Letter to the Editor of the Boston Globe: No longer an issue of climate change–it’s a climate emergency.

LWVMA Energy and Environment specialist Launa Zimmaro and LWVMA President Mary Ann Ashton authored a Letter to the Editor of the Boston Globe that was published Sunday, June 16. The letter was in response to Yvonne Abraham’s June 8 column, “Fighting the good fight on the front lines of climate change.”

Transportation and Climate Initiative Explained in LWVMA Webinar

April 23, 2019. Jordan Stutt (Acadia Center) and Preyel Patel (Chief of Staff for Rep. Lori Ehrlich) presented “Driving Down Emissions: Massachusetts and the Regional Transportation and Climate Initiative,” in the latest webinar in the LWVMA Climate and Energy Solutions Series.

The speakers described the Transportation and Climate Initiative and why it is important and discussed state legislative efforts to guide development of a sustainable and equitable plan for Massachusetts.

Watch the webinar: Driving Down Emissions: Massachusetts and the Regional Transportation and Climate Initiative.

View the webinar presentation.

Watch all the webinars and forums in the LWVMA Climate and Energy Solutions Series.

“The Climate Change Challenge” LWVMA Student Video Contest Winners Announced

March 29, 2019/ Boston, MA
 – The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA) has announced the winners of “The Climate Change Challenge” Student Video Contest.

The winners are:

First Place:  “The Urban Shade Tree: Nature’s Air Conditioner” by Madeleine Lombard, Four Rivers Charter Public School

Second Place:  “Rising Sea Levels” by Sophia Orlando, Rockport High School

Third Place“How Composting Helps the Environment” by Jessica Elmhurst, Walpole High School

Honorable Mention:

“Help Us To Put A Stop To Global Warming” by Kira Perry and Feyza Achilova, Dartmouth High School

“Get Greener: One Step at a Time” by Benten Niggel, Noah Dzeidzina, and Matthew Campbell, Nauset Regional High School

“Sip From The Side” by DJ Charles, Concord Academy

“Catchy Solutions To Air Pollution” by Kate Guttilla, Needham High School

“Little Things” by Noor Issa, Durfee High School

“Plant Based For The Climate” by Jinnie Mannion, Maynard High School

“Heal The World” by Nickolas Qvarnstrom, Wyatt Gaynor, Richard Ramsay, and Sam Cipro, Nauset Regional High School

“The Climate-Diet Connection” by Nina Yee, Izzy Drayer, Anda Gravlin, and Olivia Kierstead, Needham High School

“Climate Change” by Trevor Nunes, David Drew, Cole Roderick, Brandon Bowman, and Bud Driscoll, Falmouth High School

“Switch To Reusable” by Emily Kociubes and Elizabeth Herzog, Bedford High School

LWVMA invited Massachusetts high school students to create videos with content that raises public awareness about one aspect of climate change and suggests a course of action. The winning entries were selected from a large group of entries from across the Commonwealth. A panel of judges scored each video on criteria including clarity of message, memorability, presentation, and creativity.  The winners will receive awards of $500 (first place); $250 (second place); $100 (third place); and $50 (honorable mention).

“The League has been advocating for issues of the environment for decades. We couldn’t be happier to join with and amplify the voices of high school students. Collectively we can make a difference on climate change,” said LWVMA Executive Director Michelle Kweder.

“We are all inspired by the creative visions of the many high school students who shared their messages of climate action through this contest,” said Mary Ann Ashton, president of LWVMA. “The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts hopes these videos engage everyone throughout the Commonwealth to take action to lessen the impacts of climate change.”

An award ceremony to honor the winners will be held on April 11 at 3:45pm at the Massachusetts State House, Room 428. Please RSVP to LWVMA Administrative and Program Associate Taylor Grenga at tgrenga@lwvma.org.

The contest was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts Citizen Education Fund, which supports programs designed to encourage the active and informed participation of citizens in democracy and increase understanding of public policy issues. Additional support for this program was provided by the Salem Five Charitable Foundation.

Michelle Kweder Named LWVMA Executive Director

MARCH 11, 2019/Boston, MA – The Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA) is pleased to announce that Michelle Kweder has been named Executive Director. Kweder brings two decades of non-profit, public sector, academic and political experience, as well as a commitment and passion for the League’s non-partisan work to encourage the active and informed participation of citizens in their government through education and advocacy.

“We are very pleased to welcome Michelle and look forward to working with her,” said Mary Ann Ashton, LWVMA President. “Michelle’s wealth of experience with non-profit operations and missions will help us continue to build our impact throughout the Commonwealth.”

For the past 11 years Kweder has had her own consulting practice focused on comprehensive resource development services; partnerships and strategic alliances; board development; succession planning; strategic planning; and facilitation and training. Clients include numerous non-profit organizations in the Greater Boston area, including Boston Public Schools, Boston’s Citywide Dialogues on Race and Ethnicity, College Visions, Discover Roxbury, Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, Tufts University, and YW Boston. She has held positions at both Simmons University and Harvard Law School, and has previously worked in both the public and nonprofit sector. Kweder is a resident of Somerville.

