The Voter
League of Women Voters of the Midland Area
IN THIS ISSUE
CALENDAR
Board Meetings are held 9:45-11:45 the first Thursday of each month in Conference Room A of the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library. All members are invited to attend.

Jan 20, 11:45am
MI Government Finance
Trailside Senior Services
Registration Required

Feb 2, 9:45am
Board of Directors
Library Conf Rm A

Feb 8, 1:30pm
Program Planning
Library conference room A

Feb 21, 10am-2pm
Consensus Mtg on Government Finance Study
Strosacker Bldg.

Mar 2, 9:45am
Board of Directors
Library Conf Rm A

NEW MEMBERS
We welcome Cathy and Chris Mitzel, who joined us last month! We look forward to getting to know them and their areas of interest.
Educational booklet for new voters
Your Elected Officials
  Like us on Facebook
See Photo Albums on our Facebook page.
DUES!
LAST CALL!
Our final membership roster is due to LWVUS by the end of January, so if you haven't paid your dues, now is the time! Many thanks to those of you who are all paid up, with special appreciation for the additional donations that support the work of our League.
Board of Directors
President

VP Membership

VP Program

Secretary

Treasurer
Directors
Judy Donahue - Program
Terry Townley - Education
Cathy Heng - Print Media
Katherine Redwine - New Media
Carole Swinehart - Voter Service
Kim Steinke - Voter Service
Fran Hamburg - Director at Large

CONNECTIONS

  
  
  
  
  
  
JANUARY 2017
President's Letter - ADVOCACY

Results of the national elections are triggering questions about how we respond with any concerns we have regarding current and possibly future actions by our political leaders.

First, remember that as individuals, all League members except the President and Voter Service Chair are encouraged to share their opinions on political issues, whether it's by a call to your representative, a letter to the editor, or a political march. (Rants at family dinners may be ill-advised.) It's our responses in the name of the League that I want to discuss here.  We know that the League does not support or oppose candidates, elected officials or political parties. It's the policies of the officials and parties that the League advocates for or against ("takes action"). 

See the LWVUS website section that addresses advocacy. Quoting here:

"There are only two fundamental rules (for advocacy). One, act on the basis of a League position. Two, consult with the appropriate level League board. Each level of League - local, state and national - has its own positions and advocacy must advance those positions. And each level of League is responsible for overseeing action at its level. So if you want to take action at the national level, it must be consistent with an action alert or other communication from the national board, or that board must be consulted.... For state-level action, the state board is responsible. And for local action, the local League board makes the call."

I don't know if this helps to clarify the issue or further muddies it. In general, advocacy at our local level would always be discussed as a Board, as advocating in the name of the League is done by the president or designee(s). As a League member, if you have questions about issues that you feel warrant taking action as a League, do not hesitate to contact me or any other Board member.

The League does its work in three ways - Voter Service, Information sharing, and Advocacy. The latter is very important, and we want to be sure we use it when appropriate.

Sue McCollister
President
Women's Marches on January 21

A Women's March on Washington has been organized for Saturday, January 21. You can find information on the Women's March website (https://www.womensmarch.com/). The League does not discourage private citizens from participating 
Women_s March on Washington poster , but LWVUS has communicated that it is not officially participating in the event because of concerns about timing of the march the day after inauguration, which will be viewed by many as a protest against the incoming Trump administration.  Other issues, including lack of details regarding security and organizers, are concerns as well. We have been informed that locally a bus will be available, leaving Friday, January 20, at 10:00 p.m. from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 6220 Jefferson Ave., and returning Sunday (leaving Washington DC late Saturday). For more information contact Jody Liebmann at jlliebmann2@gmail.com or 989-708-8119, or call Midland LWV member Jean Sarantos at 839-9080.

On the same day, another group of women has organized a march from 1-3 pm at the Capitol in Lansing. For more information go to the March on Lansing web site (https://www.marchonlansing.org/)   .  Again, the League is not a sponsor of this event, but League members are welcome to participate as individuals. 
Funding Education
Funding Education
 
The use of public funds for the voucher system and private schools is likely to be a  part of the upcoming political discussion. As a reminder to League members, the Michigan LWV has a position on Education and specifically on the use of public funds and education. 
 
 
"II. Financing A. State, federal and local governments should share the responsibility for fully financing education in both basic foundation and categorical programs. B. State income tax, state and local property taxes and state sales tax should all be used as sources of revenue. Public funds should not be used for nonpublic educationexcept for shared time in the public schools, auxiliary services and transportation."
 
What are the reasons?
  • Public funds need oversight in a public institution with budgets and expenditures open to the public.
  • The choice of curriculum, materials, and instruction is open to public scrutiny.
  • Public education provides opportunities for all youth and children.
Please remember, League members speak as individuals, and not for the League.  When League members contact legislators they should not mention that they are League members in their communication. 
May this background help as you communicate as an individual. 

Terry Townley - Education Chair for the Midland Area LWV

Our sincere condolences to the family of Giff Jones, a longtime member of our League who passed away recently. His daughter Jackie Leigh is a member of our League while residing in Africa. Giff's wife and Jackie's mother Marian was a charter member of the League and a prominent leader of our work until her passing in 2004. We appreciate the many collective years of support from this family.
STATE GOVERNMENT FINANCE
PROVIDING LOCAL SERVICES WITH SHRINKING STATE RESOURCES
Friday, January 20, 11:45 a.m.
Midland Senior Services Trailside Activity and Dining Center
4700 Dublin Ave.

The Midland Area League in partnership with Midland County Senior Services will host a panel discussion on State Government Finance at the Trailside Activity and Dining Center in Midland. We will learn how our local governments are providing services with shrinking state resources.  Featured on the panel are Midland City Manager Jon Lynch, Midland County Controller/Administrator Bridgette Gransden, and Jerome Township Treasurer Laura Grubaugh.

This program will help us prepare for the  LWVMI study on government finance to update our current state position on Taxation and Budgeting.

Registration Required: To register call 633-3700 by 9am on January 18. Please specify if registering for the program only or the program and lunch. Attendees planning to have lunch need to arrive by 11:30am at Trailside. Space is limited in the room, so please call ahead to reserve a spot. Lunches are by suggested donation to those over 60, or $6 for those under 60, payable at the door.

The public is welcome. Bring a friend!
Program Planning for 2017
Wednesday, February 8, 1:30pm
Grace A Dow Memorial Library Conf Rm A

We have scheduled Wednesday, February 8 at 1:30 p.m. at Grace A. Dow Memorial Library Conference Room A to do program planning for the State and our Local Leagues. Mark your calendars if you might be interested in participating. All members are welcome.

Study to Update Position on Taxation and Budgeting
Consensus Meeting
February 21, 10:00-2:00, Strosacker Building, 220 W. Main St.


Discussion leaders Katherine Redwine, Kim Steinke, Sue McCollister and Julie Schmidt will present background information for the consensus questions in the morning, followed by a light lunch and addressing the consensus questions. Materials for the study are on the LWVMI web site.  This is a good opportunity to participate in a key process that allows the League to advocate on important public policy issues.
Membership
 If you are interested in joining, please fill out the form below, and send it in. If you have questions, please email Judy McDowell, VP Membership. 
 
mail to: LWV - Midland Area
P.O. Box 1203
Midland, MI 48641-1203
 
Any other questions or problems, email Katherine Redwine, e-newsletter editor.