WACO Speakers Bureau Host Inaugural Event
Courthouse Journal Blog
On April 9th , 2021 three County Officials from the WACO’s Speakers Bureau met with students from a Pacific Lutheran University State and Local Government class to discuss the importance of local government and the impact of it on their daily lives.
During the panel discussion with Dr. Maria Chávez’s State and Local Government class, Lewis County Assessor Dianne Dorey, Clallam County Prosecutor Mark Nichols and Kittitas Auditor Jerry Pettit addressed questions ranging from “explaining what an ex officio corner does?” to “How has the pandemic affected your county’s budget and revenue?”. This was an exceptional opportunity to clarify any confusion the students had regarding county public official’s duties and work. One student stated “I had very little background knowledge on these positions, and I felt that being able to listen to them about the challenges they face in their line of work and how the job evolves is very interesting.”
The speakers also focused on the topic of the course, which was ‘’accessibility and opportunity of state and local government to citizens”. Our speakers gave a high-level overview of not only their job descriptions but also how their jobs affects the student’s life on a daily basis. After some time to reflect on the panel discussion one student stated “"Hearing the perspectives of members of local government really helped to shape what I thought about roles that are typically underrepresented in the national and local consciousness. It is very rare that you hear about what a county assessor or auditor does, so to have the speakers come in and help explain what makes their roles in government essential was quite an informative and wonderful experience.”
Although a virtual meeting, the event was highly engaging and not only proved to be an educational opportunity for the students, but also a networking one as some of the officials’ offices were looking for future interns.
When asked if the Speakers’ Bureau was beneficial for her students, Dr. Chávez stated "The highlight of my State and Local Government class this semester was having three elected local government guest speakers Zoom with the class! Not only did they share what their specific offices, roles and duties entail, but most importantly they each shared through their stories and experiences their passion for serving their local communities with integrity and commitment. I can't stress how important it is to show students real examples of what public service means in action, and having three local government representatives take the time to talk with them will remain with them far longer than any content they could ever read about in a textbook would."
About the WACO Speakers Bureau:
The WACO Speakers Bureau was launched in February 2021 by first recruiting County Officials who were interested in serving in an educational capacity through statewide events. The WACO Speakers Bureau addresses the gap in perception and understanding of the roles and functions of government by providing county officials for interactive educational speaking engagements.
If you are a college administrator or professor, grade school tea interested in hosting members from the speaker’s bureau in an upcoming class please reach out to Member Services Manager, Melanie Terry at firstname.lastname@example.org