Amherst League of Women Voters

A Voice for Citizens, a Force for Change

July 24, 2018
In This Issue:

July 27, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Opening Day of Book Sale, Fort River Elementary School Gym.
July 28 & 29, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.,  Book Sale at Fort River Elementary School Gym.
August 2, 10-11:30 a.m., Steering Committee Meeting, Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters, 322 Russell St. All Members Welcome.
August 3 & 4, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Book Sale at Fort River Elementary School Gym.
August 13, 6:30 p.m., Forum for Candidates for Senate Seat, Deerfield Academy. (Sponsored by other Pioneer Valley Leagues and the Hampshire Gazette.)
Aug 21, 7 p.m.-9 p.m., District Meetings with District Candidates for Town Council, in various meeting rooms: see below.
Aug. 29,  7 p.m.-9 p.m., Forum for At-Large Candidates for Town Council, Town Room of  Amherst Town Hall.
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Note: a print bulletin will no longer be published. If you have friends who would prefer a paper copy of the e-bulletin, please contact a member of the Steering Committee.

LWVA News: Coming Events 


Get ready for the biggest book sale around!
Plan to come to the LWVA Book Sale and buy your favorite books, CDs, records, DVDs, etc. There is something for everyone at very cheap prices. The dates of the sale are as follows:

Friday, July 27 9 AM - 7 PM
Saturday, July 28 and Sunday July 29  9 AM - 4 PM
Friday, August 3  and Saturday August 4. 9 AM - 4 PM

We have wonderful books this year just waiting for you!

Here are some highlights of what we've accomplished:

Boxes, July 17

Lots of boxes' contents sorted

Well-organized media section.

Great response to plea for more sorters.

Cashiers and Shelvers Still Needed!

It is not too late to sign up to help out at our Gigantic Book Sale!  Cashiers and Shelvers are still needed so please check out this link for information and to sign up.  Many thanks!!

Election Events: Past and Future

Election Year Events:

Election for the State House of Representatives:
Debate between Candidates for the Democratic Nomination for the Third Hampshire District, July 18
The pre-primary forum for the candidates for the Democratic nomination to represent the Third Hampshire District in the General Court drew a standing room-only audience to the Bangs Center on July 18. The forum was cosponsored by the League, the Daily Hampshire Gazette, and Amherst Media. Amherst Media's recording is available now. Click here to view it. 
The Gazette and other Pioneer Valley Leagues are also cooperating to put on pre-primary forums for the other Hampshire District seats and the First Franklin District, as well as the Hampshire-Franklin-Worcester Senate seat vacated by Stan Rosenberg. The Senate forum is scheduled for August 13, 6:30 p.m. at Deerfield Academy.  
The Amherst League itself is focused, in this election season, on producing events to
acquaint Amherst residents with both the candidates for the Town Council and with opportunities to become involved in the transition to the new forum of government. (See article below.) In particular, primary elections will be required for both the at-large seats on Town Council and in all but one of the five Districts; only in District 1 have fewer than five candidates filed. Thus on September 4, voters will be presented with both a partisan ballot with several state and regional contests, and also a non-partisan ballot with candidates for the at-large seats and (except in District 1) their District candidates for Town Council.
So please attend the District meetings sponsored by the League on August 21 and the forum for the at-large candidates on August 29, and then make your informed choice on September 4!
(Note: the League e-bulletin and Facebook page would appreciate it if attendees at the district meetings would send copies of photos they take to the e-bulletin or the Facebook editor.)   
Elections for Town Government 
The More Things Change The More They Stay the Same
What Changes:
     The Amherst form of government is moving from a 240 member town meeting to a Town Council of 13 representatives. Voters will need to become familiar with this new form of government. Now there will be 5 districts in the town with each district electing 2 members and 3 additional members elected "at large."   Date for the primary is September 4 and election is November 6.
What Stays the Same:
     The League of Women Voters' mission of educating voters does not change. Our mission, as always, is to provide non-partisan information about each candidate's position, to give opportunities for each to speak and to answer questions from the public. As usual the League will prepare election guides for Town Council candidates (for both primary and general elections) and sponsor community forums.
The Plan:
     There will be five "informal" meetings, one for each district, on Tuesday, August 21, from 7:00-9:00. Candidates will give short introductory statements, then participants will meet in small groups with each candidate for about 10 minutes. For the second part of the meeting the candidates will form a panel to discuss the role of the Town Council in shaping the new Amherst government and to further discuss any other issues raised in the small groups.
Here's the schedule--
     District 1: Amherst Survival Center
     District 2: Pole Room, Bangs Center
     District 3: Large Activity Room, Bangs Center
     District 4: Woodbury Room, Jones Library
     District 5: Munson Memorial Library
On Wednesday, August 29, there will be a forum for the "at large" candidates for the council. It will be in the Town Room in the Amherst Town Hall starting at 7:00. This will be a standard League forum with moderator, timers, questions from the audience.
    Change can be interesting, daunting, educational, exciting, frustrating, unknown. Luckily the League will be with us to provide information and support!

LWVA News: Recent Events

In Memoriam

It is with sadness that the League of Women Voters Amherst reports the recent deaths of three long-time members: Judy Brooks, Joan Ross Logan, and Elaine Trehub. We are grateful for their many contributions to the League, and to the community.  We send our most sincere sympathy to their families and friends.
(We have been asked to remind those wishing to attend the memorial service for Judy Brooks on July 28 that the service will be held at the Amherst Regional High School Auditorium at 1 p.m.) 

