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.

To Vote or Not to Vote

Mary Ann Moxon, Public Relations/Outreach

Why do Americans choose to vote—or choose not to exercise that most basic right? And how do we as League members help to reduce the divide between voters and nonvoters?

Mediocre voter turnout has become the trend in America despite warnings that “democracy is not a spectator sport.” Voter turnout in the U.S. is among the lowest in the world, having declined sharply since 1900. Many people consciously choose to stay on the sidelines of democracy; others find formidable obstacles to exercising their right to vote.

Reasons are many: people say they are too busy, don’t like their choices or don’t know enough to vote. Many are focused on getting to work or paying their rent. In many states voter ID restrictions keep people from voting. Too many do not realize that midterm elections also carry enormous political stakes. For example, governors and state legislators elected this fall will determine redistricting decisions following the 2020 census.

Young first-time voters may show up at the polls on November 6. But many youth are suspicious of politicians and political parties – as are many other citizens. 1914 was the last time that more than half of eligible voters turned out for a midterm election. Only 33 percent of eligible voters voted in the 2014 midterms; among18-29-year-olds about 20 percent cast a ballot. Polls focused on “likely voters” predict that just 37 percent of young voters will vote in the upcoming midterms.

There is a “renaissance of political engagement” among some Americans experiencing a new civic spirit—calling their elected officials more often, marching in opposition to or in support of causes, donating money, running for office and joining organizations such as the League of Women Voters. Partisan and racial gerrymandering has energized many voters in Virginia and other states where voters are demanding that they pick their legislators, rather than legislators picking their voters through gerrymandered district lines.

The League of Women Voters, NAACP, numerous churches, campus groups like Vote21 and political parties have worked to register voters for the fall elections. On National Voter Registration Day, September 25, a record 800,000 new voters registered. But far surpassing that is the number of voters who have been purged from voting rolls in many states or barriers imposed to reduce participation at the polls.

So what can League members do to further our mission to Empower Voters and Defend Democracy? Encourage friends and family to be informed voters by seeking opportunities to hear directly from candidates. Promote the League’s online resource, Vote411.org, where voters can compare candidates’ responses to questions. Offer to assist in getting voters to the polls. Work to reduce onerous ID requirements. Long-term, support making Election Day a national holiday. And to those cynics, who believe that their one vote does not matter, remind them that a tie election in 2017 saw the Virginia House of Delegates majority determined by the drawing of a name.

Virginia Senate Candidates: Survey Answers

Every election, the League of Women Voters sends identical questions to candidates for office. See the responses of the Senate candidates for Virginia here. Go to vote411.org for more.

The following formatting is excerpted from The League of Women Voters of Fairfax Voters’ Guide. VOTE411.org’s content is duplicated in this publication.

U.S. Senate for Virginia

The U.S. Senate term is six years. Each state is represented by two Senators who have staggered terms. There is no limit to the number of terms they may serve. Senators serve their constituents as they offer legislation, serve on committees, debate new bills and amendments to previous legislation. They also serve to advise and consent on matters such as ratification of treaties and confirmation of high-level positions, including U.S. Supreme Court Justices. Senators must be at least 30 years old, have been a U.S. citizen for the last nine years or longer, and inhabit the state they seek to represent. A Senator’s salary is $174,000. See the Virginia Department of Elections website for all the races and candidates: vote.virginia.gov

Biographical Info of the Candidates for US Senate:

Tim M. Kaine
Party: Democratic
Website: http://timkaine.com/
Education: University of Missouri – B.A. in Economics; Harvard Law School
Experience: Civil Rights Lawyer; Richmond City Council; Mayor of
Richmond; Virginia Lieutenant Governor; Virginia Governor; Democratic
National Committee Chairman; and US Senator of Virginia on the Senate Armed
Services; Foreign Relations; Budget; and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
Committees.
Facebook: facebook.com/SenatorKaine/
Twitter: @timkaine

Corey Stewart
Party: Republican
Website: www.coreystewart.com
Education: Juris Doctorate, William Mitchell College of Law; B.S., Foreign
Service, Georgetown University
Experience: Corey Stewart is the at-large elected Chairman of the Prince
William Board of County Supervisors. Previously, he served as the Virginia
Chairman for the Donald J. Trump for President campaign. He is an International Trade Attorney in private practice.
Facebook: facebook.com/CoreyStewartVA
Twitter: @CoreyStewartVA

Matt J. Waters
Party: Libertarian
Website: www.mattwaters.com
Education: BA George Mason University MS Reformed Theological
Seminary (2019)
Experience: Business owner/entrepreneur, 10 years Vice President
National Non-Profit Organization Senior Officer, Advertising Agency
Facebook: facebook.com/WatersForUSSenate/
Twitter: @VASenate2018

Questions & Answers
I. What policies and resources do you propose to ensure election integrity and security in the United States?