Kweder commented, “Throughout my academic and professional career, I have worked for fair and just policies at the local, state, and federal levels. I am inspired by LWVMA’s commitment to building a diverse community of informed and active citizens in the Commonwealth. I look forward to continuing, amplifying, and growing LWVMA’s membership, visibility, and influence at all levels of government. The work of LWVMA is relevant and essential to democracy at this critical moment in our history.”

Kweder holds a B.A. in English with a concentration in Women’s Studies from Hamilton College, an MBA from Simmons College, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration, Organizations and Social Change from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

About the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts
Since its founding in 1920, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts has been a respected and trusted voice for citizen participation in our democracy. With 46 local Leagues throughout the state and over 3,000 members, LWVMA has been at the forefront of efforts to empower and educate Massachusetts voters and effect change on a wide variety of issues, including election laws and campaign finance, natural resources and the environment, women’s health, children’s issues, and public education. Membership in the League is open to men and women of all ages. For more information about the League of Women Voters, please visit www.lwvma.org.

LWVMA Responds to Speaker DeLeo’s GreenWorks Plan

On February 22, 2019, Massachusetts Speaker of the House, Robert DeLeo, unveiled a plan, dubbed GreenWorks, to invest $1 billion over ten years to cities and towns in Massachusetts for climate change related programs. A GreenWorks bill is expected in the House soon. LWVMA responded to this news with the following letter to the the Governor, the Speaker, the Senate President, the Chairs and Vice Chairs of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture, and the Chairs and Vice Chairs of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy.

Climate Change Response Letter for Website

Oppenheimer Interprets Climate Reports in LWVMA Webinar

Feb 6, 2019. In a League of Women Voters of Massachusetts webinar, Professor Michael Oppenheimer presented the most important findings from the 2018 Climate Reports. These two reports, the UN IPCC Report and the US National Climate Assessment Report, captured the attention of average citizens, politicians, and advocates for their stark projections of the future for the world and the United States.

Watch the webinar: It’s Happening. It’s Now: The Climate Reports of 2018.

View the webinar presentation.

Watch the other webinars and forums in the LWVMA Climate and Energy Solutions Series.


February 2019 Scharfman Grants Awarded to Three Local Leagues

Three local Leagues received Daniel Scharfman Citizen Education grants in February 2019:

LWV Harvard: LWV Harvard will host a screening of the documentary NOW IS THE TIME: Healthcare for Everybody.” The film will be followed by a discussion about healthcare coverage, led by Dr. William Taylor, a former director with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. State and federal elected officials have been invited to attend.

LWVMA’s Salem Unit:  LWV Salem will run a video contest for students in grades 6-12. Students will be tasked with creating short videos explaining the voting process and encouraging participation in the 2019 Salem city council and school committee election. Winning students will be awarded a cash prize.

LWV Sudbury: LWV Sudbury will host  its 11th annual Civics Bee. Middle school students, high school students, and adults work together on their towns’ teams, answering questions about the US, state, and local governments. The Civics Bee is open to the public and will air on television.

Recording of Webinar on “The Massachusetts Legislature: Who, What, Where, When, Why, How” Now Available

January, 30, 2019/Boston, MA–A recording of the Jan. 29 LWVMA webinar on “The Massachusetts Legislature: Who, What, Where, When, Why, How” presented by LWVMA Legislative Action Chair Nancy Brumback is now available here.  This webinar covers the process and timeline for passing legislation in Massachusetts, explains the League’s approach to advocacy,  and includes tips to enable “Citizen Lobbyists” to become actively involved in the legislative process.

LWVMA Urges Reform of House Rules

January 28, 2019/Boston, MA–The League of  Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA) supports changes designed to bring greater transparency, access, and accountability to the rules that govern the Massachusetts House of Representatives. LWVMA is urging its members to contact their state representatives in support of the following package of six reforms that have been proposed:

  • Provide 72 hours for legislators to read bills before floor vote; provide 30 minutes for legislators to read amendments before floor vote
  • Provide 24 hours for committee members to read bill redrafts before committee vote
  • Allow for the discharge of bills that have substantial legislator support from joint committees
  • Require that written testimony and other documents provided to committees be made available to lawmakers and the public
  • Require that all committee votes are publicly available within 48 hours of votes taken
  • Create standards for staff, office, and resource allocations and make the standards publicly available

You can read about the proposed reforms and the League’s efforts in Commonwealth Magazine.



Climate Change Challenge Begins January 25!

The League of Women Voters invites Massachusetts high school students to participate in our sixth annual video contest, the Climate Change Challenge. Students should make a 30-second video describing and aspect of climate change and proposing a solution. Rules for entry can be found here. Please see our press release for more information.