League-sponsored forum on Civil Discourse
League-sponsored forum on Civil Discourse

About the Civil Discourse Committee…

The committee meets monthly, in a variety of locations. Check The Voter newsletter or the LWVSC Calendar for details. You can also contact chair Joan Smith for more information.

The committee serves as an educational resource to its members and to the public. They will continue to develop educational forums to carry a strong message of the power of civil discourse throughout Snohomish County.


The goal of the Civil Discourse Committee is to add an explicit statement about civil discourse to LWVSC’s position on Civic Participation. This goal was met by concurrence through all LWVSC units by February 2019. When exploring the language of the League Principles and its Positions at all levels – local, state and national, the committee found that while this value is implicit in the League work of educating for democracy, no supporting language could be found.

Our research discovered that the San Luis Obispo (CA) League of Women Voters had done a three-year study on Civil Discourse that resulted in the addition of the following to their position in Government:

“Promote civil discourse through action and education for all government bodies, staff, and citizens for the purpose of improved public policy decisions and processes. Civil discourse means, at a minimum, mutually respectful, courteous, constructive, and orderly communication.”

This statement was later adopted by concurrence in Oregon. Our committee’s plan is to follow the same path of concurrence: first at the local level, then at the state and subsequently at the national levels.

Civil Discourse Programs

To that end, the committee has held a number of educational forums and has prepared materials for the public.

  • Civil Discourse Overview at Edmonds Community College on October 17, 2017. Facilitated by Bob Drewel, a panel of experts spoke on the state of civil discourse within their fields: Education, the Media, Politics, and Community. This brochure on Civil Discourse was reprinted with permission from the LWV of San Luis Obispo. It is also available in Spanish.
  • Civil Discourse: A Community Conversation" at the Everett Library on April 29, 2018. Featured speaker was Jacquelyn Styrna, Director, Dispute Resolution Center, Volunteers of America, Skagit County, who outlined elements of civil discourse. The audience participated in circle conversations around questions. (Conversation Circle Questions)
  • Diversity: Conflict to Cohesion--The Role of Civil Discourse on October 24, 2018, at Everett Community College. Facilitator Bob Drewel posed questions to a panel who represented diversity within the county. Discussion circles for the audience followed, supported by questions and references in a handout as well as a bookmark.

The committee is planning a caucus for the LWVWA Convention in Tacoma to support adding civil discourse by concurrence to the LWVWA position.

Bob looking at panel