Tim M. Kaine: The recent Omnibus bill that passed earlier this year included an additional $307 million for the 
FBI’s work to secure the 2018 U.S. midterm elections and fight against future Russian cyberattacks. The bill also provided $380 million for the Election Assistance Commission to increase cybersecurity for state voting systems and protect elections against foreign interference. We need to ensure that we are doing everything we can to protect our elections systems from cyberattacks. In addition, we need to ensure we are protecting all critical sensitive information from being hacked, such as: health, education, and banking infrastructure. States hold the majority of sensitive information. Virginia has been at the forefront of ensuring that we are taking all steps necessary to protect our infrastructure from any potential attack. I also strongly support states and localities taking the necessary steps to back up their elections with paper ballots.

Corey Stewart: I fully support voter ID laws, which serve to prevent various kinds of election fraud: impersonation fraud; registration under fictitious names; voting in more than one state; and non-citizen voting.
States that have enacted this commonsense reform found no depressing effect on voter turnout.

Matt J. Waters: The Constitution is clear on the issue: 15th & 19th Amendments secure the right of citizens to vote. Congress has the power to enforce this via legislation.

II. What policies, e.g. tariffs, taxes, tax cuts, do you propose to promote economic security for all Americans?

Tim M. Kaine: We must invest in Virginians, value diversity, and grow the talented workforce that makes our economy thrive. I introduced bills to support families, by increasing tax credits to lift families out of poverty, and increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 over a 7-year period. We lost an opportunity to pass a tax reform
bill that would put middle-class families and small businesses first. Instead, Republicans jammed through a bill that will raise taxes on millions of Americans. We must give more of the benefits to the middle class instead of big corporations. I introduced an amendment to this bill to provide long-term middle class tax relief and reduce the amount the bill adds to the deficit. Republicans blocked my amendment. I also have strong concerns with the President imposing tariffs on our major allies, resulting in steep tariffs being imposed on Virginia products. I have urged the President to reverse course and make it clear to our allies that we are honest brokers.

Corey Stewart: President Trump’s tax cuts have already done much to promote economic security for all Americans – with black, Hispanic, Asian and youth unemployment now at all-time lows. I would vote to make these tax cuts permanent. I additionally support President Trump’s efforts to renegotiate unfair trade agreements with other nations, in the best interests of American workers.

Matt J. Waters: One-hundred percent of US taxpayers’ income from January 1 to April 18 goes to local, state and federal government. The government takes 33% of our property on an annual basis–more than most Americans spend on food, clothing and shelter combined. The Libertarian Party believes taxation is theft; that the government’s role is to do three things and three things only: protect our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (or property). Personal federal income taxes were not allowed in the US until 1913 and the passage of the 16th Amendment. As Senator, I propose repealing the 16th Amendment, abolishing the IRS, and giving every American taxpayer a $12,000 pay raise. This ultimate measure will lead to major reforms in the
contract between government and the people.

III. What is your position on using a citizenship question on the 2020 Census survey?

Tim M. Kaine: I am opposed to asking individuals whether or not they are citizens on the 2020 Census survey because it will result in fewer people being counted or participating in the process. The rhetoric coming from this administration is sending fear into communities of color and this could lead to a distortion of who is residing in the U.S. Data collected by the Census is essential in bringing federal dollars and determining the political representation of our communities. The federal funds are distributed to state and local government to support schools, health care, housing, and other vital public benefits. There are about 300 federal programs that use Census data to determine how and where the money is spent. The Census occurs once every ten years and it is critical that we get a complete and accurate count. For these reasons, I oppose including a citizenship question on the 2020 Census survey.

Corey Stewart: I support reinstating the citizenship question on the 2020 Census survey. Electoral seats should be determined according to the population of actual citizens, not total population size.

Matt J. Waters: This is entirely in the purview of the Congress according to Section 1 Article 8 of the Constitution.

IV. What are your proposals for an immigration policy?

Tim M. Kaine: In 2013, the first major bill that I voted on was an immigration reform bill that was bipartisan and included a pathway to citizenship for many individuals living in the U.S. I supported the Senate’s 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill that would reform our visa system, protect Dreamers and TPS recipients, and protect our borders. This country is a nation of immigrants who have played an integral role in our society, have brought the skills and talents to make the U.S. globally competitive. Our immigration system has unfairly kept millions of people who contribute to the United States living in the shadows of our society. I have been a strong and loud critic of this administration’s treatment of Dreamers, proposals to limit legal
immigration, travel bans, and all attempts to separate families. Earlier this year, I worked with my colleagues in the Senate to find a solution to protect Dreamers, create a pathway to citizenship, while protecting our borders.

