ELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/Will TPA, TPP and TTIP create “Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All?”Rachel Williams, Legislative Internhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/119http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/119<div class="ExternalClassF66B37829CC64DE0B0848EBFBE197B50"><p>In the State of the Union speech last month, President Obama reaffirmed his priorities and his interest on passing trade agreements with Asia and the European Union. These agreements, he claimed, would &quot;protect our workers, protect our environment and open new markets to new goods stamped 'Made in the USA.'&quot; Announcing his intentions, the President is now looking to Congress to help pass three main pieces of legislation, including&#58;</p><ul><li><strong>Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)</strong> –<strong> </strong>the authority of the President&#160;to negotiate trade agreements from Congressional approval.&#160;It is a technique which has been used to&#160;block opportunities for dissenting members of Congress to amend or filibuster an agreement. </li><li><strong>The Trans-Pacific Partnership Act (TPP)</strong> - A trade agreement between 11 different countries in the Pacific Ocean Region. Congress and the public have not seen the trade agreement itself, making it difficult to know the final compromises and agreements.</li><li><strong>The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)</strong> - A trade agreement with European Union members.</li></ul><p>Trade may at times seem insignificant, but it affects many aspects of our daily lives&#58; from jobs, wages, and benefits, to international relations and global poverty. In light of the globalizing economy and reality of these new agreements, we must ask ourselves as people of faith, &quot;<em>will these policies help all of God's people thrive</em>?&quot;</p><p>The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America supports policies which help promote holistic economic growth, recognizing the value of raising families out of poverty and fostering a <em>&quot;sufficient, sustainable livelihood for all&quot;</em> (see the <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Economic-Life"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">ELCA Statement on Economic Life</span></a>). We believe that everyone should be able to support themselves and prosper within an economy. </p><p>Proponents of TPA support the trade agreements because it shows a united government during trade negotiations, creating stronger leverage in the trade talks. However, there is concerned about haste in passing these agreements. Some have indicated that there won't be enough time to read the agreement, debate it, or know what agreements will actually be upheld in the final version. Opponents worry that, if written carelessly, agreements may continue to weaken standards that harm workers (both domestically and internationally), enable policies which harm the environment, and prey on marginalized communities for their resources. With that being said, strong trade policy can be a chance to create regulations that benefit both businesses and consumers.</p><p>The Church has acknowledged that <em>what is in our interest must be placed in the context of what is good for the neighbor.</em> When making decisions in the economic realm how our actions affect our neighbors must also be taken into consideration.<em> Sudden shifts in globalized capital and financial markets can dramatically affect the economic well-being of millions of people, for good or for ill (</em><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Economic-Life"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">ELCA statement on Economic Life</span></a>).</p><p>Some Members of Congress have also explained how TPP and TTIP could be a chance to set high-standard trade rules for the international community. These trade agreements could create regulations that benefit both American businesses and consumers. Although TPP and TTIP can be a chance to create regulations that benefit both American businesses and consumers, terms of trade often work to the disadvantage of developing countries. Furthermore, benefits of trade agreements hinge on whether or not the countries signatory to them honor them as well whether there are ways to enforce the trade agreements. </p><p>Trade agreements are important reflections of our values as a country and can have a positive or detrimental effect on the daily lives of billions of people. With TPP agreements to finish in March, we will continue to support policies that are inclusive and protect marginalized populations. Trade agreements should give everyone a chance to thrive and create a livelihood can be an agreement we all can stand behind. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus brings good news to the poor and releases the captive. God executed justice for the oppressed. As followers of Christ, we must ensure that the actions of our government do not cause dire consequences to those with less power. &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; &#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </p></div>02/27/2015Lenten Reflection: Thinking about food in a time of fastingMary Minette, Director for Environmental Education and Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/118http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/118<div class="ExternalClassF90EF8A9E33242A994D2084D52EF04B0"><p><em>&quot;You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with richness.</em><em>&#160; </em><em>The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together with joy.&quot; </em></p><p style="text-align&#58;right;">Psalm 65&#58;11-13</p><p>For Lent, some people give up a favorite food as a way to reflect on scarcity and abundance, the gifts that God has given, and the sacrifice embodied in Christ's life, death and resurrection.&#160; I've done this myself because I thought it was a good way to focus on the meaning and purpose of the Lenten season (although my husband says that the year I gave up chocolate I became unbelievably cranky).&#160; Rather than giving up a food this year, my plan for Lent is to try to be more mindful of and thankful for the food that blesses and feeds me and my family. I aim to do this by finding ways to eat more sustainably and avoid waste.</p><p><img alt="mary23.PNG" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/mary23.PNG" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;190px;height&#58;254px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />If you've been reading the &quot;Living Earth Reflections&quot; I send each month, you probably know that I get a little obsessive about food waste.