Perilous Path for Oregon's Election Integrity" with Former Secretary of State, Jeanne Atkins.
W2D’s March program featured former Oregon Secretary of State, Jeanne Atkins. Jeanne spoke to over 100 women and men about the authority and purview of this office from performance audits to election practices.
During her tenure, Jeanne visited all 36 Oregon counties to better understand local election/voter practices and challenges like how do you hustle a ballot box from Paisley to Lakeview (Lake County seat) after the 8 PM voting deadline? With the sheriff driving, of course!
Jeanne is proud of her work on campaign finance reform and especially, passage of the Oregon Voter Motor Act. Keep an eye on redistricting activities under Oregon’s new Secretary of State Dennis Richardson (R).
Jeanne is the lead candidate to chair the Democratic Party of Oregon. We look forward to future collaboration!
February 9, 2017
"Action on Climate Change in the Age of Trump" with Thomas Wheatley of Renew Oregon
Oregon is committed to eliminating the use of coal power by 2035, Thomas Wheatley, Renew Oregon said there is much more work to be done. Speaking to a crowd of nearly 100 on February 9 on priorities for clean energy including passing a Clean Fuel Standard to reduce emissions from trucks and cars by 10% over the next decade. Local and state activism is critical during the Trump era of environmental roll backs. Get involved by signing the Clean Energy Jobs Petition. Text Renew Energy at 971-248-2723 with the message SIGN and be a change agent for reducing greenhouse gases!
Below is an article from the Lake Oswego Review about our November 10th program with Jim Moore
Why Were the Polls so Wrong?
Analyst Jim Moore offers his theories about the national election as Democrats celebrate state and local victories
November 17, 2016 | Written by Anthony Macuk | Lake Oswego Review
“Anguish calls for calories.”
That was the explanation for why last week’s meeting of the Willamette Women Democrats featured trays of cookies rather than veggies. Given the poll-defying outcome of the presidential election two days earlier, a somber mood could probably be expected.
But while the cookie trays were quickly emptied, attendees remained upbeat as they discussed the outcomes of several races in Lake Oswego and Clackamas County.
“We’re here to commiserate together,” said W2D president Heidi Fox. “And to celebrate our local victories.”
By Fox’s tally, those victories include Gov. Kate Brown, Treasurer-elect Tobias Read, Rep. Ann Lininger, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, Clackamas County Chair-elect Jim Bernard and Commissioner-elect Ken Humberston, as well as Lake Oswego City Councilor-elect Theresa Kohlhoff.
“I haven’t listened to the news for two days, but we’re very happy about the results of the Clackamas County races,” said Rosie Stephens, who chairs the Clackamas County Democrats and served as a delegate for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention in July.
Last week's gathering featured a presentation about the election by Dr. Jim Moore, followed by a Q&A session. Moore is a political science professor at Pacific University and director of the Tom McCall Center for Policy Innovation; he was invited by W2D to “give his expert assessment of what this election says about us as a nation and as Oregonians.”
The most common question: Why were all the polls so wrong?
Moore offered a few explanations, including an overreliance on New York Times analyst Nate Silver’s predictive FiveThirtyEight model, which works by averaging poll results.
“We all kind of forgot the second semester of stats,” he said. “In stats, there’s no relationship between one poll and another — there simply isn’t that connection.”
He also outlined some of the challenges that pollsters face today, including a response rate for poll calls that he said has declined from 60-80 percent to 10 percent, leaving open the possibility that the people who actually answer the phone don’t represent an accurate sample of the voting population.
“There’s some unknown self-selection taking place with that 90 percent,” he said.
Many of the audience’s questions focused on speculation about how different factors or choices could have affected the outcome of the national election. What was the impact of FBI Director James Comey’s last-minute announcement that there were additional Clinton emails under review? Did third-party candidates hurt Clinton’s chances? Would Bernie Sanders have had a better shot? Did Clinton underestimate rural voters?
According to Moore, some of those questions are tough to answer definitively. For example, he said, Comey’s letter had a clear impact on national polls, but Electoral College battleground states “didn’t budge.” Others are clearer: Moore said third-party voters didn’t impact the results, and that Clinton concentrated her campaign on areas with Democratic voters at the expense of other key locations.
“Diehard Bernie supporters certainly believe that (he would have won),” Moore added. “I’m not sure I do. He would have had an uphill battle.”
At the end of the two-hour meeting, some of the attendees said they came away feeling better, even if the results still stung.
“I was feeling disgusted, sad and shocked,” said W2D member Gertrud Otzen. “It’s nice to get a perspective about what happened — I feel a little bit better.”
Stephens said she thought the meeting reaffirmed her belief that all politics is local, and that “local and state (politics) matter a lot more than who is in the White House.” That emphasis on local races was echoed by other W2D members after Moore’s lecture.
“I feel better,” said Rea Christoffersson. “(We have) more information, and more assurance that this isn’t the end of the world. And there’s a lot of uplifting stuff in Oregon.”
October 13, 2016
"Congressman Kurt Schrader: Representing a Diverse District in Oregon"
September 8, 2016
"Governor Kate Brown Shares Her Vision for Oregon"
May 12, 2016
"Tea Party Shenanigans in Clackamas County" with Carlotta Colette, Ben Williams and Charlotte Lehan
April 14, 2016
"What’s Oregon Doing to Grow Jobs for the 21st Century Economy?" with Rep. Tobias Read and Heather Stafford
January 14th 2016
U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer
November 18th 2015
Secretary of State Democratic Candidate Forum
Congressman Earl Blumenauer spoke to W2D’s January meeting about a variety of issues, focusing primarily on his vision for crafting a much-improved farm bill. He is holding forums all across the state to engage Oregonians in developing our own version of a farm bill, which would reduce spending, focus resources on those most in need, spur innovative forming and conservation practices, and improve access to healthy foods. He encouraged W2D members to become actively involved with these critical issues and provide him with our ideas on promising practices. The contact on his staff for the farm bill is Liv Brumfield, firstname.lastname@example.org
Members questioned Congressman Blumenauer about the Transpacific Trade Partnership as well as other issues before Congress, and asked for his views about the takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge outside of Bend.
The Secretary of State Democratic Candidate Forum was a very successful event with 107 people in attendance .
The forum was structured to have an opening statement and closing statement for each candidate and several predetermined questions followed by an audience Q & A.
All of the candidates provided interesting and informative responses, and it was obvious after the program that we would be well served by any of our Democratic candidates.
Click here to download a synopsis of the questions and candidate responses.