January Newsletter  - Volume 7, Issue 4


Membership Information  TIME TO RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP!
You may click on one of the above titles to go directly to that subject, or simply scroll down the newsletter.     

Thanks to Sybil Cantor, Teddi Pensinger, Linda Kolko, Enid Light, Mary Kosterlitz, Fran Rothstein, Emily Shetty, Ed Kimmel, Barbara Levin, Lucy Freeman, Mary Lou Fox, Shruti Bhatnagar, Melanie Kreidich, Andrea Grossman, Joan Riggs, Jane Merkin,  Margaret Hadley, Ashley Rhinehart, Ginger Macomber, Riki Sheehan, Beth Tomasello, and Betsy Loyless for their contributions to this newsletter.  

The next newsletter will be published at the end of February. In the interim, information will be sent out via email and social media (Facebook and Twitter).  


I am beyond thrilled with all our Club has accomplished over the last few months.  Thanks to our terrific Membership and Outreach Co-Chairs Enid Light and Joan Gervino, we have had more than 75 people join us since last November.  Many thanks also to Enid for organizing a spectacular Happy Hour in January as a prelude to our participation in the Women's March on Washington. Enid not only provided food and drinks but commissioned two WDC flags, arranged for special presentations, and for March hats to be knitted, and auctioned to benefit a variety of organizations.  We enabled a great turnout at the Women's March. Thanks to Shruti Bhatnagar & Melanie Kreidich for leading these efforts on behalf of WDC. Both of you did an amazing job!   And this message would be incomplete if I didn't acknowledge the tireless efforts of our Advocacy Co-Chairs Fran Rothstein and Emily Shetty and the members of their committee for all that they do at the state and local levels.  Finally, Lucy Freeman and the members of her Education Committee have put together an important program on fracking which I encourage you to attend. It truly does take a village to accomplish great things, and we are!  Many many thanks to all of you for your hard work and activism.  The individual reports in this newsletter have a lot of additional information and I hope that you will read them. Since the March many have wondered what we can do to harness that energy, and continue to move forward.  Thanks to Advocacy Committee Co Chair Fran Rothstein and past WDC President Jane Merkin for sharing the following recommended steps of action from the Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee which are quoted below (modified to reflect Montgomery County):

"To all Marchers, Fighter, and Supporters!

Congrats to everyone for such a highly successful March on Saturday. Our voices were not only heard but reverberated across our country and the entire globe. We stand in solidarity with all members of our communities that human rights are inclusive for all of us. However, the March was like the opening ceremony of the Olympics - it's just the  beginning of some hard work and relentless effort. Below find some next steps and choose the one(s) that speak to you...

  1. 10 Actions for the First 100 Days - The organizers of the Women's March on Washington have a new campaign. Consider joining them! https://www.womensmarch.com/. 
  2. Local Democratic Clubs - discuss issues, meet your local representatives, and get involved with elections! Besides joining the WDC (http://womansdemocraticclub.org/wdc-membership/), volunteer with our Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee: http://www.mcdcc.org/get-involved-2/volunteer-opportunities/
  3. Indivisible Movement - Stay in contact with your national level representatives, your Members of Congress (MoCs). MoveOn.org and Working Families are designating "Resist Trump Tuesdays."  
  4. Swing Left is targeting districts all over the country where Republicans won by narrow margins. Type in your zip code and sign up to help at https://swingleft.org/ "
    • Actions come up quickly, so to stay in the know, join our Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/moco4mostgood/ Click the join button at the upper right. All members must be approved, but the response is usually fairly quick.
    • We also host a Google Group which you can join. To do this you must have a Google account and be signed in to it. (If you don't have a google account, go to https://accounts.google.com/signup?hl=en and create one. You can use your existing email address or create a new @gmail.com address.) Once you have done this, go have done this, go to https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/dothemostgood_moco.  Select the option to join the group. Be sure to select at least one option to receive emails. Opting out of emails makes it impossible for you to participate.
    • We are planning a series of postcard parties to write to representatives in red states with the cooperation of Democrats in those states who will postmark our communications. Watch our Facebook page for the first party, which will be in Rockville in early February.
    • We will also be hosting what we hope will be monthly issue meetings with representatives from advocacy groups and an elected official where possible. Again, watch the Facebook page for announcements of these meetings.
    • We are appointing issue captains who will stay up to date on developments from the White House, Congress and the advocacy community and issue action alerts accordingly. To date, we have captains lined up for ACA/Health Insurance and Social Safety Net; Maryland State and Local Politics; and Congress. More captains will be identified soon and you will be able to monitor the issues most important to you once you join the group
    • We are building coalitions with groups including Indivisible, Working Families, NOW, United We Dream and many others including, of course, WDC!!