&#160;&#160; I lay that at the feet of my depression-era mother, who never had a leftover too small to stick in a little plastic container against some future need.&#160; For her to do otherwise would have gone against what she was taught during her childhood. Food was a gift and a blessing, especially in times of scarcity. To waste it was wrong.</p><p>She definitely had a point.&#160; In our world of abundance, many still don't have enough to eat.&#160; In our country and in the developed world as a whole, we waste a lot of food. &#160;This waste has economic, environmental and moral costs. </p><p>Each year an average U.S. family of four wastes an <a href="http&#58;//news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/10/141013-food-waste-national-security-environment-science-ngfood/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">estimated</span></a> $1484 in food. In our slowly growing and wage-stagnant economy, that's not a small amount! In 2010, the USDA <a href="http&#58;//www.ers.usda.gov/publications/eib-economic-information-bulletin/eib121.aspx"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">estimated that</span></a> 153 billion pounds of food with a retail value of $161 billion was wasted by U.S. consumers and retailers, more than one-third of our food supply. Wasted food also wastes all of the resources that go into growing, shipping, packaging and refrigerating food before it even reaches your table—and this also includes a lot of energy, much of which comes from polluting fossil fuels.&#160; </p><p>Most wasted food ends up in a landfill. According to the <a href="http&#58;//www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste/faqs.htm"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Environmental Protection Agency,</span></a> food thrown away by consumers, restaurants, grocery stores and others at all points along our industrial food chain is the largest single component of landfills.&#160; Food waste not only takes up space in landfills, it also produces methane as it decays. (Methane is one of the most potent of the greenhouse gases that is causing climate change, and landfills are the third largest source of U.S. methane emissions.)</p><p>Then there is the moral cost of food waste. Wasting food shows disregard for the farmer who grew the food, to all those who played a role in bringing it to the table and to our God whose creation offers us food in abundance.&#160; In a world where many of our neighbors are hungry, wasted food seems to embody an indifference to their suffering.&#160; When your mother told you to &quot;think of the starving children&quot; if you refused to clean your plate, she was making a moral point that deserves further reflection.&#160; How should we as Christians view a food system that allows millions of tons of food to rot in landfills while billions go hungry?&#160; And what role does our own wasted food play in that system? </p><p>Lent and its focus on spiritual discipline is a good time to ponder the role of food in our lives and to try some new, more sustainable practices (and see if they stick). &#160;Here are just a few&#58;</p><ul><li>Find ideas and resources from the <a href="http&#58;//www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste/index.htm"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">USDA/EPA Food Waste Challenge</span></a> </li><li>Eat down your <a href="http&#58;//www.today.com/food/eating-down-fridge-I542193"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">refrigerator</span></a>, <a href="http&#58;//www.thekitchn.com/how-i-save-money-by-eating-down-the-freezer-love-your-freezer-215862"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">freezer</span></a> and <a href="http&#58;//goodcheapeats.com/2013/12/pantry-challenge-2014/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">pantry</span></a>.&#160; Oh and <a href="http&#58;//www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/food-labeling/food-product-dating/food-product-dating"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">here</span></a>'s some good information on what &quot;use by&quot; and &quot;sell by&quot; dates really mean and which foods are still safe to eat.</li><li>Try new ways of cooking that use leftovers and food scraps&#58; </li><ul><li><a href="http&#58;//gracelinks.org/3292/smart-cooking-trounces-food-waste-how-to-make-mincemeat-or-just-"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Smart Cooking Trounces Food Waste&#58; How to Make Mincemeat - or Just Lunch - of Leftovers</span></a></li><li><a href="http&#58;//www.tamareadler.com/wp-content/themes/organic_studio/images/favicon.ico"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Tamar Adler, An Everlasting Meal, Cooking with Economy and Grace</span></a></li></ul><li>Read a new (and potentially controversial) <a href="http&#58;//www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2015/02/0040.xml&amp;contentidonly=true"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">report</span></a> from the scientific advisory panel that helps create the U.S. Department of Agriculture's dietary guidelines that, for the first time, urges consumers to consider the environmental impact of their food.</li><li>This year's Earth Day <a href="http&#58;//www.creationjustice.org/earth-day-2015---sustainable-food-in-a-changing-climate.html"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Sunday</span></a> resource from Creation Justice Ministries focuses on the relationship between food and climate change.&#160; </li></ul><p>Thank you for this opportunity to reflect with you today.</p><p>&#160;</p></div>02/24/2015Reflect and take action with us this Lenten seasonTia Upchurch-Freelove, ELCA Program Director of Communications and Grassroots Outreachhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/117http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/117<div class="ExternalClass7799C53C36D146999C56CD08316387B0"><div style="font&#58;13px/normal arial, helvetica;margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;#000000;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"><em>&quot;Is not this the fast that I choose&#58; to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?&quot;</em></span></div><div style="font&#58;13px/normal arial, helvetica;margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;right;color&#58;#000000;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;">- Isaiah 58&#58;6-7</span></div><div style="font&#58;13px/normal arial, helvetica;margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#000000;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"></span>&#160;</div><div style="font&#58;13px/normal arial, helvetica;margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#000000;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"></span><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;">This season of Lent is a time of fasting, prayer and reflection in preparation for the feast of Easter. The words of the prophet Isaiah remind us that our fasting should connect deeply to meaningful changes in the way we live our daily lives and the way we see our world.