April Newsletter - Volume 7, Issue 7
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, Fran Rothstein, Emily Shetty, Nancy Holland, Bonnie Wicklund, Lucy Freeman, Ed Kimmel, Mary Lou Fox, Shruti Bhatnagar, Melanie Kreidich, Joan Gervino, Riki Sheehan, Joan Riggs, Paul Schwartz, Betsy Loyless,
and Ashley Rhinehart for their contributions to this newsletter.
The next newsletter will be published at the end of May. In the interim, information will be sent out via email and social media (Facebook and Twitter).
NOTE FROM WDC PRESIDENT LINDA KOLKO
It's hard to believe another month has gone by! And it was a terrific month for WDC thanks to our ever growing membership who supported our many events this past month! We've been busy with activities ranging from participating in Marches, to registering voters, to hearing educational presentations, to just getting to know and enjoy each other's company at Happy Hour, and finally, to help in the launch of a brand new community organization! I am so grateful to all of our terrific volunteers without whom all of these amazing activities would not have happened.
As you can see, it takes a village to run WDC, and we need you to be part of our village! We are a completely volunteer-run club, and our members make it work! Speaking of which, a job description for new member orientation follows; we need a reliable, detail-oriented person to take over for Ginger Macomber, who's done a terrific job for several years but is now moving on to co-chair the Advocacy Committee. If you are looking for a really important job that you can do from home, new member orientation might be for you.
Duties of the WDC New Member Coordinator:
1. Keep our WDC Welcome Letter/email, Reasons to Get Involved and Volunteer Form updated.
2. Mail or email New Member Welcome packets at least twice a month.
3. Maintain an excel file of all New Member Mailings/emails.
4. Send each month the updated New Member excel file to the WDC treasurer, Email Coordinator, WDC President and Membership Committee Chairs for reconciliation with their records.
5. Send periodic reimbursement requests for costs to the WDC treasurer.
to volunteer for this position or for any of the other amazing opportunities to help WDC!
I'm deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to serve as the President of this incredible organization for the past two years. That time is almost at an end. This June WDC will hold its biennial meeting to elect the slate of officers who will serve WDC for the next couple of years. Stay tuned! More details about that meeting will be forthcoming shortly. In the meantime, we have some exciting activities coming up in May, and I look forward to seeing many of you on those occasions!
UPCOMING WDC AND WDC CO-SPONSORED EVENTS
District 19 Democratic Club's Cause Fair 2017
1:00 to 4 PM
Magruder High School Cafeteria
Fired up about the election? Want to channel your protest into positive? Come meet representatives and get involved with the causes that matter to you! Opening remarks by Congressman Jamie Raskin and the D19 Legislative Team. Engage with dozens of groups including: Interfaith Action for Human Rights; One by 1; Mobile Med; Pan Asian Volunteer Health Clinic; MoCo Civil Rights Coalition; Progressive Maryland; MoCo Humane Society; Welcome Home Prison Ministry; MoCo Muslim Dems; and many more. Stop by the WDC table and help us recruit more members!
Thursday, May 11
5:30 to 7 PM
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 fellowDemocrats. Members and potential members are welcome, so come and bring your friends
Register VA Voters Event with Woman's Democratic Club of Montgomery County
Start time: 10:00 AM
New Virginia Majority Offices, 3801 Mt Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22305.
Virginia has a critical governor's election in 2017 and we are volunteering with the New Virginia Majority Education Fund to register voters. Monthly Event, and every Second Saturday onward! All members and nonmembers are welcome!
Must RSVP, please email to:
with the subject line May 13 Voter registration. If you could tell Melanie whether you want to go Door to Door or sit at the table that would be helpful. This is a nonpartisan monthly event, so no partisan clothing. What is the New Virginia Majority? To learn more, please click here.
ONGOING CAMPAIGN ACTIVITIES
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES FOR PHONE BANK HOSTS AND ACTION LEADS
The WDC and DoTheMostGood are collaborating on providing support to Democratic Party campaigns across the country. We need your help with the following:
Phone Bank Hosts
open their homes to volunteers. They work with our Action Leads to make sure all of our volunteers have a great experience. Great Phone Bank Hosts are gracious, dedicated to fostering a sense of community, and making volunteers feel comfortable and welcome.
set up and manage phone banks (and other events) while representing DoTheMostGood and J Walkers and assisting volunteers. They collaborate with Phone Bank Hosts and other leadership to ensure that events run smoothly from top to bottom. Great Action Leads enjoy interacting with volunteers, have an eye for detail, and are patient and flexible.
