Panelists for the Green New Deal Whatcom Expanded Bios:
Dr. Sharon Shewmake is a first-term Washington State representative from the 42nd District, a professor of environmental economics, urban economics, and energy policy at Western Washington University, and a children’s book author, spouse, and mother of two young boys. She completed Bachelor’s degrees in Economics and in Environmental Science and Policy at Duke University, and continued her education at the University of California at Davis, earning her Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics. Before moving to Washington, Sharon taught at UC-Davis and at Vanderbilt University, and in Botswana. Sharon is a member of Bellingham’s Lettered Streets Neighborhood Association, a union member, and a member of Whatcom County Climate Change Impacts Committee.
Steve Garey is a retired president of the United Steelworkers Union (Anacortes), where he worked as a machinist for both Shell and Tesoro. He is a representative of the BlueGreen Alliance (between labor, environmental, and community organizations) and the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy. He was a spokesman for I-1631 (Clean Air, Clean Energy) and the top signature gatherer in Skagit County. He lives in Sedro Woolley.
Edgar Franks is a C2C organizer and serves as the Civic Engagement Program Coordinator. He has strong farm worker roots in Skagit County where he grew up. Edgar honed his organizing skills supporting the formation of the first independent farmworker union in WA State since 1986, Familias Unidas por la Justicia. As an organizer, he works in Whatcom and Skagit Counties and travels to Eastern WA to meet with farmworkers as needed, to support their organizing efforts working with union organizers of FUJ. Edgar works in the development and implementation of the Just Transition framework that centers food sovereignty in innovative models of participatory democracy, such as People’s Movement Assemblies and Tribunals.
Michael Peñuelas is a policy analyst, community organizer, and strategic communicator doggedly working his way toward food and energy systems that are secure, sovereign, and resilient. Michael holds degrees in Environmental Policy and Management as well as in Earth System Science. He is currently the legislative staffer to Representative Sharon Shewmake, sits on the board of the Riveters Collective, and is a proud member of the Bellingham Tenants Union and 350 Bellingham.
Jill MacIntyre Witt has made it her lifelong passion to connect others to the natural world and to care for and protect our planet. She recently completed a Masters in Environmental Studies at Western Washington University. She created a Climate Justice Field Manual, which documents social movement building strategies, effective climate communication tips, and gives a detailed account of incorporating climate justice into the ways we address the climate crisis which she shares in her ‘Climate Justice Now! How?’ TEDx Talk. Jill works at Western Washington University as an Environmental Studies and PE Instructor, and Peace Corps Campus Representative. Along with chairing her local Climate Reality Project chapter, she serves on the City’s Climate Action Task Force and volunteers with 350 Bellingham.