</span></div><div style="font&#58;13px/normal arial, helvetica;margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#000000;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"></span>&#160;</div><div style="font&#58;13px/normal arial, helvetica;margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#000000;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"></span><strong><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;">As we journey through these 40 days of Lent, we invite you to join our ELCA Advocacy staff each week for reflections on important issues and discussions on&#160;ways in which we can act together to affect positive and long-lasting changes in our communities.</span></strong></div><div style="font&#58;13px/normal arial, helvetica;margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#000000;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><strong><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"></span></strong>&#160;</div><div style="font&#58;13px/normal arial, helvetica;margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#000000;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><strong><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"></span></strong><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;">Today, on Ash Wednesday,</span><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"><span class="Apple-converted-space">&#160;</span>we pray that God grants us renewed and honest hearts so that we may fully repent our sins and receive forgiveness through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. This day, we begin to think about the beauty and brokenness we see in our world, and we consider how our daily lives affect this beauty and brokenness.&#160;</span></div><div style="font&#58;13px/normal arial, helvetica;margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#000000;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;">&#160;</span></div><div style="font&#58;13px/normal arial, helvetica;margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;#000000;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;background-color&#58;#ffffff;"><div style="margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><hr /><strong style="font-size&#58;11pt;">Reflecting on hunger and poverty in our world</strong></div><div style="margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;">As you begin your fasting and reflection this week, consider those in the world for whom going hungry is not a spiritual practice. We encourage you to raise awareness around issues surrounding hunger and poverty by utilizing multiple important ELCA World Hunger resources&#58;</span></div><div style="margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><ul style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><li style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"><em><span style="color&#58;#0000ff;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong><a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Into_The_Wild.pdf" style="color&#58;blue;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="color&#58;#0000ff;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">“Into the Wild&#58; a Lenten Liturgy and Intergenerational Study on Hunger”</span></span></a></strong><span class="Apple-converted-space">&#160;</span></span>-</em>This program includes liturgies, scripture readings, and activities for young people and adults to learn more about hunger and faith.&#160;</span></li><li style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="color&#58;#0000ff;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong><em><a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Into_The_Wild_Parents_Guide.pdf" style="color&#58;blue;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="color&#58;#0000ff;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">“40 Days of Wonderings&#58; A Family Discussion Guide for Lent”</span></span></a></em><span class="Apple-converted-space">&#160;</span></strong></span>&#160;- This calendar includes a variety of activities that parents and children can use to talk about hunger, faith, and hope during the Lenten season.</span></li><li style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;">Visit<span class="Apple-converted-space">&#160;</span><span style="color&#58;#0000ff;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/Resources/ELCA-World-Hunger" style="color&#58;blue;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="color&#58;#0000ff;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">ELCA World Hunger</span></span></a></strong></span><span class="Apple-converted-space">&#160;</span>to find additional resources for Lent and Easter seasons.</span></li></ul></div><div style="margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><div style="margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><hr /><div style="text-align&#58;center;">Be the first to recieve our Advocacy Reflections this Lenten season by signing up for our <a href="http&#58;//www.capwiz.com/elca/mlm/signup/?ignore_cookie=1">ELCA Advocacy Alerts</a>! </div></div><div style="margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;">&#160;</div><div style="margin&#58;0px;padding&#58;0px;color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;inherit;font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="color&#58;inherit;line-height&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva;font-size&#58;13px;">&#160;</span></div></div></div></div>02/18/2015ELCA State Advocacy Update: February 2015ELCA Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/116http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/116<div class="ExternalClass1231F60004E847359412C20B6E8D4AC3"><p>​<span style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline !important;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><em>Lutherans are taking action across the country! Below you will find our monthy State Advocacy Newsletter. Share with your friends!</em></span></p><div class="ExternalClass4F67D10A49ED4B979ED3C777FCA88FA5"><p style="font&#58;14px/20px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline !important;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;">---------------------------------------------</span></strong></p><div style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Washington, D.C.