Badger Club: Discussing the issues that shape our future

We’re delighted!

Our new partnership with the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business will be an important part of our shared future. It means that we will be able to reach Journal readers in a way that brings them into conversations that matter.

The Columbia Basin Badger Club is a nonprofit, nonpartisan community forum for civil discourse created in 2008.

Since then, we have regularly informed our members about the important international, national, regional and local issues of the day by presenting informed speakers, often with differing opinions, at monthly luncheons.

Our members question our speakers directly.

Like so many other organizations in our community, the coronavirus pandemic has presented the Badger Club with many challenges and opportunities. We were forced to cancel or postpone our February, March and April forums for the safety of those who attend.

Months earlier we had scheduled Gen. James Mattis for June. We were just not going to waste that opportunity; we had to find a way to deliver his presentation to our membership. With some trepidation, we decided to hold our first virtual forum.

More than 1,000 people from the U.S. and several foreign countries registered and viewed Mattis’ presentation entitled, “Leadership in Times of Crisis,” and the question-and-answer session that followed.

By the time Gen. Mattis finished his remarks, we knew we had a winner!

We presented two very timely Badger Forums in July, the first with former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, live from his home in the San Juan Islands.

Stamper’s bestseller, “To Protect and Serve,” gave our viewers plenty to chew on.

We followed that two weeks later with local perspectives featuring the voices of Leo Perales and Jordan Chaney, along with Pasco Police Chief Ken Roske.

The August Badger Forum was a mid-summer update on reopening and recovering from the coronavirus pandemic in our own community, featuring Pasco School Superintendent Michelle Whitney, Benton-Franklin Health District Officer Dr. Amy Person and Tri-City Development Council Chief Executive Officer Karl Dye.

All were conducted on the Zoom platform.

When we can at last meet in person, we will be in the Holiday Inn Express in Pasco next to HAPO Center. The new venue is set up for presenting teleconferences in its meeting rooms, opening the potential for “hybrid” Badger forums using Zoom to bring panelists and speakers from other places to interact directly with attendees in the room.

Demonstrating the power of a virtual platform, our Sept. 17 forum, “State of the State’s Economy,” will feature Lisa Brown, Washington’s secretary of commerce, and Kris Johnson, CEO of the Association of Washington Business, both via Zoom. The event is free.

Advance registration is required, visit our website, columbiabasinbadgers.com, to register and learn about future Badger forums.

Kirk Williamson is a founding member of the Badger Club and is serving as the club’s president. Author and historian C. Mark Smith is the club’s vice president of programs.

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