02-19-2017  1:19 pm      •     

Former U.S. Senator and vice presidential candidate John Edwards will deliver the keynote address at The National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women's annual legislative conference breakfast.
The breakfast is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday, June 29, at the Lloyd Center DoubleTree Hotel, 1000 N.E. Multnomah St. There is no charge to listen to Edwards speak. The conference, the first held in the Pacific Northwest, runs from June 29 through July 2 at the same location.
Edwards, who ran for vice president in 2004, is now director of the Center on Poverty, Work & Opportunity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The three-day event is open to the public and features speakers and workshops surrounding the topics of emergency preparedness, health, education, transportation, energy and economic development.
Other speakers on the conference agenda include: Andriette Ward, M.D., a pediatric obesity specialist at Children's Hospital Los Angeles; Titus D. Duncan, M.D., director of Minimally Invasive & Bariatric Surgery at the Atlanta Medical Center and Morehouse School of Medicine; and Barbara Earl Thomas, educator, artist, writer and author of Never Late for Heaven.
With only six Black female state legislators on the West Coast, Oregon boasts three: Oregon Senate President Pro Tempore Margaret Carter, D-Portland; Sen. Avel Gordly, D-Portland; and Sen. Jackie Winters, R-Salem. California, Washington and Alaska have one each.
Carter is the first Black female state legislator and Senate president pro tempore in Oregon history.
"We are so proud to host this annual conference in Portland, the first ever in the Pacific Northwest," she said. "It gives our community an opportunity to showcase our region for the rest of the country. We expect to have a vibrant dialogue on issues of national concern during our three days together."
Peggy C. Ross, affirmative action director for the office of the governor, and Erin Hubert, vice president/general manager of Entercom Portland, lead the Portland host committee of civic, corporate and community leaders from across the state.
Registration to attend the full conference is $250. A downloadable registration form is available at www.nobelpdx.org. Additional event information is by phone at 503-986-1655.
Established in 1985, NOBEL/Women is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization primarily composed of current and former Black female legislators and serves as a global voice for issues affecting the lives of all women.
A full schedule of the conference's activities is as follows:
• Thursday, June 29
Noon: Conference office opens, Portland Room
1 p.m.: Registration opens,
2 p.m.: Conference convenes
Welcome and Introductions: Diana E. Bajoie, Senate president pro tempore (La.) and NOBEL/Women national president; Margaret Carter, Senate president pro tempore (Ore.) and NOBEL/Women 2006 Conference chair
2:20 p.m.: Education forum opens with "Agents of Change: Creativity and Imagination." Speaker: Barbara Earl Thomas, Northwest African American Museum curator of programs
3 p.m.: Panel Conversation: "Accessibility and Opportunity," with moderator, Dr. Mildred Ollée, Seattle Central Community College president, and panelists Dr. Daniel O. Bernstine, Portland State University president; Dr. R. Wayne Branch, Clark College president; Dr. M. Lee Pelton, Willamette University president; Dr. Preston Pulliams, Portland Community College District president

The Hon. Diana E. Bajoie

4:30-5 p.m.: Legislative response and re-cap: state Rep. Barbara Ballard, of Kansas
• Friday, June 30
7:30 a.m.: Registration Opens
8 a.m.: Opening plenary session and breakfast
9 a.m.: Keynote speech, Lloyd Center Ballroom
Keynote Speaker: John Edwards, former U.S. Senator from North Carolina and 2004 vice presidential candidate: "Restoring the American Dream: Fighting Poverty and Strengthening the Middle Class"
10:15-11:45 a.m.: Workshop: "Securing the Right to Health Care" with panelists Dr. Rickie Keys, National Institute to Combat Health Disparities executive director; Corliss McKeever, African American Health Coalition Inc. president and chief executive officer; Marie F. Smith, AARP former president; Dr. Carolyn M. West, University of Washington associate professor of psychology.
Noon: Luncheon, Lloyd Center Ballroom
Keynote Speaker: Bernard J. Tyson, Kaiser Foundation Plan Inc. senior national vice president.
1:30-2:45 p.m.: Workshop: "Epidemic of Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease," with panelists Gustavus A. Aranda Jr., University of Southern California clinical fellow; Dr. Andriette Ward, Los Angeles Children's Hospital pediatric obesity specialist; Dr. Karol E. Watson, University of California at Los Angeles cardiologist.
1:30-2:45 p.m.: Workshop: "Women's Cancers," with panelists Dr. Nathalie McDowell Johnson, Legacy Breast Health Centers medical director; Dr. Laura Koutsky, University of Washington professor of epidemiology.
3-4:15 p.m.: Workshop: "Standing in the Need of Care" with speaker Dr. Carolyn M. West, University of Washington associate professor of psychology.
3-4:15 p.m.: Workshop: "Time to Talk: Women and Children," with panelists Dr. Andriette Ward, Los Angeles Children's Hospital pediatric obesity specialist; Dr. Marsha Henderson, U.S. Food and Drug Administration deputy director of women's health.
6:30-9 p.m.: Gala begins, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, 1945 S.E. Water Ave. Buffet dinner, music and presentation of Shining Star Awards: to state recipients Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. (Zeta Sigma Omega Chapter); Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. (Portland alumnae chapter); and The Portland Chapter of The Links Inc. National Recipients: Carlotta Walls LaNier, civil rights activist and member of the "Little Rock Nine"; Margaret Carter, Senate president pro tempore (Ore.) and NOBEL/Women 2006 Conference chair. ; and the Oregon National Guard, Operation Southern Relief, Joint Task Force Pontchartrain.
• Saturday, July 1
8 a.m.: Registration Opens
8 a.m.: Breakfast, Multnomah Room
9 a.m.: Emergency Preparedness Forum opens, with moderator state Sen. Avel Gordly, of Oregon, and panelists Shawn Baird, Oregon State Ambulance Association past president; Dr. Jonathan Jui, Oregon Health and Science University professor of emergency medicine; Dr. Norwood Knight-Richardson, Oregon Health and Science University vice chair of psychiatry; and Latricia Tillman, Multnomah County Health Department community projects manager
10:30-11:45 a.m.: Model legislation from around the states
Noon: Luncheon, with keynote speaker Dr. Titus D. Duncan, director of minimally invasive and bariatric surgery, Morehouse School of Medicine and Atlanta Medical Center.
2-3:30 p.m.: "Lessons Learned: A Piece of the Public Contracting Pie," moderator: state Sen. Martha G. Scott, of Michigan, with panelists state Sen. Ada L. Smith, of New York, state Rep. Catherine L. Barrett, Ohio; state Sen. Rita Heard Days, Missouri; state Rep. Rosemary Marshall, Colorado.
• Sunday, July 2
8 a.m.: Board of Directors meeting and breakfast.
8:30 a.m.: NOBEL/Women members and staff breakfast
10:30 a.m.: Conference adjourns.





The Hon. Lois DeBerry

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  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
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