ACCW Legislative Day headed to State Capitol for first time

| February 8, 2018 | 1 Comment

Inspired by last year’s Catholics at the Capitol event, the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women will take its Feb. 22 Legislative Day to the Minnesota Capitol this year.

Since starting the event 30 years ago, ACCW has typically held its biennial Legislative Day at a hotel with a few legislators present. This year, ACCW will adopt a format similar to the Minnesota Catholic Conference’s Catholics at the Capitol event, which included meeting legislators in their offices. The organization is partnering with the MCC to make it happen.

“We thought we’d keep on the momentum, which I think kind of worked out because of the great numbers that came,” said Denise Haaland, ACCW Legislative Day chair, regarding Catholics at the Capitol’s success, “even if we’re at a small level.”

ACCW Legislative Day will include a morning program at the Cathedral of St. Paul with presentations on key local legislative issues related to Catholic social teaching. Terry Forliti, executive director of Breaking Free, will present the keynote address on the connection between pornography and human trafficking. Her St. Paul-based nonprofit works to free women from sex trafficking.

Attendees will also learn about gestational surrogacy, in which a woman becomes pregnant and carries a baby on behalf of another parent.

Leaders from the MCC will also prepare the attendees to meet with their representatives.

Debbie Keller

ACCW President Debbie Keller saw the importance of taking Legislative Day to the Capitol. When she attended Catholics at the Capitol, she was surprised that only one-fourth of the people on her bus said they had visited the Capitol before.

“That did something to me,” she said, “because I thought, ‘What? Why are not more people going?’”

It led to a conversation between Keller and MCC Executive Director Jason Adkins about partnering for Legislative Day.

“This is just the perfect way for people who went to Catholics at the Capitol, people who didn’t, people who wish they could go [or] people [who] have never heard of it, to be able to have another opportunity to either continue some of those relationships that they made or start new ones,” said Rachel Herbeck, MCC policy and outreach coordinator.

While Legislative Day will draw from 73 ACCW councils in the Archdiocese of St. Paul Minneapolis, the event is also open to all Catholic women and men.

“I’ve found through the years that I have something that every single political person or legislator wants, and that’s my vote,” said Joan McGrath, ACCW vice chairwoman of religious affairs. “That’s what I think we always have to remember is that we do each have a vote.”

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