Finally, closing on two very exciting notes!  Time to celebrate our 60th Anniversary!

The WDC will be celebrating its 60th anniversary of supporting and electing Democrats, advocating for Democratic policies, keeping our members informed and educating all voters on local, state, and national issues.   There will be a special anniversary event in May.  We are pleased to announce that former WDC presidents Daphne Bloomberg and Susan Messitte will be our co-chairs again!   More details will be forthcoming soon.  So watch this space!!!!

And we received wonderful news to begin the year! I'm pleased to inform you all that the WDC received a donation of $3,000 from our new Congressman Jamie Raskin!   He had funds left over in his MD State Senate account so he donated funds to us and the MCDCC.



Tuesday, February 21.

9:00  am - 3:30 pm

This is a unique opportunity to learn how the General Assembly works, meet with your legislators, advocate for WDC's legislative priorities, and see the General Assembly in action:
  • Watch the Senate & House debate live and in-person.
  • Hear from Alice Wilkerson, political insider and former chief of staff to Jamie Raskin, on how to advocate effectively in Annapolis.
  • Meet one-on-one with your State Senator and Delegates to advocate for WDC legislative priorities and get the inside scoop.
  • Take a private tour of the State House.

Annapolis Day Schedule:

9:00 a.m.   Arrive Annapolis - House of Delegates,
                  6 Bladen Street
                  Montgomery County Delegation Room
                  Room 170
9:15 a.m.   Welcome - Delegate Aruna Miller, President, Women Legislators of Maryland
                  Legislative Briefing - by Alice Wilkerson
                       How A Bill Becomes A Law
                       How to Advocate
                       WDC Legislative Priorities
(A folder will be given to each advocate containing: agenda, legislative priority list, list of Montgomery County Legislators listing their district, committee assignment, office room number and telephone number, Your Voice in Annapolis, a map of complex)
10:00 a.m.  State House - House and Senate Sessions

10:45 a.m.  Senate Office Building - Visit your Senators office

11:00 a.m.  Tour of State House (optional)

12:00          House Office Building - Lunch with Montgomery County Delegation
                  Senator Nancy King, Chair of the Montgomery County Senate Delegation
                  Delegate Shane Robinson, Chair Montgomery County House Delegation
                  Legislative members sitting on committees our legislative priorities are heard will be invited to speak.
1:30 p.m.    Visit your Delegates offices or attend a committee hearing

3:00 p.m.    Meet in Montgomery County Delegation Room (170) for Debriefing

3:30 p.m.    Depart Annapolis

Confirm your attendance by February 13 with Advocacy Committee member Barbara Levin (bplevin@comcast.net, or 301-847-9447). Provide your name, your legislative district or State Senator's name, and your email address.  This is a WDC Members  Only event; WDC will cover the costs associated with your visit.

Getting there:  Plan to drive or carpool to Annapolis.  Free parking is available at the US Naval Academy, with a free shuttle bus to the State House complex.  Alternatively, public parking garages are available.


Monday, February 6

Fracking in Maryland: To Be or Not To Be? Panel Discussion
10:00 - 11:30 AM
Jane E. Lawton  Community Recreation Center
4301 Willow Lane, Chevy Chase

Free event and free parking!

