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Lynn Woolsey to interview Barbara Lee at Petaluma benefit

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PLANNING TO GO?

What: Congresswoman Barbara Lee in Conversation with Lynn Woolsey

When: Sunday, Dec. 16, 2:45 p.m.

Where: Carole L. Ellis Auditorium, 680 Sonoma Mountain Parkway.

Tickets: $30.

Information: Copperfieldsbooks.com.

Two political powerhouses will be sitting down for an onstage conversation as Literacyworks and Copperfield’s Books present the final lecture of 2018’s popular “North Bay Author Series,” featuring talks and discussions with prominent writers and cultural figures. For the season closer, Congresswoman Barbara Lee - currently the U.S. representative for California’s 13th congressional district – will be interviewed by former Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, who represented Marin and Sonoma County from 1993 to 2013. The event takes place Sunday, Dec. 16 in the Carole L. Ellis Auditorium on SRJC’s Petaluma campus.

“I am thrilled that Lynn invited me to this conversation on December 16th,” Lee said in an email from Washington D.C., where her busy schedule – and a series of unplanned meetings and last-minute actions on the congressional floor - made a scheduled phone conversation impossible. “Lynn has been a valued friend for many years,” wrote Lee. “We served together as co-chairs of the Progressive Caucus and worked together to develop policies that empowered the American people, reduced our military footprint, and uplifted struggling families. Lynn is one of the most thoughtful, compassionate and independent thinkers to ever serve in the US Congress, and it’s a joy to call her my friend.”

Asked what topics she expects the two colleagues to delve into during the Lieracyworks talk, she allowed that any number of subjects could be brought up by Woolsey, but that she expects every question to reflect her old friend’s knack for finding the link between sweeping national issues and more intimate local matters.

“One of the things I appreciate about Lynn is her understanding of how the political is personal,” said Lee. “Put another way, she knows that policy affects people’s daily lives.”

This, of course, is a lecture benefiting a nonprofit dedicated to increasing undeserved, low-income, low literacy adults in their efforts to succeed at school and work through expanding their own reading, writing and comprehension skills. So she expects that various book titles will be part of the discussion.

“I hope we will talk about many books!” Lee said. “The more that people read, and enjoy reading, the stronger our democracy and our country gets.”

Her own book, 2008 memoir, “Renegade for Peace and Justice,” will be available for sale at the event. According to Lee, the book was a conscious effort to reach others who might find themselves similarly inspired to step into the arena of public service.

“I wrote my book, not just to tell my story, but to inspire others to share their stories too,” she said. “We need leaders in Congress from all walks of life, from a wide range of experiences. Because when we have diverse voices at the table, our policies become more inclusive and informed. So I hope that my book – and my service – will inspire others to run for office and seek leadership positions.”

On the topic of literacy, Lee will said she will have plenty to say, and years of experience to draw on, given that education has long been one of her chief concerns as a congressional representative.

“The problem starts with education,” she noted. “We need to do a better job, in our nation, of investing in kids from day one. Every child in America should receive a quality education, no matter what zip code they live in, what language they speak at home, or the color of their skin.”

PLANNING TO GO?

What: Congresswoman Barbara Lee in Conversation with Lynn Woolsey

When: Sunday, Dec. 16, 2:45 p.m.

Where: Carole L. Ellis Auditorium, 680 Sonoma Mountain Parkway.

Tickets: $30.

Information: Copperfieldsbooks.com.

Additional, Lee believes we need to make greater investments in adult education and apprenticeship programs, including projects like Literacyworks.

“Sadly, Congressional Republicans have been trying to scale back these programs for years,” Lee added, “but on the Appropriations Committee, I have fought for job training and adult education initiatives that empower people to get good-paying jobs.”

Making any major change, of course, requires determination and optimism, the latter, Lee said, being a bit difficult for some folks to summon up in large quantities at the moment. There is an antidote to hopelessness though, Lee added, and it’s one she’s recently been witnessing plenty of herself.

“Personally,” she said, “the best antidote to hopelessness has been seeing the countless Americans who have gotten involved in political action over the last few years. I’ve been so inspired by the millions of people who have taken their outrage at the current administration and channeled it into organizing and activism. I’m proud to represent one of the most ‘woke’ communities in the country, and my constituents inspire me each and every day.”