</strong></div><div style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Advocacy Director, Stacy Martin</strong></div><div style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="color&#58;#569bbe;font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/advocacy" style="color&#58;#569bbe;text-decoration&#58;none;">www.elca.org/advocacy</a></strong></div><font face="Cambria,Cambria" size="3" style="text-align&#58;left;"><font face="Cambria,Cambria" size="3"><p><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;"></strong><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><img alt="LOGUM.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/LOGUM.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;100px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" /></strong></span><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">We are a church energized by lively engagement in our faith and life. Informed by our Lutheran heritage and theology, the ELCA works for change in public policy based on the experience of Lutheran ministries and programs in communities around the world. We work to create and influence public policies that embody the biblical values of peacemaking, hospitality to our neighbors, care for creation, and concern for our sisters and brothers facing poverty and struggling with hunger or disease. As we engage with our elected officials in Congress and the administration in 2015, we work with a focus on the following advocacy priorities&#58; </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Addressing root causes of poverty and injustice internationally</strong>. This year, ELCA Advocacy will work to pass the Food for Peace Act, the International Violence Against Women Act, and will address funding needs for humanitarian relief and promote peace in the Middle East. In 2015, we will improve the treatment of migrants in-transit and seek opportunities to address the root causes of migration in Central America by ensuring policies uphold human rights and dignity. “Our calling to love of neighbor obligates us to act to prevent wars and seek alternatives to them” (ELCA Social Statement, “For Peace in God’s World”). </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Caring for all of God’s creation.</strong> We look forward to gathering support for a strong Endangered Species Act, working to protect water and air standards, and continuing to encourage a strong and proactive U.S. position in the negotiations for the Paris climate change agreement. “Made in the image of God, we believe that we are called to care for the earth as God cares for the earth” (ELCA Social Statement, “Caring for Creation”). </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Standing with our communities facing poverty and struggling with hunger and disease.</strong> Advocacy will work to help end hunger by enhancing domestic programs, including reauthorizing the Child Nutrition and WIC Act, supporting older Americans, establishing a sufficient living wage, securing funding for low-income housing, caring for veterans, ensuring a fair tax policy, and reforming education systems. “Out of deep concern for those affected adversely by poverty, we find it a moral imperative to seek a sufficient, sustainable livelihood for all” (ELCA Social Statement, “Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All”).</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"></span>&#160;<strong style="font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline !important;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;">---------------------------------------------</span></strong></p><div style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">New York, NY</strong></div><div style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Advocacy Director, Dennis Frado</strong></div><div style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="color&#58;#569bbe;font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/advocacy" style="color&#58;#569bbe;text-decoration&#58;none;">&#160;</a></strong></div><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>At the United Nations</strong>&#58; This past January, LOWC collaborated on various documentary screenings at the U.N. Church Center and in New York focusing on detention facilities throughout the United States. Students from the University of Maryland visited LOWC on Jan. 16 to learn about the U.N.'s structure and focal points for the work of our office. </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Hunger Leadership Gathering</strong>&#58; ELCA Advocacy staff from our New York and Washington offices also participated and collaborated with Global Mission and ELCA World Hunger to lead workshops about proposed U.N. sustainability goals and action through advocacy at the ELCA World Hunger Leadership Gathering in San Francisco.&#160;</span>&#160;</p></font></font><p style="font&#58;14px/20px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font&#58;13px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline !important;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">California</strong></div><div style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Mark Carlson, Lutheran Office of Public Policy- CA&#160;​</strong></div><div style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="color&#58;#569bbe;font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><a href="http&#58;//www.loppca.org/" style="color&#58;#569bbe;text-decoration&#58;none;">www.loppca.org</a></strong></div><div style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><font color="#569bbe" face="Comic Sans MS"></font></strong>&#160;</div><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong><img alt="1.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/1.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;150px;vertical-align&#58;middle;float&#58;left;" />ELCA Hunger Leadership Gathering</strong>&#58; The Lutheran Office of Public Policy – CA, as a participant in the Sierra Pacific Synod Hunger Team, helped welcome participants to the San Francisco area, including several advocacy colleagues. LOPP-CA Director Mark Carlson, in cooperation with ELCA World Hunger staff and Oakland congregations, helped initiate site visits and neighborhood walks in Oakland. We walked to the <a href="http&#58;//www.remember-them.org/">Remember Them </a>monument, and returned to San Francisco past BART’s <a href="http&#58;//www.fruitvalefilm.com/">Fruitvale Station</a>, the location of the Oscar Grant shooting. Later, ELCA Director of Domestic Policy John Johnson joined Mark in Sacramento for the annual <a href="http&#58;//www.mlk365.org/">MLK365 march</a>, which drew an estimated 29,000 walkers. </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Sustainable Development Goals and the U.N. 70th anniversary</strong>&#58;<img alt="2.jpg" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/2.