Leadership time commitment: Many Hosts and Action Leads are on our schedule weekly. Events typically run 3-3.5 hours from set up to close. Others participate bi-weekly or more sporadically. We are happy to have your help whenever possible.
Interested or just want to learn more? Sign up at
Thanks! Let's keep up our tradition of helping to elect Democrats across the USA!
MONTGOMERY COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY'S ANNUAL SPRING BALL
WDC Members: "Lace 'Em Up!" and sit with us at the MCDCC Spring Ball!
We invite you to attend this year's county Democratic Spring Ball on May 13
and to sit at the WDC table.
: Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center
5701 Marinelli Road, Bethesda
: VIP Reception at 5:30 pm & Main Event at 6:00 pm
WDC Vice President Betsy Loyless (
is coordinating our table this year, so after you buy your tickets you can email her to request seating at the WDC table. Please email Betsy by May 3rd, and we look forward to a fun evening in support of our county party's efforts with you!
Early bird tickets are currently $100 each until May 1
when they'll go up to $175 each.
If you or your or guest require accommodations (e.g. if you have ADA tags on your vehicle and need to be able to park on site), please email
with your name(s) and contact information.
Fabulous New Member Dinner March 29th!
President Linda Kolko welcomed an overflow crowd to Betsy Stephens' house for the annual WDC dinner, to hear featured speaker Kathleen Matthews, Interim Chair of the Maryland State Democratic Party. With the addition of more than 200 new members since last year, the WDC now has a record high of 550+ total membership, Linda announced.
|Linda Kolko, Ashley Rhinehart and Riki Sheehan greet Kathleen Matthews
The election of Trump as president was "a slap in the face for women," Matthews said, recounting her own emotional devastation after the election. But women got up and organized, and she added that "Hillary should know that her loss energized women." Thus with a new sense of purpose, Matthews said she is looking forward to the challenge of revitalizing the Democratic Party in Maryland, and one of her primary goals is to elevate women's voices. Matthews defined politics as "making connections with other people for the common good," and women especially like this aspect.
While Maryland is often defined as "deep Blue"-61% of the vote last November went to Clinton-in reality it is divided
much like the rest of the country, Matthews continued. The Eastern Shore counties and the western counties are really "deep Red," so we need to double down in the 20 counties which are not heavily Democratic to change the narrative. As part of this effort, Matthews said she has solicited input and ideas from all the Democratic central committees, and she is trying to get better coverage of our political events by local media. Because of the general antipathy to politics as usual, Matthews would like to hold more small, less costly events, encourage $5 pledges online, and crucially, fill vacant precinct chairmanships.
||WDC Members line up to ask questions.
To defeat Governor Hogan in his re-election bid next year, Democrats have to hold him accountable for his silence on hate acts, and his failure to speak out against the Trump administration's goal of gutting funding for federal agencies, including the NIH; the Affordable Care Act; and the Chesapeake Bay-all critical to the economic well being of Marylanders.
|Members listen intently to Kathleen Matthews.
Clubs of Color Organized 2017 Legislative Wrap-Up
by Fran Rothstein
WDC co-sponsored the Clubs of Color Legislative Wrap-Up on Saturday, April 15, which began with co-sponsors (including WDC member Jennifer Martin of Montgomery County Education Association and me) summarizing our members' advocacy during the 2017 state session.
|County Executive Ike Leggett, Young Dems President Will Roberts, Laurie-Ann Sayles, Alan Bowser, Julian Haffner and Joseph Eyong were among the participants at the Clubs of Color Legislative Wrap Up.
The first panel, introduced with analyses by Karen York of the Job Opportunities Task Force and Toni Holness of Maryland ACLU, included around a dozen state legislators, including WDC members Del. Kathleen Dumais and Del. Jheanelle Wilkens.
Del. Dumais expressed her disappointment that her bill prohibiting parental rights for rapists, when the rape results in a pregnancy, failed to pass for the ninth year in a row. She encouraged supporters to keep the issue in the limelight. Recent media coverage provides the disheartening details:
Our WDC Advocacy Committee worked with Del. Dumais to support this bill, and will do so again next year. We are discussing ways we can help keep the issue in the forefront between now and next session. If you have suggestions, contact criminal justice issues captain Lynn Olson (
). Consider signing this petition.