Please RSVP to Lucy Freeman at  dorset4708@yahoo.com

Maryland is at a crossroads on energy policy as Democratic lawmakers meeting in the 2017 General Assembly decide where the state goes with fracking. The current moratorium on fracking is set to expire in October. The General Assembly can extend the moratorium, allow fracking in the state, or adopt a permanent statewide ban. 
WDC is hosting a panel discussion featuring Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo, (District 15), a long-time member of the Environment and Transportation Committee, Josh Tulkin, Director of the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club, and Tim Whitehouse, Executive Director, Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility.

These speakers will explain the fracking process, short and long term consequences of the practice on drinking water, surrounding environment, climate and health, as well as what we can do to support legislation to ban fracking in Maryland. 

Questions about the event? Contact Lucy Freeman at (301) 654-8115 or dorset4708@yahoo.com
Note: Please click here to see WDC Advocacy Committee Member Margaret Hadley's letter in the Post supporting the permanent ban.  

Thursday, February 9

Happy Hour Image Happy Hour 
5:30 to 7:30 PM
Lebanese Taverna
7141 Arlington Road, Bethesda

Want to meet new people and talk politics?  Join us at the next WDC Happy Hour. Every second Thursday of each month, Democrats who are passionate about politics gather to relax and network with WDC members and their guests. Whether you want to meet elected officials, make new friends, form new business contacts or just have fun, the WDC Happy Hour is the perfect place to meet and greet fellow Democrats.  Members and potential members are welcome, so come and bring your friends!  

Thursday, February 23

Gandhi Brigade Youth Media Center Documentaries
7 PM
Home of Emily Shetty, 9702 Hill Street, Kensington

To RSVP, please email Lucy Freeman at dorset4708@yahoo.com or call 301-654-81 15.

Youth and Justice:  Gandhi Brigade Youth Media Center will show two documentaries produced by local high school students. Following the documentaries there will be a discussion led by high school students, Montgomery County Police Officer Richard Reynolds who serves on the steering committee for the My Brother's Keeper initiative in Montgomery County, and Elijah Wheeler, Director of Social Justice Programming for the Montgomery County Collaboration Council.

Gandhi Brigade Youth Media is an after school program serving students from traditionally disenfranchised communities in Montgomery county. Students are trained in digital media skills with the hope they will be our next generation of leaders.  This is a chance for you to hear what students, the police, and the community are saying about justice in our county.

Tuesday, March 21   


Visit to the National Museum of African American History & Culture 
11 AM.  

Details to follow soon.


Sunday, February 19

12-30 - 3:00 PM

Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center
5701 Marinelli Road, North Bethesda
This year's theme is "Forward Together".  
Individual tickets are $65, but there is an early bird discount of $60 if you register by February 8th.  Click here to register early. February 9th is the deadline for buying a table.  You will have an option to sit at the WDC table.  

by Enid Light

The January 12th "WDC Happy Hour in Honor of The Women's March and Call to Action" was held at the home of board member Enid Light. It was attended by close to 100 current, newly minted and prospective WDC members. They totally rocked the house with their enthusiasm and dedication to Democratic values. 

The Happy Hour itself was filled with goodies to eat and drink! A special shout out to Susan Glynn, Andrea Grossman, Enid Light and everyone else who contributed to our calorie count!! Imagine the energy of around 100 Democrats (women and men) meeting and greeting, socializing and sharing, and feeling empowered and supported.

The program was chaired by WDC VP Betsy Loyless. Delegate Marc Korman and State Senator Susan C. Lee updated us on legislative events and how we can participate with them moving forward. WDC Committee Chairs Fran Rothstein (Advocacy), Lucy Freeman (Education), Teddi Pensinger and Ashley Rhinehart (Communications) described upcoming events, and the missions of their respective committees.   WDC member Andrea Grossman talked about why it was important to join WDC.  Please click here to view Andrea's presentation. 

Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart gave a compelling presentation on how we can act locally and how we need to be prepared for a marathon not a sprint. Her suggestions resonated with everyone. WDC March Co-Chairs Melanie Kreidich and Shruti Bhatnagar gave us important and practical information. Kathleen Connor from Congressman Jamie Raskin's office updated us on his march day events!

