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Big Sky 55+ Statewide Conference

March 21-22, 2024 
Billings, MT

Gather with Big Sky 55+ members, leaders, allies and friends for two days of stimulating, engaging ideas and conversations to help us build a better Montana for all. Learn, Inspire, Be Inspired!

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS:

Betsy Gaines Quammen, Bozeman-based author currently touring with her newly released book, True West: Myth & Mending on the Far Side of America

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Alex Lawson, Executive Director of Social Security Works will speak on  "Exposing Myths and Zombie Lies about Social Security"

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PANELS:

Engaging our 55+ Superpowers!

The 55+ generation has gifts and structural power that can be shared with younger generations. We will kick off the conference with a panel and group discussion on generational Synergy and Power. The panel will also discuss the cultural perspectives of Native Americans on the role of elders on the role of elders in traditional cultures.

Panelists:

  • Crow Tribal Elder, former lawmaker and Big Sky 55+ Board of Directors member Angela Russell of Lodge Grass

  • Education leader and former State Senator and Great Falls City Commissioner Mary Sheehy Moe

  • Forward Montana! Billings Organizer Pari Kemmick

  • Northern Plains Resources Council Staff Director Maggie Gordon

  • Moderated by Pat Sweeney

 

Fair Taxes Now!: Navigating and Challenging Montana’s increasingly tilted tax system

Taxes are important -- they pay for things our communities rely on. But the tax system has become increasingly unfair, benefiting the wealthy and large corporations while saddling others with higher shares of the taxes. Learn the context, get clarity, and learn how to talk about this sticky but very important issue. 

Panelists:

  • MT Budget and Policy Center Dir. of Research Rose Bender,

  • Former Director of the MT Dept. of Revenue Dan Bucks,

  • Gallatin County Commissioner Zach Brown,

  • MT Fed. of Public Employees President Amanda Curtis,

  • MT State Representative Jonathan Karlen

  • Moderated by Jon Ellingson

 

Keeping Healthcare Affordable in Montana

Medicare, Medicaid unwinding and expansion, prescription drug pricing, and the effects of healthcare policies on rural, Native American, senior, and other marginalized communities. 

Panelists:

  • Molly Moody, Healthcare for America Now

  • Montana State Rep. SJ Howell,

  • Montana State Rep. Sharon Stewart Peregoy

  • Chief Health Officer at the Native American Development Corporation, Cora Neumann

  • Moderated by Elizabeth Marum

 

Montana's Changing Media Landscape and Navigating Misinformation

Explore the current landscape of print, online, radio, and broadcast journalism, and learn about the rise of misinformation and disinformation and how to combat it.

Panelists:

  • Daily Montanan Editor Darrell Ehrlick,

  • Boulder Monitor Owner/Publisher Keith Hammonds,

  • Middlefork Strategies Deputy Director Nick Lockridge

  • Montana journalist, podcaster and author Russell Rowland

  • Yellowstone Public Radio News Director Jackie Coffin

  • Moderated by Ken Toole

 

No Wrong Door! Aging with Dignity and Grace in Montana 

How are Montana's long-term care and community-based service providers faring one year after the 2023 legislature? Learn more about best practices in serving aging Montanans in their homes. 

Panelists:

  • Valley View Nursing Home Administrator Wes Thompson,

  • MT State Senator Chris Pope,

  • Great Falls City Commissioner and Veterans’ advocate Shannon Wilson

  • Big Sky 55+ Executive Director Margie MacDonald

  • Moderated by Barbara Archer

TIMELINE (subject to change):

Thursday, March 21:

Welcome Message - 1:00pm

Engaging our 55+ Superpowers! - 1:20pm

Breakout Session - 2:25pm

Fair Taxes Now! - 3:30pm

Betsy Gaines Quammen & Banquet Dinner - 6:45pm

 

Friday, March 22:

Good morning message - 9am

** Friday Check out 11AM NO LATE CHECK OUTS **

Montana Health Care - 9:15am

Montana’s Changing Media Landscape - 10:30am

Alex Lawson and Lunch - NOON

Aging with Dignity and Grace - 1:15pm

Breakout Session - 2:00pm

Plenary Wrap Up and Farewell - 2:30 pm

THE VENUE:

The Historic Northern Hotel in Downtown Billings

Enjoy free parking and lots of downtown restaurants, a brewery trail, shops, theaters, museums and galleries. 

 

We have booked a block of rooms for Thursday night, March 21st. Please call the Northern Hotel directly at 406-867-6767 to reserve a hotel room and ask for the Big Sky 55+ rate ($159.00 per night). Make your reservations ASAP to guarantee your spot!

Limited scholarships are available. Please contact Lila at lcleminshaw@bigsky55.org for more information.

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