Women Power The Vote: Nationwide Day of Action Celebrating 100th Anniversary of The League of Women Voters

Please join us on Thursday, February 6, 2020 at 10:00 AM at the State House in Room 428 for a 100th anniversary celebration of the League of Women Voters. Following a speaking program, we will act to support Election Day Registration in MA. Cake and coffee will be served. Let’s demonstrate the power of women to achieve a more perfect democracy. Stay tuned for more details.

LWVMA Co-President Judy Zaunbrecher Presents the People Powered Fair Maps Campaign

On November 21, LWVMA Co-President Judith Zaunbrecher gave a presentation on the League of Women Voters People Powered Fair Maps redistricting program.

Watch Judy’s full presentation below:

Patricia Comfort Joins LWVMA as Executive Director

Our new Executive Director, Patricia Comfort, has joined us this week.  Pattye has spent her career working in the public interest, most recently serving as Executive Director of the Women’s Bar Association and Women’s Bar Foundation of Massachusetts.  She joins LWVMA with extensive experience managing a nonprofit, collaborating with members and Board, and in education and advocacy.

Along with interest in a broad range of membership and advocacy issues, Pattye brings insight and expertise in women’s issues.  She has worked throughout her career to empower underserved constituencies.  In addition to her most recent position with the Women’s Bar, she has worked with the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation and with The Fund for the Public Interest.  Pattye holds a B.A. in political science from Boston College and a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.

Members of the LWVMA Board look forward to introducing Pattye to our members, our local Leagues, and to our many partners in the community over the next few months. See our press release here.

Successful 2019 League Leader Lunch

Over 70 registrants, representing 33 local Leagues, attended the 2019 League Leader Lunch at the First Baptist Church in Worcester on Saturday, Oct. 26th. Attendees heard about the “state of the LWVMA” and the LWVUS People Powered Fair Maps campaign from co-presidents Mary Ann Ashton and Judy Zaunbrecher; panel discussions on civic engagement opportunities for local Leagues and local League interest action groups; a presentation and group discussion on the LWVMA’s new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policy; and a presentation about our 100th anniversary celebration and toolkit resources.

Presentations

November 6 Webinar Pipeline to the FUTURE Delivering Safe, Renewable Geothermal Energy to Massachusetts

Over 80 attendees tuned into the Pipeline to the Future webinar, hosted by the LWVMA Environmental Action and Advocacy Committee. The topic of the webinar was how Massachusetts can improve efforts to repair gas leaks and how we might begin to transition the gas utilities toward becoming renewable energy utilities. The program began with remarks by Massachusetts Senator Cynthia Creem, the FUTURE ACT’s Senate sponsor, and was followed by a comprehensive presentation by Audrey Schulman and Zeyneb Magavi on the specifics of how gas utilities can start now to become renewable energy utilities and provide safer, cleaner energy to the customers they serve.

Questions for Senator Creem, call 617-694-1639 or email her.
Questions for Audrey Schulman and Zeyneb Magavi of HEETemail them.

Senator Creem was first elected to the Senate in 1998 and has been the Chair of several joint committees, including Criminal Justice, Revenue, and Judiciary, as well as chairing Senate Post-Audit and Oversight. As Senate Majority Leader, Senator Creem has filed numerous bills taking on high profile issues, including: criminal and juvenile justice reforms to promote successful re-entry and diversion policies; reducing gun violence; protection of privacy rights including a moratorium on government use of  facial recognition technology and protecting consumer data privacy; promoting food allergy policies to protect all restaurant customers; increasing voter participation by allowing election day registration; and, this session, the “Future Act” to expedite gas leaks repairs and expand renewable energy options for consumers and utilities.
Audrey Schulman is the co-founder and executive director of HEET. An experienced grassroots activist, Audrey has performed energy assessments on everything from homeless shelters to historic churches. She has also led HEET’s work on gas leaks by mapping the utility-reported gas leaks across Massachusetts. With Metropolitan Area Planning Council, she led the FixOurPipes.org study to find how to fix gas leaks faster and at less expense through increased municipal/utility coordination. She was also the instigator of the Large Volume Leak Study. Schulman is the author of five novels, which have been translated into 11 languages, and reviewed by the New Yorker and CNN.
Zeyneb Magavi, HEET director. Zeyneb is currently focused on transitioning the natural gas distribution system to a thermal energy distribution system, or HEET Grid, using the GeoMicroDistrict concept. The next step is to pilot in a neighborhood in MA, together with the state’s largest gas utilities. Zeyneb previously led HEET’s Large Volume Leak Study which established a method to rapidly cut emissions from leaking gas pipes in half. She has worked at BBN Technologies, Harvard University, and in multiple startups. She is committed to creating and driving forward just and wise solutions to the urgent challenge of climate change through multi-disciplinary problem solving, co-creation, and innovation.

 

Senate President Spilka Keynotes LWVMA Day on the Hill

Senate President Karen Spilka will be the keynote speaker at the League’s Day on the Hill lobby day Thursday, Oct. 17.