We silent auctioned "Pussycat" hats in pink, black, green/blue and rainbow (not everyone is pink) to support sister organizations. We were honored to be joined by Diana Philip (NARAL), Jamie Westerhold and Marla Keisling (National Center for Transgender Rights), Doreen Cantor Paster (Sierra Club) and Jeannette Feldner (MCNOW). It was rewarding to be able to raise money for these organizations. WDC member Mary Kosterlitz knitted ALL the hats. We are grateful to Mary for her generous contribution.

Another exciting moment was when the WDC Board was presented with two "marching flags" that we commissioned. Flag Maker Christina Ginsberg was on hand to make the presentation. 

A Montgomery Community Media reporter (thanks to Board Member Lucy Freeman) attended the Happy Hour to interview a few participants about their interest in the Women's March. Please click here to view the video.

WHAG media also interviewed WDC Member Shruti Bhatnagar, Co- Coordinator of the March on behalf of WDC. A snippet of that interview can be viewed here.   

Additional photos were posted by our photographer Edward Kimmel. His pictures are always perfect. Facebook posting from those attending the event lit up social media!  Perfect prelude to the Women's March! Everyone was ready to make history.

Join us in February for the next happy hour!


                                            Preface by Enid Light

Because we are not all pink: The WDC silent auctioned a variety of Pussycat Hats to benefit non-profit sister organizations that support environmental justice, transgender rights and women's health. We raised a substantial amount of money. Please meet Mary Kosterlitz who knit the hats.
In her words:

Mary Kosterlitz
I began knitting these hats when I received an email about the Pussyhat Project.  The idea seemed simple enough-as was the knitting pattern-- so I knitted several in various shades of Pink for friends and one in black for my daughter, who never wears pink, to wear at the Women's March on Washington. After giving one to my friend and indoor cycling buddy Enid Light, she had a great idea.  She suggested that I knit various kinds of Pussyhats in different colors to represent different causes, such as rainbow to support LGBTIQ rights and blue-green for Environmental causes and that we use them to raise funds for organizations that support these causes at the WDC Happy Hour. This project appealed to me because I enjoy knitting, but it also reminds me of the AIDS quilting project where the organizers took a very traditional folk and home type art and made it into a way to unite and heal people throughout the country by creating a beautiful quilt together.  When I knit these Pussyhats, especially in various colors, it reminds me that it is the small things we can do that sometimes make a big difference.  Plus, the design of the hats just looks so cool. 



                                            by Shruti Bhatnagar

Enid Light, Teddi Pensinger and Andrea Grossman at March
The Woman's Democratic Club of Montgomery County was proud to be an official partner for the National Women's March on Washington. WDC also partnered with the Indian American Democratic Club, McNOW and #DotheMostGood to organize participants from Montgomery County. WDC members worked in collaboration with Congressman Raskin's office to offer critical organizational support for the Breakfast Reception, Rally and Equality Bus Rides (from Silver Spring Veteran's Plaza to the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C). A total of 27 buses were arranged and over 1500 people signed up (as per Raskin email)

 WDC also worked with its partners to organize a vigil and poster making session
Crowd at March
on the evening before the March and had volunteers run a comfort station at the Grosve
nor Metro station on the morning of the Women's March to help provide marchers with help on metro cards, and provisions of water and snacks.

To view another Metro Community Media video and additional photos of the March, please  click here .

                                             by Emily Shetty

This last month has been a very busy one for our advocates. With the Maryland state session beginning on January 11, our team has been laser-focused on supporting policies that, if enacted, will continue to improve the lives of women and families throughout our state.
The WDC Board has voted to support a series of state bills on behalf of our club. If you'd like to learn more about our 2017 Annapolis priorities, click here ..
The harmful federal legislative activity threatening to repeal the Affordable Care Act could negatively impact tens of thousands of Maryland families. In response, WDC has asked our state champions to stand up for our families and do all that they can at the state level to mitigate any harm, to ensure that our families maintain access to healthcare. 
In addition, on the county-level, WDC urged advocates via our new advocacy alerts list serve to contact members of the Montgomery County Council to urge them to support an increase to the minimum wage. Although the bill passed the Council with the help of many advocates across the county, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett has vetoed the measure. We look forward to working with advocates in our coalition to work through any remaining concerns around the measure.
If you are interested in receiving our committee's advocacy alerts, please email WDC Advocacy Committee co-chair Emily Shetty ( emily.shetty@gmail.com ) with the subject line "WDC advocacy alerts."
Finally, don't forget to join us in Annapolis on February 21 for our biennial WDC Advocacy Day, where we have an exciting day of meetings with our elected officials, advocacy trainings, and tours.


