Come hear local representatives discuss the 2019 General Assembly

Come out and hear from your local representatives, Senators Tommy Norment and Monty Mason along with Delegates Brenda Pogge and Mike Mullin, about the legislature that was passed in the recent General Assembly session.

Coffee and networking will start at 8:30 a.m. on April 26 followed by the forum and a Q & A session at 9 a.m.  The event is free and open to the public, so be sure to register today and we’ll see you at the Williamsburg Library!

  • Date: 4/26/2019 
  • Time: 8:30 AM 
  • Location: Williamsburg Regional Library, 515 Scotland St. Williamsburg, VA 23185

The April 2019 newsletter is here, & we’ve been busy!

Mary Schilling, President
Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.

While it’s easy to get discouraged these days, there have been some positive signs of responsible engagement in the challenging issues of the day. Our League consistently was well represented at the weekly Women’s Legislative Roundtables during General Assembly. Each week also included opportunities to meet with our Delegates and Senators to advocate on legislation on which the we have League positions.

Don Shilling (left) and Mary Schilling & Bobbi Falquet (right) welcome former ambassadors Nancy Ely- Raphel and Thomas Pickering to Great Decisions on March 4. Career Ambassador Pickering, our speaker, served more than four decades as U.S. ambassador to Russia, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria, Jordan and the United Nations, as well as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs—the third highest post in the State Department. His partner Ely-Raphael served as ambassador to Slovenia and legal affairs in the State Department.
Don Shilling (left) and Mary Schilling & Bobbi Falquet (right) welcome former ambassadors Nancy Ely- Raphel and Thomas Pickering to Great Decisions on March 4. Career Ambassador Pickering, our speaker, served more than four decades as U.S. ambassador. His partner Ely-Raphael served as ambassador to Slovenia.

The February/March Great Decisions lecture series was a huge success with outstanding speakers addressing eight of the thorniest and most critical issues in current foreign affairs. With approximately 270 in attendance each Tuesday morning, the signature program helps us reach out to the broader Williamsburg community.

William & Mary’s Students Demand Action group planned a full week of programs and events on gun violence prevention, culminating in a March to End Gun Violence at the Colonial Capitol Building on DoG Street on Saturday, March 23. The featured speaker at the rally was Rep. Elaine Luria, representing Virginia’s 2nd Congressional district. Our League Advocacy and Action program committee members have been hard at work examining Election Integrity issues and exploring initiatives in Civics Education in the public schools. As part of the Gun Violence Prevention initiative, Christine Payne has invited Lori Haas, Virginia Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence to speak on Monday, May 13 at 7 pm at Stryker Building. I urge you and interested friends to attend.

While these programs and events may seem modest, this is what democracy looks like.

We are excited about the upcoming LWVVA Biennial Convention in Norfolk, May 17- 19. Our thanks to Anne Smith, vice president for programs on the State Board and a member of our own Board, for her masterful job in developing a substantive convention program. The speakers’ and session topics are timely: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Election Security and Integrity; Redistricting; Defending Democracy; Women’s Issues-Sexual Harassment. While these programs and events may seem modest, this is what democracy looks like. Remember, “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” You can make a difference.

read the full newsletter

Welcome New Members!

We had a wonderful new members’ reception and enjoyed getting to know each other better. We hope each member can find an aspect of the League that helps them become more involved in local policy issues!

New 2019 Members

Join Us for LWV-VA Biennial Convention!

Anne Smith, LWV-WA and LWV-WA Board Member and Convention Chair

local league president and member of state league board

I am excited to tell you about the 39th LWV-VA Convention at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott on May 17-19. We think this will be both an informative and fun session! The location is close and easy to access so you can come for the full Convention or take advantage of the single-day registration.

The League of South Hampton Roads is the host League and has planned activities on Friday evening … a “Dine Around” to take advantage of Norfolk’s fine restaurants or a water ferry to those in Olde Towne Portsmouth. You can register early, beginning at 5:00 pm Friday, May 17, and join the fun. Saturday morning’s plenary session will be League business, primarily reports. Voting will take place during the Sunday morning plenary.

Diversity and Inclusion are major considerations for all levels of the League – National, State, and Local. Saturday’s lunch speaker on Diversity is Christy S. Coleman, a Williamsburg native with extraordinary accomplishments. Named by Time as “One of 31 People Changing the South,” she is the CEO of Richmond’s American Civil War Museum, which encompasses several historic sites. Previously, she was President/CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit and Director of Historic Programs for Colonial Williamsburg.

Let Mary Schilling know of your interest in attending soon.
Registration ends April 25.

