President’s Column – May 2018

by Mary Schilling, President, LWV-Williamsburg Area

Again this year, Great Decisions, our signature foreign affairs lecture series, was a huge success—with sold-out crowds plus standbys. Doug Wood managed speaker selection and logistics while Doris and Harvey Margulies orchestrated registration, check-in procedures and correspondence. Mary Anne Miller coordinated hospitality. A special thanks to the team and their many volunteers who provided support. Great Decisions has earned high visibility in the community, and already subscribers are looking forward to next year’s series.

During General Assembly the LWV-VA’s Women’s Legislative Roundtable brought into focus the incredible array of bills proposed in the House of Delegates and the Senate. Each Wednesday a Williamsburg League contingent trekked to Richmond to hear non-profit executives, Delegates, and elected officials discuss bills as they moved through the legislative process. In direct conversations with our local Delegates and Senators we were able to advocate for League positions on a variety of bills. Our League consistently had the largest number of members present, and on one occasion, seated in the House Gallery, we were recognized by the Speaker. Concurrently, a number of League members wrote emails, sent letters, and made phone calls advocating on individual bills. The advocacy efforts were tracked as part of a challenge launched by the LWV-VA.

The March for Our Lives galvanized and mobilized persons of all ages and from diverse communities on issues of sensible gun legislation. What was conceived as a march in our nation’s capital ultimately became hundreds of marches across the country and even abroad on Saturday, March 24. A large crowd gathered at Colonial Williamsburg’s Capitol for speeches, then marched down Duke of Gloucester Street. Many League members joined in the march to demand common-sense solutions to curb gun violence. Others joined the March for Our Lives in DC where nearly a million people gathered near the US Capitol for speeches, videos, and music performances. Similar to other historic marches, these events provided opportunities for the exercise of free speech focused on a critical issue of our day.

“Empowering Voters, Defending Democracy” is the new LWV slogan! As noted by LWVUS, “Voting is a critical cornerstone of our democracy. We must protect the right to vote with laws and policies that make sure all eligible voters are free to exercise that right.” It is imperative that we work to expand voter access, work to register all eligible Americans to vote, and guard against any covert or overt attempts to suppress the right to vote. Further, we need to be vigilant and ready to stand up and speak out when our democratic institutions, norms, and rights are threatened. These are serious times.

Please join us for our Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 7, 4:30-6:30 pm, in New Town’s Legacy Hall. The event includes a reception, brief business meeting, and remarks by the Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth Kelly Thomasson. Passionate about openness and inclusion in state government, Secretary Thomasson assists the Governor in recruiting and appointing Virginians for boards, commissions and councils. Her portfolio includes management of clemency petitions, restoration of civil rights, extraditions, authentication of documents and commissioning of Notary Publics. She is the Governor’s liaison to Virginia’s Indian Tribes as well as the Council on Women and was appointed by former Governor McAuliffe to the Virginia Information Technology Advisory Council. We look forward to seeing you at the meeting!

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Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.

Certified Candidates and Ballot Order for 2018 June Primary (June 12)

Virginia Department of Elections has released the official count of candidates and ballot order for the June 12 primary. The 1st and 2nd Districts for the National House of Representatives are affected – this includes City of Willamsburg, James City County, and York County.

See the full list here.

Certified Candidates and Ballot Order for June 12, 2018 Primary Elections

Democratic Party

House of Representatives

District 1 Candidate Names    

Vangie A. Williams

John B. Suddarth

Edwin Santana Jr.

District 2 Candidate Names    

Elaine G. Luria

Karen Powers Mallard


Republican Party

House of Representatives

District 1 Candidate Name    

Robert J. “Rob” Wittman (unopposed)

District 2 Candidate Names    

Scott W. Taylor

Mary K. Jones


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President’s Column (Mary Schilling, LWV-WA President)

Having spent most of my life as a student or an administrator in higher education, I still think of my personal calendar in terms of fall and spring semesters. So at the moment, I’m feeling a bit like Janus, simultaneously looking back at fall semester and toward the spring semester.

During the fall, we were clearly focused on the November election with efforts toward voter registration, voter education and getting out the vote, culminating with working at the polls on Election Day. Most notable was the election outcome, making national news, which succeeded in bringing not only significant diversity but also near party parity in the House of Delegates in the Commonwealth. In collaboration with the Virginia Civic Engagement Table we hosted a training session in November on Activism for Busy People for our members and representatives of other community organizations who are committed to responsible activism and strategic advocacy. Sharing stories with legislators about how specific policies affect the lives of real people proves to be a highly effective advocacy strategy. Featuring the work of a William & Mary class of both law school and undergraduate students, an impressive program on Legislative Re-districting and Geographic Information Systems provided a great example of the application of technical research to the real-life political issue of re-districting. At the LWV-VA Legislative Pre-Session in Richmond, our robust Williamsburg contingent of 13 heard a number of non-profit agencies discuss their issues priorities related to proposed bills in the upcoming session of the General Assembly.

Turning toward the spring semester, we are thrilled to offer our signature Great Decisions program, featuring eight Tuesday morning lectures on topical areas selected by the Foreign Affairs Association. Our thanks to Doug Wood and Doris Margulies for planning and promoting this popular series. The Women’s Legislative Roundtable on Wednesday mornings during General Assembly offers members an outstanding opportunity to exercise advocacy on issues based on League positions. I hope you consider joining us for one or more Wednesday programs. Watch for details on an important program in collaboration with W&M’s School of Education, the Village and the WJCC PTA Council. The program features a documentary film, “Backpack Full of Cash,” exploring the impact of privatization and the need to support funding for public education.

In one final look back, Don and I were delighted to host the League’s Holiday Party. Such a great turnout and a wonderful blend of long-time and new members! Thanks to Mary Anne Miller, Kathy Suslik, and all who brought food and wine to share. Study Updates From the LWVVA Program Director Anne Bradstreet Smith, VP. Williamsburg, LWV-VA Program Director All three League studies are progressing beautifully. The School Choice led by Carol Noggle (Prince William) and the Behavioral Health study led by Linda Rice (Williamsburg) have broad representation and great depth of expertise. Both teams have great enthusiasm for the subject and have developed substantive materials.

Mary Schilling President, LWV-WA