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;140px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" /> Mark joined ELCA pastors and community representatives in an initial planning meeting for a Swedish church choir visit to California. A focus of the event will be celebration of progress made on the Millennium Development Goals and call to action on the new Sustainable Development Goals.</span></p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;20px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Colorado</strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Peter Severson, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – Colorado&#160;</strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-weight&#58;bold;"></strong><a href="http&#58;//www.lam-co.org/" style="color&#58;#569bbe;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.lam-co.org</span></strong></a></span></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"></span>&#160;</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Families living in poverty</strong>&#58; Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado Director Peter Severson testified before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee in support of a bill to allow child-support payments from non-custodial parents to “pass through” to the child in cases where the custodial family is also receiving benefits from the Colorado Works program (SB15-012). LAM-CO supports this change to allow children living in poverty to gain the benefit of child-support payments that are owed to them, overwhelmingly used for basic medical, educational and food expenses. </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Affordable housing</strong>&#58; LAM-CO is supporting a bill to use money from a surcharge increase on county documents for an affordable housing fund administered by the Colorado Housing Finance Authority (SB15-079). </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Events</strong>&#58; Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado will host its 2015 Faith Advocacy Day on Feb. 16 under the theme “Homelessness and Justice.” Register <a href="http&#58;//www.tinyurl.com/FaithAdvocacyDay2015">by clicking here</a>. Director Peter Severson was present at the 2015 ELCA World Hunger Leadership Gathering in San Francisco to lift up the critical role of advocacy in the domestic work of ELCA World Hunger.</span></p></span></div><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;20px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Minnesota</strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Tammy Walhof, Lutheran Advocacy – Minnesota&#160;</strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><a style="color&#58;#569bbe;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">tammy@lcppm.org</span></strong></a></div><div style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>State Legislature&#58;</strong> The Legislature is in full swing with new legislators and with quite a shake-up of several House committees bringing a new rural-urban divide. Perceptions are that rural legislators were left out of all major decisions, so the educational focus needs to emphasize Greater Minnesota. In addition to coalition efforts to educate legislators, Lutheran Advocacy-MN Director Tammy Walhof is working to bring Lutheran advocates up to speed.</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>Housing/homelessness&#58;</strong> At a hearing last week, it became clear there is an effort by some legislators to direct new funding to higher income renters/owners. Lutheran voices focused on &quot;the least of these&quot; will be especially important in this context. In collaboration with Lutheran Social Services and Catholic Charities, Tammy met Republican Rep. Anna Wills of St. Paul. She agreed to be lead author of the House Homeless Youth Bill. </p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>Clean energy and jobs campaign</strong>&#58; Efforts are underway to secure lead authors. Lutheran Advocacy - Minnesota was a key player with other partners in planning Clean Energy Day at the Capitol on Feb. 2 at Christ Lutheran on Capitol Hill (location of Lutheran Advocacy – Minnesota).</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>Payday lending</strong>&#58; We are building from previous efforts.</p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><strong>Upcoming advocacy days</strong>&#58; Thursday, Feb. 19 – Lutheran Bishop/Legislator Breakfast and Lutheran Pastor's Day for Advocacy Day; Tuesday, March 10 – Day on the Hill with Interfaith Partners (Joint Religious Legislative Coalition).</p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">Nevada </strong></span></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">Rev. Mike Patterson, Lutheran Episcopal Advocacy Nevada <a href="https&#58;//leanforjustice.wordpress.com/">https&#58;//leanforjustice.wordpress.com/</a></strong></span></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"></span><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Legislative forum on MLK Day&#58;</strong> Lutheran Episcopal Advocacy in Nevada held the first legislative forum event on the Martin Luther King holiday to learn about issues that will be coming up in the 2015 legislative session.&#160; James Hardesty, chief justice of the State Supreme Court, was the featured speaker. He gave credit to the faith community for its advocacy in past years for rehabilitation and re-entry programs, saying it has changed the culture at the Nevada Department of Corrections. Other speakers spoke about the needs of the hungry in our state, education, and the continued need to work for the rights of all minorities in Nevada.</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Backpacks for a cause</strong>&#58; Also on the holiday legislators joined in the &quot;Backpack Challenge.&quot; Legislators were allowed to pack school supplies for Title 1 schools in their respective districts. The challenge was designed to demonstrate to legislators that our schools need proper funding. Supplies came for donations by member churches and a special price break from an office supply company. </span></p></div></div><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;20px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">New Mexico</strong></span></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;">Ruth Hoffman, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry – New Mexico&#160;</strong></span></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacynm.org/" style="color&#58;#569bbe;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.lutheranadvocacynm.org</span></strong></span></a></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;20px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong><img alt="3.png" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/3.