Corey Stewart: Immigration should be managed in a way that benefits our nation. I would end the Visa lottery in favor of a merit-based system. We should have zero tolerance for illegal alien crime. I favor the prosecution of state and local officials who brazenly flout our nation’s immigration laws by declaring “sanctuaries” for illegal aliens. Finally, I would vote to fund construction and maintenance of a true wall, to stem the flow of migrants and contraband across our southern border.

Matt J. Waters: I support reforming the current Immigration system/laws and review the three major agencies responsible for Immigration: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”); U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”); and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“CIS”). I support DACA. I do not support the
Wall for financial and results oriented reasons (It won’t solve the problem). I believe we need to change the laws on chain migration. 70% of all immigration to US are relatives coming to live here. I would advocate moving to a merit based system based on skills and America’s labor needs. I support E-verify, and tighter border security. I also support renewable work permits for non-US citizens working in the US, as this will raise salaries of non-US citizens such that they would not undercut current worker salaries.

V. What do you propose to ensure high quality, affordable and accessible health care?

Tim M. Kaine: I believe that access to health care is a right for all Virginians and I strongly support the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid Expansion in Virginia. I have fought against “repeal and replace” of the ACA, and threats to Medicaid, Medicare, and CHIP (Virginia’s “FAMIS” program). The ACA prevents individuals from being denied health insurance if they have a pre-existing condition, and provides access to preventive care that will
help reduce the cost and incidence of chronic diseases. Since passage of the ACA, more than 300,000 Virginians have gained access to quality affordable health care through its federally-run exchange. I have supported legislation to continue to expand health care coverage and make important fixes to the ACA. I also introduced the Medicare-X Choice Act which would create an affordable public option, so Americans could choose whether to purchase one of the existing private plans on the exchange or a Medicare-X public plan.

Corey Stewart: Obamacare has failed to deliver on its promises, as too many individuals and families have learned the hard way. I strongly favor health savings accounts, as well as the restoration of short-term and low cost
“no-frills” plans. We should allow insurance plans to be sold across state lines (more competition is healthy). Ultimately, we need a free market, consumer-driven health care system that puts the needs of patients first.

Matt J. Waters: 1. Since Obamacare was passed in 2014, the cost of insurance for self-employed has skyrocketed. I would join with the dozen governors who have sued the Labor Dept to allow small businesses and the self-employed to form association health plans (AHPs). 2. Promote Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) that put consumers in the drivers seat for current and future healthcare costs. HSAs eliminate the gatekeeper that tells the consumer what is allowed or not under their plan. These plans have shown to reduce overall health costs. Generally, I would advocate for the government to get out of the healthcare business. The government track record on health care is easily seen in the VA Hospital and impending bankruptcy of Medicare and
Medicaid. I favor allow companies to compete for consumer business not unlike other businesses, and for customers to choose between multiple health care offerings, or none at all.

VI. What policies do you propose to reduce gun violence?

Tim M. Kaine: I was Governor of Virginia during the shooting that took place at Virginia Tech, killing 32 individuals, and injuring 17. I issued an executive order and signed a law requiring courts to report all involuntary mental health commitments to the database used to check the criminal records of gun buyers. I also signed other mental health reforms and vetoed bills that would have increased the presence of firearms in the public sphere. As a U.S. Senator, I support requiring a completed background check for every gun buyer who purchases a gun from a federally-licensed gun dealer. I am a cosponsor of legislation to close the gun show and private sale loopholes, require private sales go through a federal firearms licensee, and penalize states that fail to make data available to the national background check system. I am also a co-sponsor of the Assault Weapons Ban, which bans the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons
and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Corey Stewart: Firearms themselves are not the problem, as John Lott has thoroughly documented in his book, More Guns, Less Crime. We can – and we must – do more to reduce gun violence, without trampling on the 2nd
Amendment rights of lawful Americans. I strongly favor attacking the root causes of violence, through education, smarter policing, and improved mental health care. In addition, we should hire armed security
personnel – perhaps retired police officers – to protect our nation’s schools.

