Holiday Newsletter  - Volume 7, Issue 3*


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, Fran Rothstein, Emily Shetty, Paul Schwartz, Ed Kimmel, Mary Lou Fox, Melanie Kreidich, Joan Riggs, Ashley Rhinehart, Laurie Duker, Enid Light, Joan Gervino, and Shruti Bhatnagar for their contributions to this newsletter.  

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

* The 2016 September and October/November Newsletters were erroneously numbered.


Although the outcome of this year's Presidential election was not what any of us expected or wanted, I want to take a minute to thank all of our dedicated WDC volunteers who gave their all to the Hillary for President campaign.  Your efforts put you on the right side of history, and we should be proud of that.  We should also be proud that our efforts helped elect our terrific Democratic candidates here in Maryland.  Thanks to all who helped us get out the vote for
Chris Van Hollen, Elijah Cummings, John Delaney, Steny Hoyer, Jamie Raskin, Dutch Ruppersberger, and John Sarbanes.

Our work continues, and will be more important than ever during the Trump administration.  As a first order of business, WDC is thrilled to be participating in the Women's March on Washington on Saturday, January 21st.  Our advocacy work also remains a critical part of our focus as an organization.  

I'm gratified to have the opportunity to lead this wonderful organization of vibrant, energetic and dedicated volunteers, and want to wish each and every one of you best wishes for the Holidays and the New Year.




The Woman's Democratic Club of Montgomery County invites you to join us in a united effort to participate in the Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017 from 10 am to 5 pm.  Let's start the Trump administration off with a protest for women's rights in Washington, D.C.!

We will send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office and to the world that we stand together in solidarity for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health and our families -- recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.
The purpose of the march will be to unify communities, create new relationships, and kick off the grassroots effort for women's rights!

The Women's March on Washington is set to start at 10 am at a location to be determined (likely the Lincoln Memorial) and will end at the White House gates at 5 pm in Washington, D.C.  General participation in The Women's March on Washington is free. This is an INCLUSIVE march, and EVERYONE who supports women's rights is welcome.

Please click  here  to confirm your participation and sign up to volunteer at the event with the Woman's Democratic Club of Montgomery County, Maryland. We need help with carpools, hosting residences, and creative skills to help us create posters for the event.

We will be designating a meetup location on the Mall in downtown Washington, D.C. once the march route has been confirmed. Stay tuned!
If you have questions, please contact WDC members Melanie Kreidich ( and Shruti Bhatnagar (



Monday, January 9

 Luncheon with Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett
 Courtyard Marriott
 5520 Wisconsin Ave.
 Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Details to follow soon.

Thursday, January 12

Happy Hour Image WDC Special Happy Hour In Support of Democratic Issues and the Women's March
5:30 to 7:30 PM
8501 Hazelwood Drive, Bethesda (Home of Enid Light)

Calling All Members and Prospective Members. Now is the time to:

*To Talk About Strategies and Plans for the Next Election 
*Network and Socialize with Friends and Like-minded Democrats
*Hear Interesting Speakers (stay tuned for list of invited presenters)

Let's make a difference!

Please bring an appetizer or beverage and bring your friends (men and women )!

Updates to follow|

Thursday, December 15

Committee for Montgomery Annual Legislative Breakfast
7:00 - 9:30 AM
Bethesda North Marriott
5701 Marinelli Road, North Bethesda
This year's program is "Finding Common Ground:  The City of Baltimore and Montgomery County, a conversation moderated by longtime Maryland politics commentator Josh Kurtz, and featuring Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and State Senator, Presumptive Mayor of Baltimore, Catherine Pugh.
To secure a sponsorship, purchase tables, or individual seats, visit .  For more information, contact Barbara Henry or call 301-960-5263.  


Women's Legislative Briefing Sunday January 29, 2017

The Universities at Shady Grove, Building II, 
9630 Gudelsky Drive, Rockville, MD 20850
Doors Open at 11:30 am, Program 12:30-6 pm

Regular Registration:  $30.00 in advance
                                 $40.00 at the door  

The Women's Legislative Briefing (WLB) is the premier and longest-standing women's legislative event in the state of Maryland. It is coordinated by the Montgomery County Commission for Women and brings together advocates, policy makers, and emerging leaders to empower, engage, and mobilize Marylanders around issues affecting women and girls throughout the state. 

The purpose of the briefing is to provide information on legislative issues of concern to women and families, including bills that will be introduced in the upcoming sessions of the Maryland General Assembly and U.S. Congress.  Local and state officials are invited to attend the briefing. The ending reception allows participants the opportunity to meet with their legislators and discuss issues of concern.

For more information, please contact the Montgomery County Commission for Women at 240-777-8333 or   
WDC will have a table with information about our club, membership forms, and other materials.  We need volunteers to staff the table in 2-hour increments throughout the day.  If you volunteer, WDC will cover the registration fee.  Please contact Enid Light, or Joan Gervino, ., if you can help at this important event.