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;229px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Commitment to hunger</strong>&#58; The legislative session is off to a rocky start as the Republicans took control of the state House of Representatives for the first time in over 60 years. The first week was taken up with reorganization of the House and the House standing committees. LAM-NM has been working to introduce our work to the many new House members. </span></p><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;20px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong><img alt="4.png" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/4.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;100px;height&#58;126px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />Prayers for leaders</strong>&#58; On opening day, LAM-NM Director Ruth Hoffman joined other faith leaders in offering prayers for the people of our state and for elected leaders to have the political will and courage to stand with our many neighbors living in poverty and hunger. Ruth was also invited to join faith leaders in an informal conversation with the Rev. James Forbes about the nature of and need for public witness.</span></p><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;20px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Pennsylvania</strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Amy Reumann, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in Pennsylvania<span class="Apple-converted-space" style="font-size&#58;13px;">&#160;</span></strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span class="Apple-converted-space"></span><a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacypa.org/" style="color&#58;#303030;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><span style="color&#58;#009ac3;font-size&#58;13px;">www.lutheranadvocacypa.org</span></a></strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;"><font face="Comic Sans MS"></font></strong>&#160;</div><div style="text-align&#58;left;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong><img alt="5.png" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/5.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;170px;height&#58;127px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;left;" />ELCA World Hunger Leaders</strong>&#58; LAMPa staff met in San Francisco, including a dinner with Pennsylvania hunger leaders (pictured), where six synods shared the effort in their part of the state and learned how we can collaborate, connecting our work, particularly around the churchwide Day of Service and Advocacy. </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Education</strong>&#58; LAMPa advocates called lawmakers for a statewide day of action on education funding. LAMPa voted as part of the Campaign for Fair Education Funding on a proposed formula as recommendation. LAMPa Associate Director Tracey DePasquale met with the incoming governor’s policy director to advocate for trauma-informed education and later traveled to Glade Run Lutheran Services to see work they are doing in education with victims of childhood trauma. </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Immigration</strong>&#58; Amy addressed an Immigration Forum at Trinity, New Holland, and Tracey met with a York County commissioner about funding for an immigration detainee visitation program. </span></p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;"><strong>Hunger</strong>&#58; LAMPa staff met with leaders of Hunger-Free Lancaster County about the church’s leadership in hunger work. We met with the new chair of the House Housing and Urban Affairs Committee about expanding the state Housing Trust Fund. LAMPa is partnering with social ministry organizations in an <a href="http&#58;//www.lutheranadvocacypa.org/lampa-partners-for-benefits-training/">access to benefits training </a>in Philadelphia.</span></p></span></div><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;20px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Virginia</strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Marco Grimaldo, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy<span class="Apple-converted-space" style="font-size&#58;13px;">&#160;</span></strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span class="Apple-converted-space"></span><a href="http&#58;//www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org/" style="color&#58;#303030;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><span style="color&#58;#009ac3;font-size&#58;13px;">www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org</span></a><span style="color&#58;#009ac3;text-decoration&#58;underline;">&#160;</span></strong></div><p><strong>Little agreement in legislation</strong>&#58; Virginia is in the middle of a 45 day legislative session and so far very little legislation has been agreed to. While there is an agreement in principle for the governor’s budget amendments to the biennial budget, the bills we support, including raising the minimum wage, making Virginia’s Earned Income Credit refundable, and a range of bills to offer protection from predatory lending and gun violence, have had a much more difficult time. </p><p><strong>Day for All People</strong>&#58; On Jan. 20, 2015, we hosted 250 advocates, including 90 leaders supporting just immigration policies, who visited with legislators as part of our Day for All People advocacy day. Many had previously met with their legislators prior to the session and now returned to stress their support for specific bills. </p><p><strong>Synod-wide Childhood Hunger Task Force</strong>&#58; Bishop Jim Mauney of the Virginia Synod has convened a Childhood Hunger Task Force, and we are supporting him in his work to call other faith leaders to address policies that will help hungry children. Bishop Mauney now serves on the Governor’s Commission to Close the Nutritional Divide. We were also pleased to recently work with Bishop Mauney on an article for the <a href="http&#58;//www.richmond.com/opinion/their-opinion/guest-columnists/article_b6ee32c4-b058-5234-99ec-554bbd977a14.html">Richmond Times Dispatch’s </a>editorial page.