We have some truly informative breakout sessions planned for Saturday afternoon. Speakers include Jim Spore, 30+ year Virginia Beach City Manager talking about Infrastructure, Innovation, Transportation issues. Others include Skip Stiles, Executive Director of Wetlands Watch on “What about This Weather?”; Walt Latham, York County Director of Elections/General Registrar and President of the Voter Registrars Association of Virginia; and W&M Law Professor Rebecca Green on Redistricting Reform. Before our Sunday a.m. plenary session, Ron Carlee will speak on “Defending Democracy on All Levels.” A professor at Old Dominium University, Dr. Carlee, past Arlington, VA County Manager and Charlotte, NC City Manager, is a global presenter for the International City Managers Association (ICMA).

Although Convention adjourns at noon Sunday, the South Hampton Roads League has scheduled a “bonus session” for the afternoon focused on THE ENVIRONMENT. It includes knowledgeable speakers on a topic relevant for us all, including combating rising sea levels. LWV-WA can send eleven voting delegates, but absolutely every member is welcome to attend as observers and participate in every way except voting … it is an opportunity to learn, meet others from around the Commonwealth, and also … have fun! I hope many of you will choose to participate as observers.



Area Leaguers Attend Opening of TENACITY Exhibit at Jamestown Settlement

by Mary Ann Moxon, Publicity/Outreach member

Members of the Williamsburg Area LWV
visited “TENACITY: Women in Jamestown and
Early Virginia
” exhibit on opening day
November 10 at Jamestown Settlement.
Women’s roles in early Virginia were rarely
recorded. Historians have gathered facts about a
few of the women who are the subjects of this
yearlong exhibit. The special exhibition is a
legacy project of the 2019 Commemoration,
American Evolution, a national observance of
the 400th anniversary of key historical events
that occurred in Virginia in 1619 and continue to
influence America today.

This story-driven exhibition features
artifacts, images, interactives and primary
sources – some on display in America for the
first time – to examine the struggles women
faced in the New World and their contributions.
The first Englishwoman Anne Burras Laydon
arrived in 1608 at age 14 as a maidservant;
Cockacoeske, a Indian woman recognized by the
colonial government as the “Queen of the
Pamunkey” who ruled until her death in
1686; Angelo, the first documented African
woman in 1619. The exhibit shows the Virginia
Company of London’s effort to encourage the
growth of the Jamestown colony by recruiting
single English women. From women’s roles to
women’s rights, these tenacious women
profoundly influenced the early years of the
Virginia colony.

Below President Mary Schilling is pictured
with Coline Jenkins, great-great-granddaughter
of suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who came
for the opening of the exhibit. The exhibit
continues until January 5, 2020. Be sure to see it.

President Mary Schilling is pictured
with Coline Jenkins, great-great-granddaughter
of suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Yes, We Can! A Membership Challenge

by Les Solomon, Membership Co-chair

It’s interesting to converse with friends about the League of Women Voters. Some are still surprised to know that I – a man! – am Membership Co-chair and serve as VicePresident. Indeed, our 30 male members represent 16% of our membership. Friends are even more surprised that our League is the second largest in the state (only Fairfax is larger). We report our official membership count to LWVUS on January 31. Last year, we had 173 members by that date. With a current membership of 174, we are within reach of our target of 200 members this year.

Here are some ways we can reach that goal:

  • We communicate principally by email; unfortunately, it’s too easy to overlook renewal notices. Thus, within the last 10 days, those who have not yet renewed received a USPS letter as a reminder. If you received one, please return your membership form and payment ASAP.
  • Kudos, especially to our New Town group, for recruiting your neighbors as new members! If you know of a friend or neighbor who wants to Empower Voters and Defend Democracy, please invite them to join this week here.
  • I frequently wear a button that reads, LWV– Where Men are In. My guess is that there are more than 30 additional men in Williamsburg who support the great work that the League of Women Voters does. Why not invite them to join? After all, there really isn’t a brother organization called the League of Men Voters. The clock is ticking toward our January 31 reporting deadline, so help us reach our goal of 200 members!

Join Us in Richmond for February 6 League Day

by Phoebe Kent, Voter Co-editor

LWV-VA League Day at the General Assembly is Wednesday, February 6, 2019. We will attend the Women’s Legislative Round Table (WLRT) from 8:30-9:30 a.m. After WLRT, members will visit the offices of key Senators and Delegates to advocate for legislative action.

Williamsburg Leaguers will gather at the Capitol to be seated together in the Senate or House Galleries for the noon recognition ceremonies. It’s a thrill to be introduced and recognized by Lt. Governor Fairfax in the Senate or House Speaker Cox – and we hope to have a good-sized crowd present. Lunch and networking with other League members follows. An Italian buffet lunch will be served at the nearby Berkeley Hotel. Luncheon pre-registration is required by February 1. To register for the lunch, go here.

06feb8:30 am2:00 pmLeague Day

A new Voter is here! Read the President’s Column

Mary Schilling, President
Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.

See the entire Voter here.