                                             by Fran Rothstein and Emily Shetty

Despite the devastating election results, our WDC Advocacy committee has been hard at work! On October 22, three Committee members (Lorig Charkoudian, Ginger Macomber, and Fran Rothstein) attended the Maryland Legislative Agenda for Maryland legislative conference at Anne Arundel Community College on behalf of WDC.  Among other outcomes, we were able to share legislative proposals presented by leading advocacy organizations and legislators at the conference with our Committee, and several of those are now included in WDC's legislative priorities.
In addition, we are gearing up for the Annapolis legislative session, making contacts with our state legislators to identify issues where we may be able to have an impact, and planning to take an active role, as we did in the 2016 legislative session. 
Linda Kolko Testifying at Hearing.
On November 16, WDC President Linda Kolko presented testimony on behalf of the Club at the Montgomery County delegation joint hearing on legislative priorities. To view this testimony, click here.

In addition, we submitted written testimony in support of Councilman Elrich's $15 minimum wage bill that the County Council will begin to consider in December.  We also wrote to the County Executive in support of safe exchange and supervised visitation centers for victims of domestic violence and their children.  Although several WDC and Committee members are interested in pursuing affordable housing at the County level,
We have not yet succeeded in identifying a housing issues co-captain. If you, or someone you know, has an interest in following housing issues for WDC, please contact Advocacy Committee co-chairs Fran Rothstein ( or Emily Shetty (
We are very pleased that our committee continues to grow.  We have also heard from a few more WDC members who are willing to receive our Advocacy Alerts and make calls to their legislators in support of specific legislation on an as-needed basis.  If you are interested in signing up for our opt-in list, please contact Emily Shetty ( ). 

As a postscript there is good news on safe child exchange & supervised visitation! Safe child exchange and supervised visitation services on the way! See the excerpt from Court Watch Montgomery's first newsletter below:

 "County Executive Ike Leggett and HHS personnel are now planning the first in a network of safe child exchange and supervised visitation centers to keep domestic violence survivors safe as they exchange their children for visits.  The center will provide supervised visits when unsupervised visits are deemed unsafe.  We are hopeful that the first center, which is expected to be in Rockville, will open by May, 2017.  Mr. Leggett has committed to include funds for the ongoing operation of this first center in his next budget, which will go to the County Council March 31, 2017."

Click here to sign up to receive Court Watch Montgomery's monthly newsletters


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

The outcome of the presidential election on the health care reform landscape may be substantial.  The White House and both Houses of Congress are controlled by the "Accountable Care Act Repeal and Replace" party.  There are many uncertainties surrounding this and the future of reform, but we can get a glimpse of that future by looking at the President- Elect's healthcare platform .  This platform includes "modernizing" Medicare and "maximizing flexibility" for Medicaid among other strategies that raise concerns for consumers. 

While there is much discussion about moving ahead rapidly, repeal won't happen overnight, particularly as there is no consensus on the replace part.  Timothy Jost of Health Affairs, provides an initial look at the future in a November 9th blog post .

On the policy and advocacy front, we at Consumer Health First are developing our strategic and advocacy agendas to address the issues at both the State and Federal level.   It is imperative that in Maryland we continue to move forward, not backward.  We will continue to keep you informed of the latest news and share our ideas and solicit yours.

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

                                                        by Enid Light

 The WDC Post Election Happy Hour was held at the Lebanese Taverna on November 10 and was attended by a large number of members and potential members. WDC members and guests talked about, "where do we go from here", and there were many thoughtful ideas. We also had a chance to reflect on our successes and losses.  Maryland elected a strong Democratic delegation of which we can be proud! There will be many more WDC discussions, events, strategy sessions and gatherings in the future. This one was what was needed today! Cheers to all of our members who worked so hard campaigning.

Also, a shout out to Kamal who is the manager at the Lebanese Taverna. He and his staff welcomed us and helped with extra tables and chairs to accommodate the overflow crowd!

                                                                                                    by Paul Schwartz

The 2016 presidential election has got to be the most surprising upset in presidential election history and the most devastating to progressive politics.
On November 18, pollster Fred Yang, partner with Hart Research Associates, addressed the Woman's Democratic Club of Montgomery County to attempt to shed some light on how so many pollsters could not have seen this disaster coming.
He made a valiant effort.

To begin with, Mr. Yang pointed out that the four points in the national polls Hillary Clinton was up on election day were within the margin of error.  Accordingly, the pollsters weren't actually wrong. Not a very satisfying explanation.  Mr. Yang went on, however, to point out that the real question that needs to be answered is why she had dropped from outside the margin of error to within that margin of error at the time of the election.
To that question there are no easy answers.
Mr. Yang did agree that F.B.I. Director Comey's letters likely had a major impact but he also pointed out that it really shouldn't have been close enough for that impact to have cost her the election. The lessons of this election must go well beyond the Comey letter if Democrats are to change the course of elections as we approach the 2018 midterms and the next presidential election in 2020.
Here is some data to think about that Mr. Yang shared during his presentation. First, Hillary Clinton won the nationwide popular vote by more than 1.5 million votes. (As of December 4, 2016, she has received 2.5 million more votes than Trump) That would indicate that, technically, the pollsters were not wrong. Not much consolation, though, considering it is Donald J. Trump who is the president-elect. So where did the election go wrong?
According to Mr. Yang, it happened not in the red states or even the swing states.  It happened in three very blue states, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Moreover, what happened in strong Democratic pockets around the entire country is indicative of what went so horribly wrong.