</p><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;20px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;vertical-align&#58;top;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><div><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">​Washington</strong></div></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Paul Benz, Faith Action Network&#160;</strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;text-decoration&#58;underline;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="color&#58;#005594;font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><a href="http&#58;//www.fanwa.org/" style="text-decoration&#58;none;"><span style="color&#58;#005594;text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.fanwa.org</span></a></strong></div><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;">FAN-WA is busy in the third week of a 15-week legislative session. Here are some of the key issues we are working on this month&#58; </span></span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Reducing wealth inequality</strong>&#58; A Wage Theft package of four bills&#58; wage recovery for employees, anti-retaliation protections, employee misclassification by the employer, triple damages/penalties for unscrupulous employers. A minimum wage bill would increase the minimum wage to $12 in four years. </span></span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Education for inmates</strong>&#58; Lifting the state prohibition on the Department of Corrections to use public funds for post-secondary educational programming. Currently our state cannot educate inmates beyond a GED. </span></span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Immigration</strong>&#58; Establish a “bright line” between federal immigration enforcement and local law agencies (county sheriffs and municipal police chiefs). The goal is to reduce federal detentions and deportations – called the Family Unity Act. </span></span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-size&#58;13px;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Building our networks</strong>&#58; FAN is busy with legislative and advocacy forums in eastern and central Washington and the Capital. Our staff will be hosting guest sermons and educational forums at churches in Seattle, Pullman and Spokane, as well as at the ELCA Bishop’s Southwestern Washington Synod Convocation.</span></span></p></div></span><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;">&#160;</div><p style="margin&#58;0px 0px 10px;padding&#58;0px;text-align&#58;center;line-height&#58;20px;vertical-align&#58;top;">​<span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;, segoe, tahoma, helvetica, arial, sans-serif;font-size&#58;13px;">---------------------------------------------</span></p><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Wisconsin</strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;">Cindy Crane, Lutheran Office for Public Policy in Wisconsin<span class="Apple-converted-space" style="font-size&#58;13px;">&#160;</span></strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;, &quot;comic sans ms&quot;, cursive;font-size&#58;13px;font-weight&#58;bold;"><span class="Apple-converted-space"></span><a href="http&#58;//www.loppw.org/" style="color&#58;#303030;text-decoration&#58;underline;"><span style="color&#58;#009ac3;font-size&#58;13px;text-decoration&#58;underline;">www.loppw.org</span></a></strong></div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong style="font-weight&#58;bold;"><font face="Comic Sans MS"></font></strong>&#160;</div><div style="text-align&#58;center;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;line-height&#58;19.6px;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;font-family&#58;verdana, geneva, sans-serif;font-style&#58;normal;font-variant&#58;normal;font-weight&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;white-space&#58;normal;font-stretch&#58;normal;"><strong><font color="#444444" face="Segoe UI"></font></strong><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Bishops and LOPPW</strong>&#58; At the beginning of this biennial budget season, all Wisconsin bishops and LOPPW sent <a href="http&#58;//www.loppw.org/files/2015/01/Letter-to-Govenor-Legislators.pdf">a letter to the governor </a>and to each state Senate and Assembly member. </span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>Letter writing on prison reform</strong>&#58; At the annual Epiphany Celebration at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Stevens Point, LOPPW gave a presentation and organized a letter-writing table (focus on prison reform for 17-year-old youth). Check out a great <a href="http&#58;//www.loppw.org/files/2015/01/Letter-to-Senator-Prison-Reform.pdf">letter </a>written by one of Redeemer’s high school students. </span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong><img alt="6.png" src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20Advocay/AllItems/6.png" style="margin&#58;5px;width&#58;200px;height&#58;105px;vertical-align&#58;auto;float&#58;right;" />Human trafficking</strong>&#58; LOPPW/Cherish All Children’s kickoff event for our Safe Harbor Campaign on Feb. 7 in Menomonie received Eau Claire television coverage. Our task force members, Robbie Joern and the Rev. Diane House (also LOPPW council member) were interviewed. Also, Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice, Wisconsin Council of Churches and Fierce Freedom are now sponsoring our March rally.</span></p><p style="text-align&#58;left;"><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;segoe ui&quot;,&quot;segoe&quot;,tahoma,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><strong>FoodShare and minimum wage</strong>&#58; The director is in dialogue with members of the ELCA who work directly with FoodShare recipients who have lost benefits and is planning meetings with representatives to make the problems known and to share our concerns about further barriers placed in front of FoodShare recipients. We will also discuss a drafted bill on minimum wage.</span></p></div></span><span style="font&#58;14px/19.6px verdana, geneva, sans-serif;color&#58;#222222;text-transform&#58;none;text-indent&#58;0px;letter-spacing&#58;normal;word-spacing&#58;0px;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline !important;white-space&#58;normal;font-size-adjust&#58;none;font-stretch&#58;normal;"></span></div></div>02/04/2015A Lutheran’s Guide to Methane RegulationsErin Haugen, ELCA Advocacy Internhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/115http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/115<div class="ExternalClassF6DAABFEB87A4AE9B0A91C9C9B7BC52C"><p><em>The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. – Genesis 2&#58;15</em></p><p>In January, the Obama administration <a href="http&#58;//www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/14/fact-sheet-administration-takes-steps-forward-climate-action-plan-anno-1"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">announced their plan</span></a> with the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce methane gas emissions from the oil and gas sector over the next ten years. The plan will result in a 40-45 percent reduction in methane emissions, and a lot of people are excited about the plan.