Braver Angels hosts Neighborhood Dinner Conversation featuring Nate Nehring

MUKILTEOBraver Angels hosted a Neighborhood Dinner Conversation on Friday, July 8, featuring Snohomish County Councilman Nate Nehring and Mukilteo Councilman Richard Emery. Discussion topics included the economy, homelessness, education, affordable housing, cost of living, public safety, cancel culture, and the influence of social media to civil discourse.

Councilman Nehring had the opportunity to participate in a Braver Angels event a few years ago and was really impressed by it leading to his involvement last week. The event brought together Democrats and Republicans to have a facilitated discussion to find where both parties stood on certain issues and how they could build bridges to form solutions.

“I’m a big fan, especially at the local level, of building civil discourse and respect for those we disagree with and just, in general, lowering the temperature and polarization and I view this as a good opportunity to build on that effort,” Nate Nehring told the Lynnwood Times.

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Snohomish County Councilman Nate Nehring and Braver Angels facilitator Dan Carnese filming of Braver Politics event at the home of Mary Beth Stibbins in Mukilteo on July 8, 2022. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Along with Councilman Nehring, notable attendees included Mukilteo Council members Tom Jordal and Richard Emery, former Snohomish County Republican Chair Debra Blodgett, Braver Angels facilitators Elizabeth Doll and Dan Carnese, Everett resident Janelle Burke, Marysville residents Peter Condyles and John Michel Graves, and Mukilteo resident Tim Ellis.

“The important of events like these is we can still have meaningful, effective conversations about issues that affect us all,” Mukilteo council member Richard Emery told the Lynnwood Times. “What I hope to get out of this is some common ground, how we can understand each other better, and see each other as companions in solving issues we all have to deal with.”

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Mukilteo Councilman Richard Emery and Peter Condyles attending Braver Politics event at the home of Mary Beth Stibbins in Mukilteo on July 8, 2022. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Launched in 2016, Braver Angels is a national citizens movement to bring liberals, conservatives, and others together at the grassroots level to find common ground on issues through workshops, debates, campus engagement, and more. Braver Politics is an initiative, through Braver Angels, to depolarize politics and remake our political culture from the ground up in the spirit of trust, citizenship, and good-will.

“Everything starts at the grassroots level, with the individual,” Elizabeth Doll, Director of Braver Politics, told the Lynnwood Times. “If we can’t have relationships with each other and our communities, how can we have them on a national level?”

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Elizabeth Doll and John Michel Graves attending Braver Politics event at the home of Mary Beth Stibbins in Mukilteo on July 8, 2022. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Doll continued, “You don’t build trust from the top down. If our problem is a lack of trust of individuals and a lack of trust in each other and thus a lack of trust in institutions that we run, you can’t rebuild that by having the trusts tell us we need to trust each other.”

Doll has been volunteering with Braver Angels since 2019 and joined staffed back in March. Following the pandemic in 2020, the George Floyd protests, and the subsequent issues of policing, she became more determined to depolarize her community, her region, and her nation more than ever however she is no stranger to politics. While interning on a congressional campaign as a 17-year-old, she developed her passion of the work of improving her community. Since then, Doll has volunteered, worked, consulted for, and managed multiple Washington state campaigns, from statewide gubernatorial races to local fire commissioner races.

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Braver Politics event at the home of Mary Beth Stibbins in Mukilteo on July 8, 2022. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

“Our goal is twofold. One, if people decide to continue to practice the skills we are teaching them to engage in more constructive conversation with their neighbors and their elected officials, they should join our local alliance. The second thing is to engage your public officials, ask curious questions, and think about respecting people that disagree with you and finding out why they believe what they believe,” Doll said.

The event was held at the beautiful home of Mary Beth Stibbins, co-Chair of the Western Washington Alliance, in Mukilteo with the help of local volunteers.

“I love to host events and I’m open to hosting more events,” Stibbins told the Lynnwood Times. “I really care about this community; this feels like meaningful work and if there’s interest in certain areas I’m happy to be a resource.”

Mary Beth Stibins
Mary Beth Stibins and Janell Burke attending Braver Politics event in Mukilteo on July 8, 2022. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Stibbins got involved with Braver Angels a little over four years ago after reading an article on the non-profit organization and one of its founders, Bill Doherty, of whom she holds in high regard. After researching the organization more, she sent an email asking how she could get involved and it so happened a local meeting was being held the next day. She showed up and began her volunteer work from there, organizing workshops.

A Mukilteo resident of over 20 years, Stibbins grew up in a family of both conservatives, progressives, and everything in between. She compared the work she has done, working as a marriage and family therapist, to the work she does with Braver Angels “holding the country together from civic divorce.” Since joining Braver Angels, Stibbins shared with the Lynnwood Times the organization has given her hope for the country.

Braver Angels Western Washington Alliance also had an excellent turnout its last two events in April and June, along with their usual zoom meetings, where breakout groups discussed what they had in common, including general American values and topics of interest for future communication or debate before a lively Q&A session.

braver angels nehring
Braver Politics event at the home of Mary Beth Stibbins in Mukilteo on July 8, 2022. (L-R) Peter Condyles, John Michael Graves, Debra Blodgett, Mary Beth Stibbins, Elizabeth Doll, Nate Nehring, Richard Emery, Dan Carnese, and Janelle Burke. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

The alliance urges anyone who may be interested in the work they do to attend their upcoming Welcome Social on August 8 at a yet-to-be determined location. For details contact Chris Cook at ccook@braverangels.org The organization will also be hosting a Common Ground workshop event, at the end of September, on Crime where groups will be mixed liberals and conservatives to discuss common grounds they can share with elected officials on the topic of public safety.

braver angels nehring
Braver Politics event at the home of Mary Beth Stibbins in Mukilteo on July 8, 2022. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Mario Lotmore

Mario Lotmore is originally from The Bahamas and for the last seven years has called Mukilteo, WA his home. Having lived in every region of the United States has exposed him to various cultures, people, and approaches to life. Lotmore created the Lynnwood Times to represent the character of a diverse and growing Lynnwood. The launching of the city’s community newspaper will only help bring neighborhoods together. Lotmore was an industrial engineer by trade and proven success implementing and managing lean accountable processes and policies within his eighteen years of operations excellence, strategic development, and project management in the aerospace, manufacturing, and banking industries. Over his career he has saved and created hundreds of union and non-union jobs. Lotmore is the President of a Homeowner Association, an active Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics volunteer in his community, and former Boeing 747 Diversity Council leader. Mario’s talent is finding “that recipe” of shared destiny to effectively improve the quality of life for others.

Mario Lotmore has 1241 posts and counting. See all posts by Mario Lotmore

2 thoughts on “Braver Angels hosts Neighborhood Dinner Conversation featuring Nate Nehring

  • July 16, 2022 at 10:35 PM
    Permalink

    You may want to consider correcting the spelling of the last name of Mary Beth Stibbins in your online edition. Ms. Stibbins’ name was mentioned frequently in your July 11th article about Braver Angels. At one point you also refer to the organization as “Bravery” Angels. I’m sure members of the organization would appreciate these corrections. Thanks.

    Reply
    • July 16, 2022 at 10:44 PM
      Permalink

      Done. Thank you.

      Reply

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