Building Community

Valley Journal – October 18, 2017

Democracy works best when informed citizens join together and take an active role in their government. In our community, there is a growing movement to empower local citizens.

Mission Valley Rises: Democracy Engaged works on the principle that our communities are stronger than politics. The group believes that individuals can come together to find common ground and common solutions. They also believe that if we do not find a way to do this, our families and communities suffer, and we are vulnerable to groups that exploit our differences.

The group was founded last spring – after hearing from members of the community that families and friendships were strained, even breaking, due to social and political disagreements. As a local, non-partisan community-led group, members saw a need to bring people together to discuss issues in open community conversations. They sponsored community potlucks and discussions on defining local problems, immigration, and the special election. Their current focus is on health care.The group is offering a series of community talks – under the broad title of Community Health and Healing Forum. The first conversation will be: State Budget Cuts – Impact on Lake County Residents.

In this conversation, Heather O’Loughlin, of the Montana Budget and Policy Center, will give an overview of how these changes occurred, and how they will affect Lake County residents. Light snacks and hot drinks will be served. After her talk, the group plans a lively, civil discussion, involving members of the community, as well as local representatives and healthcare professionals. This forum will be held Tuesday, Oct. 24, from 6-8 p.m., at the Polson Library community room. Mission Valley Rises: Democracy Engaged! welcomes all people who are interested in these issues and who want to work to further the conversation.

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