WMU News

Three from Michigan House will talk about women in politics

Sept. 25, 1997

KALAMAZOO -- Two members of the Michigan House of Representatives and a House staff member will talk about the issues facing women in state politics during a public forum Monday, Oct. 6, at Western Michigan University.

A "Women's Legislative Forum," scheduled for 3 to 5 p.m. in the Kirsch Auditorium of the Fetzer Center, will feature a panel comprised of Rep. Patricia L. Birkholz, a first-term Republican from Saugatuck who is the assistant minority floor leader; Rep. Lynne Martinez, a third-term Democrat from Lansing; and Deb Martens, director of legislative analysis for the Michigan House of Representatives.

The event is sponsored by WMU's Institute of Government and Politics. The panel discussion will be moderated by Dr. Neil A. Pinney, assistant professor of political science and a veteran political observer. The forum is free and open to the public.

During the first hour of the forum, the panel members will be asked to respond to questions on such topics as the political and non-political avenues available for women to get involved in public affairs and the issues that most frequently confront women in politics.

"This should appeal to anyone interested in public affairs," says Dr. James M. Butterfield, associate professor of political science and director of the Institute of Government and Politics. "The questions asked will be open-ended so the panelists will determine the direction of discussion. Issues such as term limits or interaction between the public and private sectors are among topics that could be discussed."

The final hour of the forum will be devoted to panel interaction with the audience in a question and answer format. Panelists also will be available to answer questions for a short time following the forum.

For more information about the event, persons should contact Butterfield at 616 387-5696.

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