Matt J. Waters: For voters concerned about gun violence, I too share this concern. Of the 38,000 gun related deaths in 2016, 25,000+ are suicides by mostly white men, age 25-65. Black on black violence contributes to an
additional 8,000 gun related deaths annually. Combined, these statistics represent over 87% of the gun related deaths in America. If we desire to reduce gun violence in America, we must address medical depression and we
review the War on Drugs policy (DEA) that may be a leading cause of violence in urban areas. As Senator, I will call for an end to the War on Drugs, and the elimination of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). This will help
drive down black on black violence, and ultimately save lives. Regarding depression and other causes of suicide, this is an area that is best left to families, specialized non-profit organizations and the medical profession to
treat.

VII. What are your legislative priorities?

Tim M. Kaine: My campaign is focused on access to good paying jobs, education, health care, and true equality for all. Virginia has a strong military presence and as the father of a marine, my priorities in the Senate are to
ensure that the U.S. stays out of unnecessary wars and if we engage that we are successful. I along with Senator Corker are leading an effort to replace the 2001 and 2002 authorization for use of military force with an updated AUMF against al-Qaida, the Taliban and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. I have fought against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and believe that we need to continue to improve access to affordable quality health care. I introduced legislation, Medicare-X, a public plan that would provide another option for low-cost health insurance choices and create more competition in the marketplace. Finally, career and technical education (CTE) has always been a passion of mine and I believe CTE can strengthen the links between the
classroom and the workplace.

Corey Stewart: In the United States Senate, I will fight tirelessly to:
• Lower taxes, grow the economy, and bring back jobs
• Build the wall, end sanctuary cities, and crack down on criminal illegal aliens
• Defend 2nd Amendment rights, while attacking the root causes of violent crime
• Fully repeal and replace Obamacare
•Rebuild our military and support our veterans

Matt J. Waters: We must stop out of control government spending. The $22 trillion debt is the single greatest threat facing this country. We are adding $1 million a minute to the debt. To eliminate it, we must enact 1.Reform Entitlements, 2. Cut Government Spending (military/domestic and foreign programs/agencies) and 3.Eliminate the personal federal income tax (this will force cuts in spending, and return property to the American
taxpayer).

Disclaimer: The contact information provided in “Voters’ Guide” was furnished by the campaigns to the League of Women Voters of
the Fairfax Area (LWVFA), obtained from the Fairfax County Office of Elections, or official websites. The LWVFA is not responsible for any
changes or inaccuracies in the listings; the information was current as of October 21, 2018. This is not an official publication for any
campaign or candidate, but information only. The LWVFA can be reached at 703-658-9150, on the web at www.LWV-Fairfax.org, on our
Facebook page, www.facebook.com/lwvfairfax, twitter.com/LWVfairfax, or at LWVUS www.vote411.org.

New Local Action and Advocacy Policy

The Williamsburg League is developing a new Action and Advocacy Policy, drafted primarily by board member Linda Rice. Scroll down to read it or click here to open in a separate tab.

 

 

LWV-WA Action and Advocacy Policy

October 2018

 

 

 

Definition:    Action includes both advocacy and lobbying.  Lobbying is an attempt to influence specific legislation, either proposed or already introduced. LWV-VA has an official lobbyist who is given authority to speak on behalf of the state league.

However, members of local Leagues can advocate for an issue(s).   Advocacy consists of activities that educate legislators on particular issues which affect their members and helping them find solutions to persistent problems. When League members visit legislators, they need to indicate that they are expressing their views as individuals and not officially representing the League.

 

Examples: 

Advocacy

  • Telling your member of Congress how a federal grant your organization received has helped your constituents.
  • Educating a member of General Assembly about the effects of a policy on your constituency.

Lobbying

  • Asking your member of Congress or the General Assembly to vote for or against, or amend, introduced legislation.
  • Emailing a “call to action” to your members urging them to contact their member of Congress in support of action on introduced legislation or pending regulations.

Preparing materials or organizing events in support of lobbying activities

 

Why Does Advocacy Matter?

When done effectively, advocacy influences public policy by providing a conduit for individuals and organizations to voice an opinion.

These efforts can, in turn, sway public opinion, garner press coverage, and ultimately provide policymakers an opportunity to respond to constituents’ needs.