CONSUMER HEALTH FIRST UPDATE   (formerly Maryland Women's Coalition for Health Care Reform)
                                                                                           by Mary Lou Fox, Consumer Health First

Introducing Health Care. Keep It. That is the name of our new strategic campaign to address what has been dubbed the "repeal and replace" agenda, which would reverse the years of progress that were made after passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - also known as the ACA and Obamacare. 

Follow our Health Care. Keep It. campaign by signing up for our newsletter and by frequently visiting a new section on our website designed to keep our readers informed and to provide you with information you can use.  In this section you will find breaking news and analysis of what to expect regarding the ACA, Medicare, Medicaid, and health care reform in general, nationally and here in Maryland.

The impact in Maryland if the ACA were repealed would be significant: hundreds of thousands would lose their insurance, many consumers would experience higher healthcare costs and reduced coverage and Maryland's health care system would be weakened.  Check out this one page summary for the facts.

See our website  for more information on the report and read our latest newsletter .

  Luncheon Speaker, County Executive Ike Leggett
                                                                  by Mary Lou Fox

On Monday, January 9, County Executive Ike Leggett addressed the Woman's Democratic Club at its monthly luncheon about how he has effectively managed the change that has occurred during his three terms.  But first he wanted to share his thoughts about the 2016 election.

The 2016 Election:  He organized his remarks around 3 Cs:  Complacency, Confusion and Conflict.

Conflict :  Americans assumed that we were more united around some core values than we actually were.  Donald Trump's poll numbers at 40+% said that there is real, systemic, divisive conflict among us over our values especially around race, immigration and religion.

Confusion :  There was so much confusion in this election.  Fake news was just a part of the problem.  The media fell down in this election by promoting a moral equivalency between what Trump and Clinton said even though there were very different levels of truth.

Complacency:  Too many people were lulled by the polls into believing that someone else would ensure that Clinton would win.  The net effect is a loss of the Supreme Court and levels of judges that will have a major impact on Americans for decades.  As Democrats, we need to prepare for a long fight to win elections again.  It is a four-year war and there will be no quick results.

An analogy at an event honoring African American veterans seemed to capture many of our thoughts regarding this election.  These heroes were dismayed that their life's work had brought the ball to the 5-yard line with an election that would result in a touchdown.  Instead the election took the ball to other side of the 50-yard line.

Democrats must be vigilant because Trump and the Republicans will try to get their agenda passed quickly.

Effective Management of Change in Montgomery County

Leggett recounted his campaigns as the first African American to run for County Council and County Executive starting in 1986 when the percentage of African Americans was 6-7%.   As County Executive in his third term, he emphasized these as the keys to success:

Do the fundamentals right initially. He believes that you must balance the budget, maintain the AAA bond rating and continue to be regarded as a well-managed county.

Be inclusive. He has put more women and minorities in leadership positions.  The Sister Cities across the globe initiative has helped government gain insight into our communities.

Concentrate on the future, especially on the young people who have different experiences in their lifetimes.  The county is now more diverse and more people must be brought to the table without pushing away those people who have a rightful place at the table.  We need to retain the individuality of the different groups in the county.

2017 Budget

Because of the dependence of the county on the federal government for jobs and spending, he is fearful of cutbacks in the federal budget.  He expects there to be lesser support from the state as well for local governments due to the state budget shortfall.  He believes it was wrong to increase taxes in Montgomery County last year because this year he believes there will need to be a 2-3% adjustment in the budget to accommodate these fiscal impacts.

