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Palouse ProActive hosts election community party

Nonpartisan group wants registration for any political affiliation

Larry+Clark%2C+co-founding+member+of+nonpartisan+organization+Palouse+ProActive%2C+teaches+a+civics+lesson+on+how+to+contact+your+representatives+to+a+eighth+grade+U.S.+history+class+at+Lincoln+Middle+School+on+Friday.
Larry Clark, co-founding member of nonpartisan organization Palouse ProActive, teaches a civics lesson on how to contact your representatives to a eighth grade U.S. history class at Lincoln Middle School on Friday.

Larry Clark, co-founding member of nonpartisan organization Palouse ProActive, teaches a civics lesson on how to contact your representatives to a eighth grade U.S. history class at Lincoln Middle School on Friday.

Courtesy of Kimberly Carper

Courtesy of Kimberly Carper

Larry Clark, co-founding member of nonpartisan organization Palouse ProActive, teaches a civics lesson on how to contact your representatives to a eighth grade U.S. history class at Lincoln Middle School on Friday.

KEVIN DIEMERT, Evergreen reporter

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Election Day is Tuesday and now is the time to mail in ballots, which must be postmarked by then in Washington state.

Political involvement, awareness and education are the key goals of nonpartisan organization Palouse ProActive, according to its website. The group was founded by a need for accuracy in public information, helping the community use its voice and protecting progress made in civil rights.

Palouse ProActive was formed to connect people to information, resources and one another to inspire dignity and promote a healthy democracy, according to the website. Julie Kmec, a sociology professor at WSU whose research focuses on workplace gender and racial inequality, reiterated this point.

“We formed basically after the presidential election in 2016,” she said. “We wanted to provide a resource for the community that would provide educational information for voters, to help people become informed voters.”

Kmec said the Palouse ProActive website is a wealth of resources for the community. It provides links to connect them with governmental bodies, help them register to vote and give them information on how to reach local legislators.

The website also includes information on sorting through the media to find accurate sources of news, lessons on how government works and information on how to register as a candidate for local office, Kmec said.

Across town at Lincoln Middle School, Palouse ProActive co-founders Kimberly Carper, who is also Pullman’s civil service secretary and chief examiner, Jenni Spencer and Spencer’s husband Larry Clark hosted a guest lecture all day Friday in Ashlie Jensen’s eighth grade U.S. history class. They taught students about ways they can become involved in making a difference in their community even before they can vote. Clark himself worked in Olympia at the Washington State Capitol.

“We helped students draft letters to local legislators on issues that they care about,” Carper said. “Some students mentioned clean water, water pollution, and one student who was nearly hit by a car walking to school mentioned better and safer crosswalk signage and signals.”

Carper said a few government officials have actually responded to student letters in the past. This makes students feel valued and proves they can be heard and that local officials are actually listening to their constituents, she said, even at young ages.

In the past, Palouse ProActive has distributed information on how laws and bills passed can affect citizens, according to its website. It has sponsored workshops on letter writing to government representatives and “Communicating Across Differences” as well as how to run for office.

The group has hosted Pullman City Council and Pullman School Board candidate forums, co-sponsored a pro-immigration rally in Moscow City Park and brought in a representative to speak about Planned Parenthood, according to the website.

The nonpartisan has produced questionnaires which have been participated in by local and regional public officials, according to the website. Candidates and officials of all affiliations have participated and these questionnaires can be found at the top of the Important Information and Recent Events sections of the website.

Palouse ProActive will also host an “I Voted” party from 5:30 to about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at South Fork Public House, 1680 S. Grand Avenue in Pullman, to celebrate voters of all affiliations for exercising their right. Community members will have a chance to mingle with the organization’s administrators and other community members, and many local officials have expressed that they will be attending, Kmec said.

Attendance is free except for the cost of food and drink and is open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to take selfies with their ballot for special happy hour pricing.

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Palouse ProActive hosts election community party