</p><p>That may leave you wondering&#58; What's so exciting about methane regulations? Below, some questions about methane and the plan put forth by the White House and the EPA are answered.</p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;"><strong>1. What is methane?</strong></span></p><p>Methane is the primary component of natural gas, and is also considered to be a greenhouse gas. This means that methane warms the atmosphere when it is leaked into the air before use. </p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;"><strong>2. What's so bad about it?</strong></span></p><p>While methane only accounts for about 9 percent of the United States' greenhouse gas emissions, it is far more dangerous than carbon dioxide. In fact, over a hundred-year period, when compared pound-for-pound, methane's impact on climate change is twenty times worse than carbon dioxide. </p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;"><strong>3. Don't methane emissions come from a lot of sources?</strong></span></p><p>Yes, methane emissions come from a variety of sources, including landfills, coal mining, and even cow manure. However, the oil and gas industry is the largest contributor to methane emissions, with 29 percent coming from the industry according to the <a href="http&#58;//epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases/ch4.html"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Environmental Protection Agency</span></a>. The good news, though, is that <a href="http&#58;//ensia.com/features/climate-change-mitigations-best-kept-secret/"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">there's a lot that can be done</span></a> to curb the emissions. </p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;"><strong>4. What does the plan call for?</strong></span></p><p>There are a lot of components to the plan put forth by the White House and the EPA. The most important piece of the plan is its call to set new standards for methane emissions from new sources. While this piece of the plan has been criticized for only affecting new sources and not existing ones, it is still a sign of hope for change to come.&#160;&#160;</p><p><span style="font-family&#58;&quot;comic sans&quot;,&quot;comic sans ms&quot;,cursive;"><strong>5. Why should I care? </strong></span></p><p>As people of faith, we are called to care for creation. As we see in Genesis 2&#58;15, God placed Adam in the garden to care for it. Although generations have passed since Adam's creation, we are still called to do this work. Greenhouse gases have contributed to climate change, resulting in numerous problems like rising sea levels, extreme weather, and more frequent wildfires. The effects of climate change are most felt by vulnerable groups like children and low-income families, groups of people that we are called through faith to care for and defend. By reducing methane emissions, we answer the call to care for the earth and our communities.</p><p>This is just the beginning of the journey to reduce methane emissions. In the coming months, stay tuned for ways that you can help contribute to the conversation. </p></div>02/02/2015Living Earth Reflections: ResolvedMary Minette, ELCA Director for Environmental Education and Advocacyhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/114http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAAdvocay/114<div class="ExternalClassE67BA25EB8104B16B7D7F00EE07E0181"><p><em>And the one who was seated on the throne said, &quot;See, I am making all things new.&quot;</em></p><p style="text-align&#58;right;">(Revelation 21&#58;5)</p><p>Nearly every Sunday, my suburban Virginia congregation prays for our government and its leaders. Maybe your congregation does something similar? This commonplace prayer for leadership has taken on new meaning for me recently because this year the United Nations will adopt a new set of Sustainable Development Goals. These goals will encourage member countries to make economic decisions that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In addition, this December parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will meet to adopt a new global agreement to reduce climate change emissions, again in the belief that present generations can meet our needs without compromising the well-being of future generations.&#160;&#160; </p><p>Both the Sustainable Development Goals and the new climate change agreement are about long-term planning; something that government leaders rarely have the space or time to do. These global discussions have the potential to change economic development paradigms by turning the world toward new sources of energy and to the task of building communities and nations that are more resilient to the growing impacts of our changing climate. But changes will only be possible if leaders act with wisdom and care for God's creation and for our most vulnerable neighbors.&#160; </p><p>So these prayers for leadership I join each week have taken on a new urgency for me as 2015 begins. But even as I, and others, pray for global leaders to begin the hard and visionary work to shape our shared future along more sustainable lines, I also wonder if we are putting too much of the burden of planning for the future on our leaders and institutions. Are we forgetting that each of us has our own responsibility to consider the needs of our children and future generations? </p><p>As Christians we believe we are called to build Christ's kingdom here on earth by living our lives as Christ taught us and caring for each other and for the earth. Strong leaders and institutions are necessary to build that new world but so is individual and community action. Each of us has a part to play – in our daily lives, in our congregations and in our communities – &#160;to make sure that the world we leave behind allows people and creation to live and thrive well into the future.</p><p>So this year, instead of my usual New Year's resolution to save more or exercise more often or eat more vegetables, I'm thinking about resolutions that will help in our transformation to a more sustainable world. I'm looking at the things I already do, like using cloth grocery bags and drying my clothes on a clothesline in the warmer months, and vowing to do more. Will you join me?</p><p>Pledge to take action <a href="http&#58;//www.faithclimatepetition.org/pledge-to-action.html"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">here</span></a> (and you can also <a href="http&#58;//salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/51086/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=11280"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">sign</span></a> a petition asking our leaders to support global action on climate change).&#160; </p></div>01/23/2015