Again this year we are excited to offer to the
greater Williamsburg community our signature
lecture series Great Decisions, sponsored
nationally by the Foreign Affairs Association
and locally by the League partnering with the
Williamsburg Regional Library. The program
series, which runs Tuesday mornings during
February and March, was completely subscribed
by December 13, and the wait list is healthy. This
year’s speakers promise to match the excellence
of those in the past. Thanks to the Great
Decisions team for their work in managing
registration and securing our speakers.

Our Williamsburg League has taken a highly
visible role in the LWV-VA Women’s
Legislative Roundtable (WLRT) during General
Assembly. We invite you to join our members
in Richmond on Wednesday mornings beginning
January 16 to hear from legislators and
representatives from non-profits and state
agencies addressing proposed legislation. The
presentations are followed by the opportunity to
meet with our own Delegates and Senators to
advocate for specific upcoming bills.
Carpooling to Richmond offers the added benefit
of getting better acquainted with fellow
members. If you can’t make it to the WLRT,
please consider advocating by postcards, emails,
and phone calls on critical bills. We’ll let you
know through Action Alerts.

Given the passage of the Medicare expansion
in the Commonwealth, you won’t want to miss
the upcoming forum on Medicaid: Bridging the
Costs of Health Care on Thursday, January 24,
7 pm at the Williamsburg Regional Library. A
panel of professionals will share their
perspectives on the challenges and the possible
effectiveness of Medicaid in addressing the
critical medical issues in our community.

While we continue to have concerns about
leadership and a broad range of issues at the
national level, we are excited about the infusion
of diversity among newly elected members of
the House of Representatives, and there are also
reasons for optimism in the Commonwealth. A
recent survey by the Wason Center on Public
Policy reports that 81% of Virginians support
the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment,
which is on the agenda of the upcoming General
Assembly. And support for Redistricting by an
independent commission is 78% and higher
across both Democratic and Republican districts.
It’s great that two of the major issues the League
currently supports have real bipartisan support
across the Commonwealth!

Take a deep breath and buckle up for the new
year. There’s important work ahead!

Medicaid: Bridging the high cost of health care in Hampton Roads

Our votes affect health care policies, but what information are we missing to make solid decisions? The Virginia General Assembly just last year accepted the expanded Medicaid coverage offered by the Affordable Care Act; what is happening in our area to prepare for implementation, and how will this affect recipients of Medicaid and health care providers in our area? Come learn from an experienced panel of health care practitioners.

01jan12:00 am12:00 am

This event is on January 24, 2019, 7pm at the Williamsburg Library Theater.

Panelists:

• Jennifer Mellor, Ph.D, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, William and Mary
• Fran Castellow, President of Operations, Patient Advocate Foundation
• Dr. William J. Mann, Executive Medical Director, Old Towne Medical & Dental Center
• Donna Briggs, Regional Sales Manager, Optima Health

Local League president, Mary Schilling, says, “Since the Virginia General Assembly voted to expand Medicaid in their last session, Virginians have a particular interest in this topic, plus health care’s continuing high cost was the top issue for many voters in the 2018 midterm elections. Our elected officials also make decisions on health care costs, particularly in regard to Medicaid. We hope that our panel experts who know the situation firsthand can help us be better informed voters.”

There is no cost to attend. The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan, political organization that never endorses candidates or political parties at any level of government. Its mission statement encourages “active participation in government.”

Action and Advocacy Interest Groups Are Underway

Linda Rice, Action and Advocacy Coordinator

You can join one (or more!) of these groups! 

Become an interest group member to become more engaged with our League mission: Empowering Voters, Defending Democracy.

 

At its October 3 meeting, the LWV-WA board adopted a policy presented by Action and Advocacy Coordinator Linda Rice to guide interest groups. The policy describes what advocacy efforts members may undertake in support of positions that the League has reached through research, dialogue and consensus. The policy, including guidelines for interest groups, can be accessed here.

Several local League interest groups have formed to focus on League priorities. Each group will meet regularly to conduct research in depth, track relevant legislation introduced in the General Assembly (GA), and advocate, either in support or opposition, with our legislators during the GA session. Interest groups may organize panel discussions on topics of general interest that the group identifies. Fall reception attendees had an opportunity to join individual groups; some committees are complete, others actively seek additional members.

Nine members have joined the Election Integrity Committee; no more are needed. I chaired the recent state study on Behavioral Health that resulted in an expanded state position; our knowledgeable committee will continue its advocacy work.

The Education interest group, Loretta Hannum, Susan Nelson, Laura Tripp, and Sudie Watkins, will select a chair at their first meeting; additional members are welcome.

Christine Payne is the point of contact for advocacy on Gun Safety legislation.

Jo Solomon is our League liaison to the LWV-VA Redistricting Committee. The state League has been an active partner with OneVirginia2021 since its inception in 2013.

The League supports passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, and your involvement in VAratifyERA.org would be welcome.

Contact Linda Rice with questions.