Regarding the $15 minimum wage, he believes that we cannot just do this in the county, and there is no need to rush to do this now. It is important to first build support and then implement it at the state level.

2018 Election is critical Too much complacency in 2014 gave us Governor Hogan who would win today but two years is a long time in politics.  We need to be more united as a party, get organized and focus on contrasting the issues.

Transportation in Montgomery County needs help.  Metro needs dedicated resources for its support.  He favors a regional transportation tax and tying development closer to Metro.  Interstate 270 needs significant resources which are not planned currently.  There is no support for a second bridge in Montgomery County.

He feels that the County Council strays beyond its legislative function into the executive function.  His advice to his successor is to be clear about roles with the County Council. In addition, the Executive should get out to talk with the people frequently because you learn so much.  



A number of you requested the slides from Democratic pollster Fred Yang's luncheon presentation in November about the election results.  Thanks to Board member Riki Sheehan, a link to the slides is included here.  Please note that these slides are for the information of WDC members only, and are not to be shared

                              by Linda Kolko
Beverly Walcoff

The WDC mourns the loss of WDC member Beverly Walcoff , who died on December 30, 2016.  Always proud to be a native Washingtonian, Beverly volunteered at the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian for close to 30 years. She was a great lover of the arts and travel.

The Club extends its condolences to the entire Walcott family. To read Beverly's obituary, please click here.
Please renew now as we are preparing the 2017 Membership Directory for distribution in March.  Any new member who joined the WDC after June 1, 2016 is considered a full member through August 31, 2017.  If  you are not certain about your dues status, please contact Sybil Cantor at sybil.cantor@gmail.com , and she will be able to advise you.

Please note that if we do not receive your renewal by February 1, you will not be listed in the 2017 Membership Directory.
WDC appreciates your continuing support  Your voice and membership dues are crucial to the vitality and strength of the Woman's Democratic Club. Your $35 dues ($25 for members 35 years and younger) ($36.00 and $26 online, respectively, at www.womansdemocraticclub.org ) pay for Club mailings; subsidizes events, programming, and the annual New Member dinner; and support the important work of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee and Democratic candidates with campaign contributions.   All non-renewing members will be purged from the membership list in February.

The WDC also offers gift memberships.  Honor a good friend or colleague with a gift membership to the WDC so she or he can enjoy the many benefits our club offers!  A gift renewal form will be in your renewal letter or click here to buy a gift membership on-line.

The 2016 membership directory will continue to be available at WDC events to all current dues-paying members.Please review your listing in the directory.  If you find any mistakes, please email us the corrections at  wdcmcmd@gmail.com or call WDC President Linda Kolko at 301-785-1342.  

Click here  to renew your Membership or join the Club!  Thank you.




Don't forget to like us on Facebook; we're listed as Woman's Democratic Club, Montgomery County. https://www.facebook.com/WomansDemocraticClub
WDC also has a Twitter account!   Our Twitter handle is @WomenDems.   Be sure to follow us!  



 Help Wanted
Sharing your skills and expertise with us and joining a committee are fun ways to meet other members and make new friends while helping the Club accomplish its goals. We especially need volunteers to help with new member recruitment as part of the Membership & Outreach Committee and we need writers to prepare articles for our newsletter and photographers for our Facebook page and newsletter.  Finally, we need volunteers on the Advocacy Committee to help analyze and track important legislation

Click here to volunteer.

Suggestion Box  

Do you have ideas for future programs? Do you know someone who would be a great speaker at a future WDC event?  If so, please send an e-mail to wdcmcmd@gmail.com.




A lso, our Education Committee is seeking ideas for future programs in the Montgomery 101 series; if you have issues or subjects about the county you would like to learn about or study, please email Lucy Freeman at dorset4708@yahoo.com or call 301-654-8115.



 Keeping members better informed, better connected and more politically effective since 1957      


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Woman's Democratic Club
Linda Kolko, President
www.womansdemocraticclub.org      wdcmcmd@gmail.com
Woman's Democratic Club
Sybil Cantor
Email Coordinator