Del. Wilkens saw four of her bills pass in her first session as a delegate, including one that addresses racial profiling: prohibiting law enforcement officers from stopping drivers solely because of items hanging from their rear-view mirrors, a practice prevalent among minority drivers. (I was surprised to learn I'm a scofflaw, thanks to the Turkish blue glass evil eye protector that dangles from my own mirror!)
There was also a smaller panel of County Council members. Craig Rice and Marc Elrich highlighted, respectively, the need for universal pre-K and for some kind of pre-school beginning at age two. George Leventhal encouraged all in the audience to mobilize against the 1% cut to all human resources contracts, and questioned why that part of the budget was targeted, when human resources contracts have already suffered cuts in years past. Tom Hucker is adding money to pay for expanded hours for the safe exchange/supervised visitation center - a new initiative for which WDC members advocated repeatedly (and effectively) by participating in the postcard campaign orchestrated by Court Watch Montgomery.
CIVIC ACTIVISM .... COMBATING INTOLERANCE
by Nancy Holland
Inflammatory public speech is more and more common and may inspire violence. The forms of harmful speech, including hate and "dangerous speech" and the actions that Montgomery County schools are taking to combat incivility in the schools were the topics of our most recent education program.
Lucas Wright representing the Dangerous Speech Project (DS) explained the difference between hate speech and dangerous speech. Some influential leaders use rhetoric that has a special capacity to inspire violence. Violence can be prevented by diminishing such speech or by making it less compelling to its audiences.
Hate speech is hard to identify because it is unclear if the speaker is expressing hate, feels hate, and/or wants to make others feel hate. Instead researchers from American University have identified a category they describe as "dangerous speech." DS is defined not by emotional content but by its potential outcomes and its capacity to inspire violence.
There are five hallmarks of DS:
1. Speaker: influential, a leader, and/or charismatic.
2. Audience: one that is susceptible to the message.
3. Message: inflammatory and dehumanizing. It makes violence seem necessary and accuses the "other" of the behavior your group exhibits.
4. Context: environment in which speech is given. The audience may experience competition over resources, previous episodes of violence, have difficult life conditions, etc.
5. Medium: audiences source(s) of information. The medium, or means of dissemination, can make speech more dangerous if it possesses its own influence.
What do we do to combat dangerous speech? Mr. Wright suggested it is not with the law. It is important not to legitimatize such speech and not to engage in censorship, either. One solution is to provide education prior to the speech and/or event and prepare oneself for the rhetoric. Another solution is to counter "dangerous speech." Have an influential leader directly respond to the "dangerous speech" and present other options to the target audience.
Mr. Wright stressed that a speech by an influential leader that is insensitive, for example white nationalism, may be hateful, rude and harmful and not be dangerous. He went on to say that neither civility nor dangerous speech is the exclusive domain of any particular group.
The Montgomery County Board of Education has taken a number of actions as a result of inciteful language and other alarming incidents this past year in the schools. In the school year 2016 there were 10 hate incidents and in 2017 there are already 37.
Jill Ortman-Fouse, member of the Montgomery County Board of Education, described the actions the Board is taking to build an appreciation for diversity and shine light on difficult subjects.
The Montgomery County school system is the largest in the state and 17th largest in the U.S. Students represent over 157 countries. Muslim students are harassed, immigrant children are afraid to come to school and parents are afraid to send them. Today, people feel freer to say more things that are hurtful. This year the Board introduced cultural competency training for administrators in schools throughout the county. The intent is to help staff learn how to handle conversations and interact with different people.
Ken Smith, a sociology and government teacher at Blair HS, gave powerful testimony to his experience in the training and using it in his classroom. Mr. Smith said the
overall purpose of the training is for school administrators and teachers to learn to talk openly and be honest about their feelings when confronted with their biases. He expressed the importance of finding common footing with people we experience as different than ourselves and be willing to have courageous conversations.
Mr. Smith described an intense experience in the training which led him to invite an administrator to each one of his classes to engage students in a courageous conversation. Based on this experience the training curriculum is being updated to make students central to the conversation rather than teachers and administrators.
