In This Issue:
TODAY: May 5, 1809 – Mary Kies becomes the first woman awarded a U.S. patent (for a technique of weaving straw with silk and thread).
- President’s Message: Getting in the Way (NEW)
- League Launches Major Accountability Ad Campaign (NEW)
EDUCATION FUND (Elections; Fair Judiciary; Global Democracy; Education Study)
- Elections: Voter Protection (PAVP) Project Update (NEW)
- Fair Judiciary: LWVSC Convention to Highlight Diversity Campaign (NEW)
- Global Democracy: Legislative Fellows Program Update (NEW)
- LWV Education Study Paper Available Online (NEW)
MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP
- Tips for Outgoing and New Leaders (NEW)
- Meet a State Coach (NEW)
- Celebrating Mothers (NEW)
- April 2011 League Newsletter
- LWVUS Annual Telemarketing Outreach Program Runs April 19 to May 20
- You Can Make a Gift that Helps Your League at All Three Levels!
Dear League Leader:
“Don’t be afraid to get in trouble and to get in the way.” When John Lewis addressed this remark to Convention 2010 in Atlanta, he could not have directed it to a more appropriate audience.
The League of Women Voters was founded to finish the fight for suffrage. If our founders had not gotten in the way, women would not be voting today. Suffragists had one goal in mind, to get the vote for millions of women. To achieve that end, they were not afraid to get in trouble, they were not afraid to call out elected officials by name, up to and including President Woodrow Wilson. But achieving the vote was not an end in itself. The League was not founded solely to bring newly enfranchised women into the political process. The League was created, in the words of Carrie Chapman Catt, to making democracy safe for the nation.
Last Friday, in Massachusetts and Missouri, the League began running television ads pointing out recent votes of Senators Scott Brown and Claire McCaskill to delay or eliminate the ability of the EPA to enforce the Clean Air Act. These ads are hard hitting and factual. They can be viewed on our website and at the People not Polluters website. These ads were made possible through the support of trusted partners in the environmental and public health community and were not paid for by PMP. Because the ads are powerful, they have provoked a response, including accusations of partisanship.
Democracy cannot be safe if the voices of citizens, telling the truth to elected officials, can be silenced by mere accusations or by creating the mirage of a never-ending election campaign. If votes in Congress on issues as important to the American public as clean air can only be addressed on television by members of a political party, then democracy is not safe. If the only time our representatives can be held accountable is every two, four or six years, democracy is not safe. If we accede to the media fixation on the horse race, then we abandon all hope of ever engaging each other on the facts.
The message being sent in Massachusetts and Missouri is that votes in Congress have consequences, sometimes to the public health and the well-being of the people of America. The medium we have chosen makes that message disturbing to some. It does not make it less true.
As we urge mainstream America to assume the responsibilities of citizenship by continually holding elected officials accountable, it may be necessary from time to time, on issues as important to the country and as cherished by our members as this one is, to use the biggest megaphone we can find to reach those we have elected to govern our affairs. If we don’t get in the way on clean air, what good is the power of the vote?
League Launches Major Accountability Ad Campaign (NEW)
At the end of April, the League launched a major television ad campaign calling public attention to the votes by Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) and Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) earlier in the month to block new air pollution standards. The accountability ads call on both Senators to “protect the people, not the polluters." The ads also can be viewed at www.peoplenotpolluters.org. In addition, read President MacNamara’s statement and the April 13 Boston Globe piece on Senator Brown’s vote. As expected, this effort has made an impact on this vital public health issue and raised the importance of protecting clear air.
EDUCATION FUND (Elections; Fair Judiciary; Global Democracy; Education Study)
Elections: Voter Protection (PAVP) Project Update (NEW)
State legislatures across the country continue to address legislation that would require photo identification as a pre-requisite to voting. This past week we saw bills move forward in WI, SC, MO and MN. The bills in MN and MO are actually constitutional amendments that, if passed, will need to be ratified in the November 2012 election. Here is a video of testimony given by the LWV of Minnesota; it provides great ID information.