Day on the Hill, Time to Act, will focus on legislation in four priority areas:

  • Election Day Registration
  • The climate crisis
  • Education funding reform
  • Women’s reproductive rights

Day on the Hill is in Room 428 at the State House.  Registration and coffee begins at 9:30 a.m. and the program runs from 10 a.m. to noon.  Then League members will visit their own Senator and Representative.

Register for the lobby day here. The LWVMA office will notify legislators to expect visits from their League constituents who register before Oct. 11 after the morning’s program. League members can also make their own appointments with their legislators.

Action Plan on Climate Emergency UPDATED AUGUST 20, 2019

We are pleased to announce LWVMA is an official sponsor of the Boston Youth Climate Strike, set for Friday September 20th! The Strike is being organized and led by youth and youth leaders are asking for our help. Please register to participate in the Youth Climate Strike on September 20th, share information about the Climate Strike and the event registration link widely within your networks, and stay tuned for more specific details as they develop!

The Strike is a global effort powered by youth of all ages from around the world, with hundreds of students striking on Fridays since March to bring meaningful attention and political action on the climate emergency confronting us. These youth are asking for our help as adults. LWVMA is doing its part to support their effort as part of the larger plan of action described below.

At the June LWVMA Convention, League members unanimously supported a Climate Emergency Resolution. To begin acting on the resolution, the LWVMA Environmental Action and Advocacy Committee developed a plan of action, approved by the LWVMA Board on July 26, 2019.

The plan, available here, sets two immediate goals of developing a detailed mobilization plan, including proposed actions at both the state and local levels, and developing a communications plan.

To meet the goals, the committee is offering seven specific actions for state and local Leagues to work on, including supporting the Global Climate Strike on Sept. 20, asking local governments to adopt climate emergency language, including climate emergency questions at candidate forums, and developing ways to raise awareness of the climate emergency issue within our membership and throughout our communities.

As part of the climate emergency action plan, the committee drafted Sustainable Practices Guidelines, available here, for the League at both the state and local levels to consider in their planning and operations.  The guidelines encourage implementation of zero waste and low-waste practices at League events.

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.”

League of Women Voters of Massachusetts Announces New Leadership Team

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mary Ann Ashton, President
League of Women Voters of Massachusetts
857-452-1715

 

Mary Ann Ashton of Acton and Judy Zaunbrecher of Concord begin terms as co-presidents of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA) July 1.  Ashton and Zaunbrecher were elected, along with other LWVMA board officers and directors, at the biennial LWVMA Convention in Westford June 7 and 8.

The other Massachusetts League officers and their local Leagues are Kathy Leonardson, Marblehead, first vice president; Lee Bona, Worcester, second vice president; Cindy Ku, Sudbury, secretary; and Andrea Kozinetz, Newton, treasurer.

Elected as LWVMA directors are Kate Boland, Hingham; Nancy Brumback, Sudbury; Elizabeth Foster-Nolan, Weymouth; Hartell Johnson, Haverhill; Jennifer Muroff, Needham; Tanya Roy, Wellesley; and Amy Smith, Georgetown.

During Convention, League members from around the state learned about election technology from a panel of experts; were inspired by League of Women Voters national CEO Virginia Kase and keynote speaker environmentalist Bill McKibben; heard from a panel of recently-elected women legislators about life on Beacon Hill; and listened to Professor Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham of Harvard describe the role of black women in the suffrage movement.

The delegates approved a resolution identifying climate change as a “climate emergency,” and adopted positions on the state’s ballot question process and on immigration in Massachusetts.

The biennial Convention is the League’s opportunity to elect officers, approve a budget, and decide  action priorities.

The Massachusetts League will focus on legislation and action over the coming two years concentrating on improving elections, informing voters and promoting civics education,  strengthening government operations, climate change and the environment, and equality and justice.

The Massachusetts League and the national League celebrate their 100th anniversaries in 2020, along with the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.

LWVMA includes 47 local Leagues across the state. The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts is a non-partisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government and works to increase understanding of major public policy issues.

Additional information is available at www.lwvma.org.

Election Day Registration: The Next Voting Reform

LWVMA and our partners in the Election Modernization Coalition have targeted Election Day Registration (EDR) as the next reform in the state’s voting laws, following successful passage of Automatic Voter Registration in the last session of the legislature.

Election Day Registration is a proven, common sense reform already in place in 21 states.  It allows people who miss the 20-day deadline to register before elections to register and vote. And importantly, it allows registered voters who arrive at the polls to find there’s an error in their registration to fix that error and vote.

We have been busy on Beacon Hill to pass EDR. On May 15, the EMC hosted a briefing for legislators featuring Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin and Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap.  Maine has used EDR for over 40 years. On June 5, we hosted a Lobby Day. Most recently, on June 20, Legislative Director Nancy Brumback testified before the Joint Committee on Election Laws in support of EDR along with other members of the coalition.  

You can read the press release from the coalition on the committee hearing here.