 

Roles and Responsibilities – LWV-WA Action and Advocacy Coordinator (AAC) and Coordinator Chairs (CC)

 

  1. Action/Advocacy
    1. Identifies needs for action/advocacy by monitoring newspapers, websites, e-newsletters, observer reports, etc. (AAC and CC)
    2. Prepares and presents action/advocacy proposals for board approval (AAC)
    3. Coordinates action/advocacy campaigns (AAC)
    4. Prepares and issues “Calls to Action/Advocacy” for members via appropriate channels including: (AAC and CC)
      1. Email and/or constant contact
      2. Facebook
    5. Encourages members to take action/advocate as individuals (AAC and CC)
    6. Prepares statements, letters, news articles, panel discussion etc. and works with PR chair or appropriate board members on distribution (CC)
    7. Attends LWV-VA meetings in Richmond, as able, and encourages LWVWA members to attend: (AAC and CC)
      1. Pre-session Roundtable meeting, usually the first Wednesday in December.
      2. Women’s Legislative Roundtable meetings, usually every Wednesday during the legislative session.
  • League Lobby Day, usually the first Wednesday in February
  1. Scheduling meetings with legislators
  1. Coordinates LWVWA testimony to the JCC County General Assembly Delegation (AAC)
  1. Suggests items to be included in president’s testimony and prepares or assists with writing the testimony.

 

  1. State-wide Action/Advocacy  – Identifies needs for action/advocacy in the following ways:
    1. Reviews LWV-VA website on a periodic basis (more often during the General Assembly session) for items that LWVWA should take action on or members should be informed about. (AAC and CC)
    2. Monitors Legislative Information System (LIS) and Richmond Sunlight and other appropriate media outlets. (AAC and CC)
    3. Tracks legislation on the Virginia General Assembly website to determine action opportunities. (AAC and CC)

 

  1. Public Outreach – Coordinators and committee members should:
    1. Convene panel discussions open to members and the general public about issues such as but not limited to election integrity, education, gun reform and redistricting.
    2. Identify speakers with expertise in the above issues or other issues.
    3. Use video resources to enhance public understanding of the above issues or other issues.

 

 

 

 

W&M President Rowe praises civic engagement

William and Mary president Katherine Rowe was the featured speaker of our fall membership meeting. Read the Virginia Gazette Coverage here!

by Amelia Heymann
aheymann@vagazette.com

 

Katherine Rowe, president of the College of William and Mary, said the school was celebrating 100 years of women at the college. Rowe said while changes were happening at the college, Virginia, its home, rejected the ratification of the suffrage amendment in 1920. The Commonwealth did not symbolically ratify suffrage until 1952.

“In alignment with these centennials, we find the opportunity to reflect on that generation who brought the franchise for women, particularly the women of that generation,” Rowe said. “I want to say that in our current generation of students now, I see a generation that is prime to make a similarly great impact on the world.”

Rowe discussed student civic engagement and was named the first honorary member of the Williamsburg Area League of Women Voters at its fall membership meeting Wednesday night.

One of the reasons Rowe said she felt the current generation of undergraduate students were poised to make an impact on the world was because they were more engaged with their communities than past generations.

“The world is here all the time and (students) are in it,” Rowe said. “There is no more bubble of college anymore…for better or for worse.”

She added while students are more aware of the immense challenges they have inherited, they are also are still optimistic about searching for solutions. Rowe said she is especially inspired by undergraduates’ sense of responsibility to build better communities.

“This generation of undergraduates are going to be the critical partners in sustaining our democracy,” Rowe said. “So we need to be listening and learning from them as they too need to be listening and learning from us.”

A member of the audience asked Rowe how the League of Women Voters could attract a younger and more diverse membership population. Rowe said she suggested simply asking younger voters what they thought.

“As a teacher, I would partner with students in the class because they knew things about what their learning process was like that I didn’t know, and if I engaged them as partners I would always come to better solutions,” Rowe said. “So my answer to you is ask, and you will get fantastically exciting ideas.”

Another member of the audience asked Rowe about the college’s Neighborhood Relations Committee. She said most people in the surrounding neighborhoods used the committee to complain about issues with college students. The woman asked Rowe if the committee could be used to create more positive interactions between the community and students, rather than just being used as a sounding board for complaints.

Rowe said she enjoyed the idea another person had brought up that evening, which was inviting college students over for dinner to get to know them.

“You have chosen to live right next to a college campus. It has its challenges, it has extraordinary benefits, so I would think about how we can embrace the vitality of that 18-22-year-old moment,” Rowe said. “And it starts with a nice dinner at midterms.”

At the end of the night, Mary Schilling, president of the Williamsburg Area League of Women Voters, named Rowe the first honorary member of the Williamsburg League.

Rowe reflected on her first memory of voting from when she was 6 or 7 years old. Rowe’s said she was allowed by to follow her mother into a voting booth by their local League of Women Voters. There Rowe looked up curiously as her mother cast a ballot.

“It was thrilling to be able to watch an adult vote,” Rowe said.

Later in life, Rowe said she volunteered for the Judge of Elections in Philadelphia.

“It was inspiring to be part of a democratic process,” Rowe said. “I owe a lot to the League of Women Voters, and to everyone who has helped to foster a commitment to (civic) participation.”