Fair Judiciary: LWVSC Convention to Highlight Diversity Campaign (NEW)
The LWV of South Carolina is featuring “Safeguarding U.S. Democracy: Quest for a More Diverse Judiciary,” a statewide education campaign to ensure fair and impartial courts by encouraging diversity, independence and transparency of the South Carolina judiciary, at their convention on May 14-15. On the agenda are keynote remarks from the Honorable Ruth McGregor, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Arizona and judicial selection advocate, and the presentation of the 2011 “Spirit of Democracy Award” to the Honorable Ernest A. Finney, Jr., former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Carolina. Panels on both days will address judicial topics. Find more information here.
Global Democracy: Legislative Fellows Program Update (NEW)
The Legislative Fellows Program recently successfully completed its outbound trip to Brazil. The American group attended a series of events and meetings, planned by Brazilian Legislative Fellow Alumni. Among the highlights were a “Young Women of Jacaña/Tremembe” event in Sao Paulo and the “3rd International Dialogue on Women’s Political Participation” in Curitiba. Learn more about the trip (and see photos) here.
LWV Education Study Paper Available Online (NEW)
The Education Study paper, “Legislation and Funding for the Education of Children Who are Disadvantaged, ” has been posted. All currently available papers are accessible here. Additional materials, including the Leaders Guide and Consensus Questions, will be available there in the coming weeks. The deadline for Leagues to submit consensus forms is November 30, 2011. If you have questions about the Education Study, please contact Education Study Committee Chair Peg Hill email@example.com or Co-Chair Joanne Leavitt firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEMBERSHIP & LEADERSHIP
Tips for Outgoing and New Leaders (NEW)
Local Leagues often see changes in leadership at this time of the year. Outgoing leaders: help ensure that all your great work does not come undone! Pass on all important information (including your League’s online database user name and password), documents and records to your successor. Hold a board orientation to prepare new leaders for their roles. New leaders: remember that it is never too early to prepare for the next League leader! Keep good records to pass on, mentor your successor and model strong leadership skills. Go to the Tools for Leaders section for online leadership tools.
Meet a State Coach (NEW)
Jo Nicholas is a state coach for North Carolina in the League membership and leadership development program. As part of this initiative, Jo currently mentors three local Leagues in her home state. Jo has been a member of the League since 2004 and loves the League, saying: “The League has allowed me to participate in events such as networking at the state level, meeting local officials in our community, participating in candidate forums and many more activities. Everywhere I go, I am proud to be a League member and display my ‘button’ to promote our local League.” Cheers to Jo and all of our state coaches who mentor local Leagues to grow the League for a better democracy! Learn more about the program here.
Celebrating Mothers (NEW)
Cheers to the moms in our lives (your daughter, your mother, your sister, your neighbor and you) for all that you do – and to our foremothers who fought for our rights! Consider honoring one of this generation's mothers with a membership in the League this year. Speak to your local League membership chair or president to make a mom a member or go here to find a local League in your area. What could be better than the gift of civic improvement, a network of friends, and making a difference in your community together with your family?
April 2011 League Newsletter
LWVUS Annual Telemarketing Outreach Program Runs April 19 to May 20
The LWVUS Development Office wants to alert League leaders that the LWVUS annual telemarketing outreach program runs from April 19 to May 20, 2011. During this campaign, national donors, as well as those local members who contribute to the LWVUS, are contacted by phone with a request for support. In addition, local members who are lapsed more than 24 months will be contacted. They will be given the opportunity to renew membership with their local League. Questions should be directed to Rose Simmons at email@example.com.
You Can Make a Gift That Helps Your League at All Three Levels!
Some things never change even in these challenging economic times. The League of Women Voters Education Fund continues to be at the forefront of public policy issue education which allows citizens to thoughtfully engage in the democratic process. By making a gift of cash or securities of $5,000 or more to the LWVEF Pooled Income Fund, you can receive an immediate income tax deduction for a portion of the gift's value and continue earning a quarterly return on the interest earned for life. Best of all, you can name your state and/or local League, along with the LWVEF, to benefit from the residual funds when you're gone. For more information, please contact the Development office at 202-263-1355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Like" the League on Facebook at www.facebook.com/leagueofwomenvoters
Donate to the League on our Facebook Causes page.