October 2013 Awards to Six Local Leagues

Congratulations to the six Leagues awarded Daniel Scharfman Citizen Education Grants. Four grants were funded from LWVs of Greater Haverhill, Arlington, Westford, and a joint grant from Sudbury, Weston and Wayland. The deadline for the next funding cycle is December 2, 2013. The total amount dispersed in this cycle for the four grants was $950.

For information on the grant program click here.

The grant program offers funds to help Leagues carry out events and projects in the areas of citizen education and voter service. Generous contributions to the Lotte E. Scharfman Education Fund have made this successful grant program possible. Please consider donating to the fund. Donations can be made through the website, lwvma.org, and a big thank you to those of you who have donated in the past, making this grant program possible.

The October grant recipients are:

LWV Greater Haverhill: Money in Politics:  Is Our Democracy at Risk? ($250)

In association with the Northern Essex Community College Contemporary Affairs Club, Haverhill Matters and the Republican and Democratic City Committees, LWVGH is “presenting an educational forum regarding the influence of money in politics and public policy and what average citizens can do to regain their voice in the face of current campaign finance laws and corporate lobbying.”

The grant covers a portion of the costs.

LWV Arlington: Candidates’ Night ($200)

LWV Arlington (LWVA) co-sponsors an annual Candidates’ Night with a Town of Arlington Committee called Vision 2020.  LWVA is responsible for contacting/inviting candidates to attend the event where they present their ideas and respond to questions from attendees.  The event, held in Arlington Town Hall, covers local positions such as Selectmen, School Committee, Housing Authority, Town Clerk, etc.  LWVA prepares the Voter’s Guide for Candidates’ Night, a printed pamphlet that contains a picture, brief biography and response to questions posed by LWVA for each candidate.  LWVA is responsible for the cost of printing about 200 copies of the Voter’s Guide, which is available as a handout at Candidates’ Night, and also distributed to town libraries.  LWVA also pays for the cost of sending a postcard to all Town Meeting candidates inviting them to Candidates’ Night, and for printing tent-style name tags placed on tables in front of candidates at the event.

This request will fund the entire project cost.

LWV Westford: Guide to Running for Local Office in Westford ($250)

After years of watching many of our elected offices be filled by unopposed candidates, the League wanted to put together a resource for potential candidates.   Influenced by other Leagues, and in the spirit of the “Guide to Town Meeting” that we already publish, we are working on a “Guide to Running for Local Office in Westford” booklet.  This booklet will be available in printed form, and online.  It will discuss the entire process of running for local office.  League members have interviewed candidates to provide some real-word perspectives on the process.

In January, we are holding a forum to discuss running for local office.  Past and current elected officials will answer a series of questions, following the outline in our Guide, to better explain what is involved in running for office.  This event will be taped by the local cable station, and rebroadcast throughout the winter.  Our local elections are held in early May.

The grant will fund the entire cost of the project.

LWV Sudbury, Wayland and Weston: 5th Congressional District Pre-Primary Candidates’ Forum ($250)

A candidates’ forum on Sunday, Sept. 29, from 2-4 p.m. at the Wayland Middle School for the candidates running in the Oct. 15 primary election to fill the seat vacated when Edward Markey was elected to the U.S. Senate.  There are seven Democrats and three Republicans on the party ballots, and nine of the 10 have agreed to participate (one Republican had a long-standing commitment he was unable to reschedule).  This forum is particularly important given the large field and the fact that the candidates are relatively unknown.  To the best of our knowledge, this is the only candidate forum to put both Democrats and Republicans on the same stage and to invite all of the candidates who will be on the Oct. 15 party ballots.

The three Leagues are picking up the cost ($10 each) for DVDs of the event to be sent to all of the Leagues in the Congressional District who have asked for one for their local cable access stations. We have had requests from six other Leagues for DVDs, one request for three separate towns. About 200 people attended the forum.

The grant covers a portion of the project.