WDC APRIL LUNCHEON REPORT
What happened and what's next: "Rebuilding the Labor Democratic Alliance in the Age of Trump"
An hour does not likely go by that someone, especially a Democrat, doesn't wonder: "How could this have happened? How could this country place someone as ill-prepared and self-serving as Donald J. Trump in the White House?"
|Linda Kolko and Damon Silvers
The Woman's Democratic Club of Montgomery County continues to seek the elusive answer to that all important question. Pollster Fred Yang addressed the Club in the immediate aftermath of the election, and on April 21st the baton was passed to Damon Silvers, Director of Policy and Special Counsel for the AFL-CIO.
The task at hand for Mr. Silvers was to attempt to explain not just what went wrong resulting in a Trump administration but what needs to be done to prevent a similar disaster from recurring in the future.
Mr. Silvers brings with him quite an impressive resume. Mr. Silvers began his career with the AFL-CIO in 1997 as Associate General Counsel. He currently serves on a pro bono basis as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the state of New York and is also a Senior Fellow for the Roosevelt Institute. He is a member of the Investor Advisory Committee of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Treasury Department's Financial Research Advisory Committee, and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board's Investor Advisory Group. Further, from 2008 to 2011 Mr. Silvers served as the Deputy Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Mr. Silvers received his J.D. with honors from Harvard Law School and his M.B.A. with high honors from Harvard Business School and was accepted into both programs based on his grades, and on merit alone.
Mr. Silvers explained during his discussion that election results were not as cut and dry as some might have you believe. Union membership did overwhelmingly vote for Hillary, but not quite as much as they did for Obama. However, Trump received about the the same numbers as did Mitt Romney and Mitt was one of the worst candidates in terms of the so-called working class. Where did the remaining votes go? Third party.
Even though union members did vote for Hillary, the white working class males overwhelmingly voted for Trump. The problem, then, is not just that not enough working class voted for Hillary and saw Trump as a "change candidate" that would benefit their economic status, but, not enough of these workers understood the benefit of becoming unionized. Critical states such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan, according to Mr. Silvers, have seen a strong labor movement but not enough union membership.
We see about 45 percent of union membership passionately opposed to Donald Trump and 20 to 25 percent as lost causes who are steadfast Republicans gullible enough to believe that Trump will keep his promises to address trade issues and bring back jobs from overseas explained Mr. Silvers. That puts the remainder in play, especially the ten percent or so who voted for Obama in 2012 and, sadly, Trump in 2016.
Clearly, according to Mr. Silvers, many working class voters wanted change and just as they voted for the change candidate in 2008 and 2012 they voted for who they saw as an economic change candidate in 2016 and, in so doing, disregarded the issues of racism, sexism and xenophobia. However, there is, regrettably, a strong basis for dissatisfaction with an economy that continually sees increases in income inequality.
According to Mr. Silvers from 1933 to 1980 75 percent of income growth went to the bottom 90 percent of income. From 1980 to the present zero percent of income growth goes to the bottom 90 percent. All of it goes to the top ten
percent. Further, since 1980 our economy has been built to depress wages and transfer risk from institutions to individuals. That coincides with the loss of company sponsored health care and retirement pensions to be replaced with IRA's, 401K's and employee purchased health care. In 1980 45 percent of workers had employer provided pensions; not so today as retirement is almost totally reliant on individual retirement accounts and Social Security.
||Audience listens intently.
All this adds up to income stagnation, stagnant wages and a good deal of voter discontent as reflected in the election results.
How to turn this around? Mr. Silvers suggests starting with developing a strong economic agenda. The Democratic party must do a better job of putting forth a clear message that paints a pathway to an economy that benefits the individual. Restoring bargaining power to address wage and income stagnation; investing in infrastructure, new technologies and energy sources, and small business ventures to create more jobs; as importantly, investing in education and training to enable workers to fill those jobs and encourage greater innovation; and addressing unfair pricing of pharmaceuticals are just a few suggestions offered by Mr. Silvers as good places to begin.
Questions posed to Mr. Silvers dealt primarily with perception and messaging and Mr. Silvers was clear in his response. First, regarding perception of unions, not having a union should not be an impediment for employees to seek bargaining with management. If they can unionize to gain more formal support for employee issues, great, but it should be a goal of employees to seek to bargain with employers for the mutual benefit of both parties.