News from the LWVUS Convention, June 28-July 1, Chicago
  Two of our three delegates have written reports on their Convention experiences. Brief excerpts are provided here; you can read the full reports by clicking on this link and then clicking on the file attachment of the report you wish to read.

From former president Rebecca Fricke:

... Being surrounded by over one thousand determined women open for discussion and ready to work is both invigorating and intimidating.  I would guess that most of us left feeling rejuvenated, but also wondering if we had the ability to do all that needs to be done to ensure our democratic system of government works for everyone....

Throughout the convention, the message from the speakers and the league leaders was consistent.  Although we have every right to be upset and angry with how things are going in the political arena and because most of our positions directly contradict what our leadership is doing and what our President believes, we must not lose hope and we must continue to work together to ensure our "democracy works."  At the same time, and some would say because the stakes seem to be so high, the LWV needs to look inward to maximize our potential.  We talked about two general areas in need of work.  1) We need to improve our electronic systems including our messaging and our capacity to collect data and  2) we need to diversify our membership to better reflect our geographic areas and we can start this process by increasing our understanding of diversity, inclusion and equity....

I attended a caucus on Youth Voter Registration: Learn Winning Tactics! - the short of it is that I am determined to get voter registration into ARHS on a regular basis.  The Leagues that presented do voter drives in school systems with thousands of kids.  We should be able to handle a hundred in Amherst! .... in other places the leagues actually have permanent displays in guidance and also regular presentations as part of class time....

... The twenty or so Massachusetts leaguers said their goodbyes and promised each other to be in touch via a group zoom meeting. The looming question is, "How can we take what we've learned and help our local leagues grow and become even more effective!?"

From Barbara Pearson, Amherst Area Hub of Western MA Medicare 4 All

... The greatest excitement for me of the national LWV convention was to participate in the Health Care Caucus, coordinated by the League in MetroPhoenix, with participants from 8 states (MA, LA, CA, WA, VT, MI, NC, CO).  Planning began in earnest among the 16 organizers in April and culminated with the caucus, early Sunday morning July 1, the last day of the convention....

The speaker for the Caucus was Claudia Fegan, a physician at Cook County Hospital and a national coordinator for PNHP (Physicians for a National Health Program.)  She was personal, emphatic, on-target (even "diverse")-everything you want in a speaker.  Her talk is on Youtube.  Check it out.
As in her talk, there are a thousand good reasons for single payer, but HOW DO WE MAKE IT HAPPEN?!

One of the early goals of the caucus was to try to elevate healthcare in League priorities at the national level, but we ended up concentrating on creating more awareness-our goal here at home.  The League is, potentially, a great resource for Single Payer, but frankly, we're going backwards.  Single Payer was first adopted by the League in 1993 and was addressed again formally from the floor of the convention in 2016, but it has slipped.  With active voter suppression and looming losses in democratic process, to say nothing of the national lack of humanity at an unimaginable scale, LWVUS feels it urgent to focus on VOTING at the expense of other advocacy....

Luckily, there's a lot of talk about Single Payer.  Lots of candidates in lots of states are "for" Single Payer.  How do we take talk and make it policy?! 

For the caucus, I'm now trying to nudge the post-conference follow-up that we talked about and volunteered for.  It's a patchy network-but it's a network, and a great goal.

Here's the new logo on the new t-shirt



  The new Voters Guide will be available August 1. It will allow voters to access personalized ballot information for candidates on the ballot, from US Senator to such county positions as District Attorney, --just by entering the voter's street address.  Voters can use the function "Make a Plan to Vote" which will show them where and when to vote, as well as emailing or texting calendar reminders to show up and vote.  
If you click here, you are brought to a site where you can request the Guide for the primary election be sent you. 
LWVMA's positions on the ballot questions

Available now: Click here to read them.
Status of Bills Supported by LWVMA 
The legislative session ends July 31, so LWVMA is encouraging us to contact our legislators (or the governor)about bills that are important to us. The mid-July 2018 Mass. League Action Newsletter contains a list of bills we are urged to support. This newsletter was sent to your mailbox, but if you missed that, and want to see it, click here. The Mid-July issue is at the top of the Mass League Action Newsletter list

LWVUS News  

Did you receive the letter from Chris Carson, introducing the new CEO of LWVUS, Virginia Kase?

Carson wrote: "With more than 20 years' experience working in the non-profit sector, she is a passionate activist and advocate for social justice.

"Virginia is currently the Chief Operating Officer of CASA, an organization at the forefront of the immigrant rights movement representing nearly 100,000 members. In her position as COO she has driven the strategic growth, direction, and operations of the organization fighting for Latino and immigrant rights. Virginia started her career in nonprofit at the age of 23 when she co-founded the Hartford Youth Peace Initiative in an effort to help reduce gang violence in her hometown of Hartford, CT."

Glamour has an interesting interview with Kase as new CEO of LWVUS (starting July 25.) You can read it here.

LWV and abolition of the Electoral College

LWVAmherst recently received a mailing from the LWV of Wilmette, Illinois. Its members
are excited that the Convention reaffirmed its position that the Electoral College should be abolished. An Illinois Electoral College Committee with members from ten or more Illinois Leagues is seeking the support of other Leagues in this effort. If you are interested, please let the Steering Committee know-- and think about the winter Program Planning meeting.

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