17th Annual Western Regional Conference

Event Date(s): 
May 15 - 17, 2014
San Diego, CA
Event category: 

Thursday, May 15 - Saturday, May 17
W Hotel San Diego
San Diego, CA

Women In Government hosted the 17th Annual Western Regional Conference on May 14-17, at the W Hotel in San Diego, California. The meeting convened women state legislators from Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming to discuss the most pressing policy issues facing the region.

View the Agenda HERE
View the Parlist HERE
View the Speaker Bios HERE
View the Conference Sponsors HERE
View the Pictures HERE

Learn more about the topics discussed:

  • Childhood Obesity Champions
    This session provided an overview of the work of Women In Government Childhood Obesity Champions. Representative Alma Allen from Texas spoke about her work establishing a healthy farmer's market to address food deserts and with Healthy Living Matters, a non-profit in Houston that works on innovative policy to address childhood obesity. Representative Lauren Matsumoto from Hawaii also apoke about her work on farmer's markets, and her community outreach encouraging physical education in schools, and after school for kids. They both shared pictures of there efforts, which are available here.

  • Cleaning ≠ Disinfection
    In a session facilitated by Representative Janet Trujillo from the Idaho State Legislature, WIG participants learned about issues associated with disinfectant- and the public health need for proper disinfectant. Elaine Patterson, a Consultant for the American Chemistry Council (ACC) spoke about how germs surround us, and always will, but for safety purposes it is important to disinfect and clean. This session provided best practices, and gave resources to legislators to ensure their public places are clean and safe. Access ACC's free resources here, and Ms. Patterson's presentation here.


  • Improving Quality State Focus: Oregon
    Lori Coyner, MA, the Director of Accountability for the Oregon Health Authority spoke about the metrics and quality measures used by the Oregon Health Authority to determine whether Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs) are effectively and adequately improving care, making quality care accessible, eliminating health disparities, and controlling costs for the populations they serve. The session was facilitated by Senator Jackie Winters from the Oregon State Legislature, and sparked conversation regarding how best to coordinate care.


  • Navigating Health Plans & Ensuring Access to Care
    The California Chronic Care Coalition was founded in response to the need for tools and resources to navigate coverage issues in healthcare. This session featured Elizabeth Helms, the President & Chief Executive Officer of the California Chronic Care Coalition who spoke about what her group does to address access to care, coverage for specialty medications, and ways to evaluate care.  She also spoke about the initiatives her organization is taking to collaborate with all the organizations involved with providing care to find the best solutions. The session was facilitated by Representative Terri Austin from Indiana State Legislature. To learn more about the California Chronic Care Coalition, visit their website here, and access Ms. Helm's presentation here

  • Chronic Disease & Mental Health Treatment Patterns in Public Programs: Strategies for Identifying and Reducing the Costs of Uncoordinated Care  
    Coordinated care is a challenge in any field, but is particularly difficult for patients suffering from chronic disease and mental health issues. This session featured Mary Kay Owens, RPh, CPh, the Executive Director for the Institute for Healthcare Innovation Strategies, and the President of Southeastern Consultants, Inc. provided ways legislators can look to their health systems to make improvements. The session was facilitated by Senator Jen Flanagan from the Massachusetts State Legislature, and the conversation focused on how care costs are greatly increased when mental health patients have other health problems. Learn more by accessing Ms. Owens' presentation here


  • Airline Policy & Your Community
    Sharon Pinkerton, JD, the Senior Vice President, Legislative & Regulatory Policy at Airlines for America skyped in a session on Airlines 101. The session was facilitated by Representative Mary Lou Marzian from the Kentucky State Legislature who asked questions regarding how regulatory airline policy affects state legislators and their constiuents. To learn more, access Ms. Pinkerton's presentation here.


  • Chemical Regulation Toxic Substances Control Act
    Sherri McCarthy, the Manager of the Western Region for the American Chemistry Council spoke about regulations, and how states consider regulation measures regarding toxic substances, and often the economic impact is greater than many realize. The session was facilitated by Representative Su Ryden from the Colorado State Legislature. Learn more about the topic by viewing her presentation here

  • Economic Security & Opportunities
    Senator Jackie Winters from Oregon discussed her extraordinary success as a Convener of the Mid-Willamette Valley Regional Solutions Center (RSC) Advisory Committee. Senator Winters shared her experience working with and funding the Marion-Polk Food Share and it's innovative economic and health solutions. The session was facilitated by Representative Jennifer Seelig from the Utah State Legislature. 

  • State Energy Portfolios in the Western Region
    In a session facilitated by Representative JP Pomnichowski from the Montana State Legislature, Representative Polly Lawrence from the Colorado State Legislature, and Senator Pat Spearman from the Nevada State Legislature spoke about the top energy issues across the western region as legislators consider diverse energy portfolios and renewables.


  • Women In Leadership
    Kelly Dittmar, PhD, the Assistant Research Professor for the Center for American Women and Politics spoke about the joint venture that Women In Government and the Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University, have worked together to encourage young women to be involved in the political sphere, and attain leadership roles. This partnership is crucial for Future Women In Government, and Teach a Girl to Lead, and looks to legislators to replicate the programs in their states. The session was facilitated by Cymone Ragland, a Future Women In Government Alum who joined us for the conference. Learn more about Future Women In Government here, and visit the newly launched Teach a Girl to Lead website here.


  • Cyber Civil Rights - Legislation
    Representative Marie Poulson from the Utah State Legislature spoke about what inspired her to work on HB 71, legislation she sponsored to address the distribution of intimate images. Legislation regarding cyber civil rights was introduced in a number of states across the country this year, as many women are being impacted by terrible consequences to images being released without their consent. View her bill here, learn more about the legislation and the End Revenge Porn campaign through The Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, Inc.


  • Status of Women in the States
    To continue on the trend of female empowerment, Jennifer Clark, Communication Manager at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, presented on the status of women's issues. The Institute of Women's Policy Research conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women, promote public dialog, and strengthen families, communities, and societies.

For Legislator or Registration information, please contact:
Johnathan Lozier, Project Manager, Legislator Outreach
202.333.0825 ext. 214

For Sponsor information, please contact:
Sumeira Kashim, Project Manager, Development
202.333.0825 ext. 210

For Policy information, please contact:
Brenna Kehew, Manager, Policy & Programs
202.333.0825 ext. 211