Regarding messaging, keep it simple is the recommendation. Speak in words with which the working class can identify. Don't call them middle class because that is not how they see themselves; working class is more in line with how they see themselves. As touched upon earlier, there are basically three core elements in the messaging needed to be adopted by the Democrats: Raise incomes through wage bargaining; invest in the future in such areas as infrastructure to create more jobs but also invest in the education and training needed to enable the workforce to fill those newly created jobs; lower costs to families by negotiating prices in such areas as pharmaceuticals.
A simple message that people can relate to that addresses their economic status and concerns is the starting point as the Democratic Party begins its quest to change the direction of elections across the country.
LAUNCH OF COMMUNITIES UNITED AGAINST HATE (CUAH)
by Enid Light and Fran Rothstein
As a founding member of
Communities United Against Hate (CUAH), WDC was well represented at the CUAH launch on Sunday April 23rd. WDC Member Karen Britto was the Mistress of Ceremonies, and WDC past president Carole Brand introduced keynote speaker, Attorney General Brian Frosh, who inspired all 650+ attendees with Maryland's stellar response to the rise in hate crimes. Our political leaders were there, along with many WDC members. WDC's booth at the volunteer fair following the formal program attracted much attention and several new and prospective members. See links to the TV media coverage below:
For ABC News 7 Coverage of CUAH Launch, please click here.
For News Channel 8 coverage of the event, please click here.
|Political Leaders and WDC Members at CUAH Launch
WDC BY-LAWS HOUSEKEEPING AMENDMENTS RECOMMENDED
By Betsy Loyless
The WDC by-laws committee, composed of Charlotte Crutchfield, Beth Tomasello, Sybil Cantor and Betsy Loyless, recommended 6 housekeeping amendments to be considered and voted on at the general membership meeting in June 2017. The WDC board debated and passed committee recommended amendments dealing with the purpose and mission of the WDC; the role of the 1st Vice President; changes in the amount of dues and language permitting voting by electronic means and email.
The bylaws committee began meeting in November 2016 to discuss a wide range of governance issues. These discussions culminated in an April 2017 board vote to support 6 by-laws amendments which, as noted above, can be largely categorized as housekeeping amendments. These amendments, while important, do not substantially alter the nature or character of the present WDC by-laws. The amendments do, however, clarify ambiguous language in several areas and updates board voting practices. Please click on the links below to review the following
For the current WDC by-laws, please click
For the WDC board recommended changes to the WDC by-laws, please click
To view the WDC by-laws incorporating the board recommended changes, please click
CONSUMER HEALTH FIRST UPDATE
by Mary Lou Fox, Consumer Health First
Affordable Care Act: Repeal/Replace/Repair
As of this writing the American Health Care Act has not become law. One proposed
would give states an option for an
"Invisible Risk Sharing Program"
that could take away consumer protections with the Essential Health Benefits package and certain community rating rules. This means many would
return to the pre-ACA world
- Women who could be charged more than men;
- Those with pre-existing conditions who could lose coverage or see their premiums rise. Based upon a Center for American Progress study, premium surcharges in Maryland could range from about $3,800 for asthma to more than $25,000 for breast cancer, and pregnancy surcharges could be as much as $15,000; and
- Those in expensive treatments who could again be subject to annual or lifetime limits.
Public Health Emergency Preparedness: Maryland Scores Well, But...
Maryland scored 7.5 out of 10 in the
2017 National Health Security Preparedness Index
developed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. But... with the budget cuts and policy changes proposed by the Trump Administration, Maryland would face real challenges in the future in dealing with a health-related emergency. Read our
Letter to the Editor
in the Baltimore Sun.
You can help by
sending us your stories!
Just this weekend we spoke to a mother who is concerned that her 25-year-old son with a pre-existing condition won't be able to get insurance when he turns 26 in October.
by Linda Kolko
Dr. FREDERICK MARTIN
The WDC mourns the loss of
WDC member Dr. T. Frederick "Fred" Martin who died on April 8 in Bethesda. He was 85. Dr. Martin had a distinguished career in private practice and public health dentistry in Chicago and Washington, DC until his retirement in 2000. He also served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps as Field Cadre and Instructor. Dr. Martin graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology and received his DDS from Howard University college of Dentistry. The Club extends its condolences to his widow Louise Harper Martin and the entire Martin family. To read Fred's obituary, please click here.
SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATE - WE'RE ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER!
WDC also has a Twitter account!
Our Twitter handle is
Be sure to follow us!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
or call 301-654-8115
Keeping members better informed, better connected and more politically effective since 1957