Archives for October 2017

October 2017 Awards to Nine Local Leagues

Nine Leagues received Daniel Scharfman Citizen Education grants in October 2017:

LWV Cape Ann: LWVCA organized a voter education event for the contested seats in the Gloucester city election on November 7th.  There are seven candidates for four Councilor-at-Large seats and one contested Ward Councilor race with two candidates.  All nine candidates agreed to participate. Nine Gloucester High School students researched the voting history and stances of the candidates on issues.  Each student worked with one candidate and with one adult volunteer on the research. A public forum was held on October 18th at the Sawyer Free Public Library for all candidates.  Each student got to ask his or her candidate one question, and members of the audience submitted questions. The students will also assist at the polls, under the direction of the City Clerk, on Election Day.   They will receive school credit for community service. The forum was videotaped by Cape Ann TV and will be aired several times before the election.

LWV Framingham: As Framingham transitions from a town to a city form of government, it will have an election for the first mayor and the first city council.  LWV Framingham organized three Candidates Showcases to inform citizens. The first showcase was attended by over 250 people. The second Showcase highlighted the 18 candidates for the 9 City Council seats.  The final Showcase featured the four candidates for the At Large City Council seats and the two candidates for Mayor.

LWV Franklin County:   On October 6,  LWV Franklin County hosted a Civics Trivia Night contest with State Rep. Paul Mark and Greenfield Town Councilor at Large Rudy Renaud as quizmasters. Questions spread over five rounds covered local and national government, as well as local and national history. Approximately 85 people attended.

LWV Greater Haverhill: LWVGH has been attending Naturalization Ceremonies in Lowell and will use these funds to purchase miniature flags to hand out with voter registration forms to new citizen candidates as they enter the auditorium. A member of this League will explain to the candidates how to complete the form and that completed forms will be collected at the end of the event and mailed to their local city or town clerk.

LWV Greater Lowell: The Greater Lowell League of Women voters will undertake an educational program to educate Dracut voters on the importance and value of their vote at Town Meeting. The study will have three parts: The first part will be a survey of active voters that will be done online to understand their views of town meeting and the barriers they face in attending town meeting, and provide them with an opportunity to present their own ideas to make town meeting more accessible. The second part of the program will launch an initiative in the weeks prior to the November town meeting incorporating the survey results with hopeful solutions to overcoming town meeting participation. The third part of the program will follow up after town meeting with  survey participants to see what the success rate was of activating new town meeting participants.

LWV Hamilton-Wenham On October 3, LWVHW hosted an interactive forum discussion on Media Literacy entitled, “#WTF* (*Fact or Fiction): Decoding Media in 2017, Left, Right and Center,” featuring four distinguished panelists.  The goals were to educate, provide decoding tools, and facilitate civil discourse in our communities. The event was free and open to the public and approximately 130 people attended the event.

LWV Melrose: The local Melrose election will be held on November 7, and LWV Melrose has organized and held the live forums where candidates for office express their points of view and take questions from the public. The sessions are taped by the local cable channel and replayed for 4-6 weeks up to the election. \

LWV Needham: “Working Together for a Greener Future” was a LWV-Needham/Green Needham Collaborative project to raise awareness of environmental issues, recognize organizations working together on this issue, and promote future collaboration.

LWV Wellesley: The Opening Meeting on September 28 featured Dr. Mira Bernstein, an Associate Professor at Tufts University who gave a lecture open to the public entitled “Gerrymandering:  Why It’s More Complicated Than Most People Think.” The lecture was held from 7 – 8:30 pm at the Wellesley Community Center with refreshments provided at 6:30 pm and a question and answer period following Dr. Bernstein’s talk.  The talk was videotaped and is available for viewing at Wellesley Public Media.

Strong Showing at Day on the Hill

The League showed up on Beacon Hill Tuesday, October 24 to “move the needle” on our legislative priorities—automatic voter registration, carbon pricing/energy, safe communities and immigration, and criminal justice reform, with presentations on those bills from Nancy Brumback, Launa Zimmaro, Karen Price and Colleen Kirby.

Sen. Cynthia Creem and Rep. Patricia Haddad lauded the League for its commitment to voting rights and citizen action.  Creem, who is the sponsor for AVR and a criminal justice reform bill repealing mandatory minimums, urged League members to continue their pressure on the legislature to pass those bills.  Haddad noted the voting reforms, including early voting, that the League was instrumental in passing in the past and noted that AVR is the next step in making it more convenient for people to vote.

LWVMA also saluted Carole Pelchat, legislative director, who was at her final Day on the Hill before she moves to North Carolina.

Handouts

Great Time at the League Leaders’ Lunch

This fall’s League Leaders’ Lunch in Worcester offered more than fifty leaders from around the state an opportunity to learn, network, and share.  The day’s agenda included an update on what’s been happening at LWVMA and LWVUS, a presentation on League advocacy (how it works and what you can do), and a panel discussion with League leaders from three of our new units in Franklin County, Central Berkshire County and Greater Lowell.

“Ordinary women and men doing extraordinary things” summed up the comments from three of our new League units at the League Leaders lunch.  The panel included Marge Michalski, Treasurer, Franklin County unit; Kathie Penna, President, Central Berkshire unit; and Sabrina Heisey, leader of the Greater Lowell unit.  Each shared their impetus for forming a League unit and identified the League’s non-partisanship and focus on issues as two of the most important reasons why they chose the League as a vehicle for their engagement.

The new League units shared their perspectives about how they got started, and why forming a League was the channel for their activism.  Their enthusiasm was infectious; their facile use of communications and social media gave all of us some ideas to energize our own League members.

After lunch, everyone had an opportunity to share in small groups one idea that their League has done to engage new and existing members.  LWVMA staff offered a quick overview of the resources that the website and the office have to offer all our members.

Many thanks to our co-host Worcester League, who made us feel welcome in a great venue in a central location.

Presentations

What’s new at LWVMA and LWVUS – Year of Growth
League Advocacy: How It Works and What You Can Do
Sharing Roundtable Notes
LWVMA Staff: Who We Are, What We Do, and How We Can Help You

Handouts

Local League Basics
LWVMA Information and Links
Tools for Local Leagues
Field Service Regions
The Citizen Lobbyist Handbook
Legislative Envoy Program
2017 LWVMA Advocacy Agenda
Priority Bills
League Supported and Opposed Legislation
Voter Service Committee Update
LWVMA Funding Chart
What Would Alice Paul Do Flyer
Upcoming Events in 2017