By Sheila Freed
Many Nevadans have wondered why the legislative advocacy effort known as LEAN has been dormant recently. Indeed, advocacy in Nevada has been re-organizing, and now it’s time to move forward.
The previous organization represented by this Web site, Lutheran-Episcopal Advocacy in Nevada, is now LUTHERAN ENGAGEMENT and ADVOCACY IN NEVADA. Adding “engagement” to the organization’s name highlights the fact that everyone is invited to do advocacy and to be an engaged citizen. Nevada is a fast-growing state with many acute needs, and since the 2016 election there has been a huge outpouring of activism on the part of individuals. As with its past iterations going back to LAMN (Lutheran Advocacy and Ministry in Nevada), LEAN will provide tools and information to enable all to work for good within Nevada at the legislative and policy-making levels.
Lutheran Engagement and Advocacy in Nevada now has a lobbyist at the legislature, just as our predecessor organizations did. Mr. Allan Smith is already working at the Legislature. Allan was the lobbyist for Religious Alliance in Nevada (RAIN) until it ceased operations last year. In that capacity, he provided a unified voice for Presbyterians, Methodists and Catholics as well as Lutherans and Episcopalians. Allan has become familiar with the Lutheran Social Statements and supports the LEAN/LAMN commitment to base all policy positions in the Social Statements.
Allan is a member of Spanish Springs Presbyterian Church, and serves on the Session (ruling board of a Presbyterian church). He has held other offices and chaired various committees as well. Allan is retired from the State of Nevada, where he was Manager of Information Systems for the Legislature. The award-winning legislative website, to which LEAN has often referred, was begun by Allan. He has a deep understanding of the legislative process, and will be an enormous asset to LEAN as we move into the future. The Legislative Session is about half over now, and we are grateful that Allan has the skills to regain some of the momentum lost while LEAN has been reorganizing.
Our former LEAN Advocate, Rev. Mike Patterson (Gift of Grace Lutheran Church, Fernley) has agreed to “re-engage” (pun intended) as a member of the new Policy Council. He is joined by Vic Williams and Sheila Freed. Diane Drach-Meinel, Pastor of Christ the Servant Lutheran Church in Henderson, will join Dr. Ed Cotton in Las Vegas to represent the south. Appointment of a third person from the south, plus a secretary and a treasurer, are still pending.
Until we finish getting the new LEAN up and running, please check this website for news and updates. We hope that engagement will be the hallmark of this new effort. Please join us.