In Wisconsin, for example, she lost by only 11,000 votes. The problem: there were 23,000 fewer votes cast in Milwaukee, Wisconsin's major city, than in 2012.  The same can be said for the other states. It all boiled down to turnout. Because of lower turnout in the big cities like Detroit and Philadelphia and the surrounding urban suburbs, Clinton could not make up the difference in those key blue states.  Add to this the fact that there was greater turnout for Trump than Romney in 2012 in Red America and you have the formula for a Republican win.
The question then becomes not how Hillary Clinton lost the election. The answer to that is turnout. As Mr. Yang points out, the black voters who came out in droves for President Obama in 2008 and 2012 simply did not come out in the same numbers for Hillary Clinton even though she won the black vote by a significant margin.

The real question that must be answered is not the how but the why.  The answer to that question is simply that her message did not resonate with a large segment of the electorate.  The best example provided by Mr. Yang was Elliot County Kentucky. In every presidential election from 1868 to 2012 this county voted Democrat. This is not surprising since the number of registered Democrats in this county outnumber Republicans by 10 1/2 to one. In 2008 President Obama beat John McCain 61 percent to 39 percent in this county. In 2012 President Obama beat Mitt Romney by a margin of 50 to 47. In 2016 Trump won by a margin of 70 to 26. That about sums it up.
Mr. Yang was gracious enough to field a string of questions from the audience. Regarding a question on how Bernie Sanders supporters voted, Mr. Yang indicated that there were not many Democrats who didn't vote for Hillary Clinton. He did not see this issue as significant.
A question was asked as to whether the polls were able to identify any racist aspects. Mr. Yang was only able to note that 90 percent of Trump's vote was white.
Regarding the issue about the F.B.I. Directors impact on the outcome, Mr. Yang pointed out that 13 percent of the voters made their decision within the two days leading up to the election.  Accordingly, the Comey letters certainly did impact the election, but, as previously mentioned, the election should not have been so close for it to have had such an impact.
Regarding voter suppression, Mr. Yang recognized that there was, indeed, lower voter turnout by African American voters but whether to attribute the lower turnout to voter suppression or simple apathy is anyone's guess.
As for Maryland, Mr. Yang gave quite a descriptive assessment. He likened the election to an infection that contaminated most states but somehow managed to totally miss Maryland. This was evidenced by our elections of Chris Van Hollen, Jamie Raskin, John Sarbanes and John Delaney by rather huge margins to go along with the presidential election which saw Hillary Clinton win almost two thirds of the Maryland vote. Of particular note is that Chris Van Hollen was able to win Baltimore County by some 16 percent over the Republican from Baltimore County. Bravo Maryland!


To WDC Board Member (Event Planner) Shebra Evans on her election to the Montgomery County Board of Education!

To WDC Member and writer extraordinaire Paul Schwartz who was awarded the Comptroller's Coin from Maryland's Comptroller Peter Franchot, along with NARFE cohort Bob Doyle, in recognition of "Excellence, Service and Sacrifice". Paul and Bob recently met with Comptroller Franchot to discuss the path forward for Maryland seniors.


                              by Linda Kolko
Leon Billings

The WDC mourns the loss of Leon Billings, who died November 15 in Nashville. He was 78.  Leon was a Member of the Maryland House of Delegates (District 18) from 1991 to 2003. He served on many committees related to the environment and was the co-founder of the Maryland Green Caucus in 1996.

Mr. Billings served as a former aide to Sen. Edmund Muskie (D-Maine) and a key author of the Clean Air Act and other landmark environmental laws.  As staff director of the Senate environment subcommittee from 1966 to 1978, he was a primary author of the 1970 Clean Air Act, one of the first and most influential environmental laws in U.S. history and a foundation for current air pollution laws. He also played a key role in the 1972 Clean Water Act, the primary federal law governing water pollution, and 1977 amendments to the air and water pollution laws. The Club extends its condolences to his widow Cherry Allen Billings and the entire Billings family. To read Leon's obituary, please click here,.

The dues cycle for WDC is from September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017 so you should have already received a membership renewal letter in the mail.  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 , and she will be able to advise you.
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 ) 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 or call WDC President Linda Kolko at 301-785-1342.  Please note that if we did not receive your renewal by February 1, you were not listed in the 2016 Membership Directory.

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.
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. We are also looking for a member to help organize our monthly Happy Hour.  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




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 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
Woman's Democratic Club
Sybil Cantor
Email Coordinator