Fifty members and friends crowded the League’s meeting room January 28, 2017 to launch the LWVDC’s 2017-2019 local issues program. Citing “the alarming first week of the Trump Presidency”, League President Linda Beebe suggested that the League focus on advocating for positions we hold today - especially protection of voters and the principles of democracy rather than adopting a new study area. With frequent diversions to concerns about the looming national issues, LWVDC works through the national League, members quickly filled six posters with goals and methods for local advocacy before breaking into six groups for action planning. Six committees laid plans for DC Statehood, Housing, Voters Services and Fundraising, Health, Elections Reform, Know the District of Columbia, and Communications respectively.
A synopsis of committee plans and contact information for getting involved follows.
Communications, New Media, and National Advocacy
Ten people joined this group on Saturday the 28th and most of them have subsequently met in two meetings. First Vice President and Communications Director Alex Dickson noted we were happy to see so many new members engaged as we need many resources, especially for the all-important social media.
In the bigger picture, the team is working on communications strategy and increasing communications engagement within our city. They are also building an education toolkit to help DC Citizens become engaged in government.
Our early focus is a communications strategy for February and March 2017, and a basic DC Citizens Guide to National Advocacy in a checklist format. As these are developed, we will continue to expand our efforts. Our national advocacy is currently focused on and limited to issues that LWVUS has recently (since Dec 1st) issued an action alert or a statement on.
Two members discussed opportunities to promote the League’s support for ranked choice voting at the January 28 LWVDC local program planning meeting. They talked about a goal of a speakers committee who presents information on ranked choice voting throughout the District. A draft list of possible audiences is available, and there are resources on the topic at Fair Vote and on the LWVDC website. The chair, Abigail Nichols, will look for other committee members; and she will participate in the DC Fair Votes Coalition as a means of furthering the League’s good government goals and to assess general interest in ranked choice voting.
Full Rights to DC Citizens
When this group convened on the 28th, they also numbered 10 individuals eager to build on the work accomplished in the last two years. The group focused on three things: Congressional meddling, working on a Constitutional Convention for our new state, developing a background paper on legal efforts to change DC’s status. They also briefly talked about following up on contacts we have around the country with other leagues, how to use our google group, and working with the national League to be able to do more outreach. An idea to develop Op Eds also emerged. The group sorted out who would be interested in doing what, and members shared some resources.
Chair Anne Anderson outlined procedures to be followed:
- She noted that we encourage everyone to talk about what we are doing with friends and relations, but we cannot make policy pronouncements on behalf of the League without LWVDC approval of our statements.
- As a committee, they will work on policy recommendations, like about the constitutional convention, for instance, to go forward to the Board for their review and approval. (The Board meets monthly and is in touch by email for urgent items.
- Committee members agreed that all Alerts for the google group will be sent to Anne as Chair of the committee for quick posting.
Several members joined 3rd Vice President and Health Committee Chair Goody Braun in discussing possible actions around the Affordable Care Act. They identified resources and decided to plan for a health care forum for Fall 2017. They will develop a program and reach out to key speakers.
Know the District of Columbia
Published in various editions since 1980, The League of Women Voters of DC’s handbook, Know the District of Columbia (KDC), provides information on the history, government, and community life of Washington, DC’s residents. A team of 11 members volunteered to create a new, fully revised edition complete with illustrations, photographs, charts and graphs, using local artists, youth photographers and Street Sense photographers. The team, led by editor Kathryn Ray, intends to apply for grants to produce a unified, attractive and professional publication that will be available in an Adult Basic Education version, as an e-book and in non-English language versions (starting with Spanish) as well as the edition designed to be used by community college students. They will also create online lesson plans for teachers.
At the meeting 14 members gathered to talk about plans for voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts. Recognizing that funds are needed to further this important work, the group also discussed potential fund raising efforts.
The League meets at the District Courthouse the second Tuesday of every month to register new citizens, and several other venues are planned. Linda Softli, 2nd Vice President and Director of Voter Services, has scheduled subsequent meetings.
Additional Committees of Interest:
Development / Fundraising
Help bring home the bacon! Work with a committee responsible for generating revenue for the organization through fundraisers, grants, develop relationships, and solicit support from interested community members and companies.
The Lobby Corps plays a key role in promoting League issues and communicating LWVUS positions to members of Congress. Following these Hill meetings, they report back on their conversations to LWVUS staff and state League presidents. The work of Lobby Corps members is invaluable and increases the influence that the League has on Capitol Hill. Established in 1971, Lobby Corps numbers between 20-25 members drawn from Leagues in the National Capital Area. Lobby Corps convenes once a month when Congress is in session for briefings on League legislative priorities. As part of these briefings, Lobby Corps members receive assignments to lobby select members of Congress. Lobby Corps is a unique opportunity for members in the DC metro area.
- Watch the calendar on our website www.lwvdc.org as we will be posting all scheduled committee meetings.
- Member updates by email and in upcoming editions of this newsletter will also share significant findings or decisions.
Interested in getting involved?
We can always use more help with our work. Are you interested in helping one of our committees? Let us know today!