February 2019
Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.

The League of Women Voters is a national, political organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in their government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.  The League is non-partisan and as an organization does not endorse or oppose candidates or political parties.

New Logo - the LWV of the US has created new logos for all state and local Leagues. This is ours.
The Howling Babes with Heather DeGroot
The Howling Babes with Heather DeGroot
Happy 50th Anniversary, Midland

Despite ice & snow, and a change of date, the 50th Anniversary Party was held Monday, Feb 18. We celebrated with socializing, singing and cake, followed by a champagne toast.

Many thanks to Heather DeGroot and The Howling Babes  - Nancy Bramblett, Julie Ortiz and Carol McPherson for entertainment, to Judy Donahue, Judy McDowell, Sandra Haughton, Carol McPherson, Kim Steinke, Sandy Collinson, and Carol Swinehart for planning and execution.

Below, you will see a new heading: Advocacy. I will be including information on Advocacy issues at the National, State and Local level so that people may remain informed. I encourage everyone to sign up for the League Update from LWVUS. There is also a League blog.

The February Board Meeting was canceled due to weather. The March Board meeting will incorporate items requiring attention, such as the budget.

To Honor our African American Leaders: African American Women Leaders in the Suffrage Movement - from Turning Point Suffragist Memorial site. 
Panel on Midland County Housing Analysis - Where are we and Where are we going
Wed., 3/27, 7-8:30pm

Midland County Housing Analysis 

  • Grant Murshcel, Midland Director of Planning and Community Development
  • Sharon Mortensen, President and CEO of Midland Community Action Foundation
  • Jill Sutton, Exec. Director of MidMichigan Community Action Agency
Program Meeting
Local Program Meeting
Thursday, March 14, 1:30-3:30
Creative 360
We will be discussing Local Program and Positions.
State Convention

The State Convention will be held at the Embassy Suites in Livonia, May 17-19, 2019. Our League is allowed 6 voting delegates, but anyone may attend.

See LWVMI web page for more information.

Staying Informed
Information is sent out from the LWV of the United States and the LWV of Michigan to keep us up to date on advocacy issues that the League is following. The best way to keep up is to take note of League Links from the LWVMI and to subscribe to League Update from LWVUS. You will also receive this newsletter THE VOTER as part of your local membership.

I try to highlight issues of current interest in THE VOTER each month and they are posted online.
Midland League Member Testifies in Lawsuit
Karen Sherwood testified in the LWV v Johnson lawsuit.

Karen was chosen to testify because she met the requirements being sought by the attorneys:  (1)was a member of the League; (2) was a registered voter in Michigan; (3) actually voted in the elections after 2011 - when the latest redistricting occurred;  and (4) lived in gerrymandered districts - specifically State Senate District 36 where Jim Stamas was elected, and U.S. Congressional District 4 where John Moolenaar was elected. Also, she is a declared Democrat with no chance of electing a candidate of my choice who will truly represent my views either at the state or national level.

Testimony Tuesday afternoon was fascinating!  A young social scientist professor testified all afternoon about charts and graphs that showed how very gerrymandered the state is.  In comparison to other states and other redistricting that was done using partisan criteria, Michigan ranks in the 90th percentile, 0 being no evidence at all of partisan redistricting and 100 being redistricted in the most partisan way possible!  There were charts and formulas, graphs and dots, X'es and boxes, etc.  Once I even heard 99.7% to describe the partisan evidence of a district!  It was truly fascinating and really increased my awareness of the effects of partisan gerrymandering.
Testimony went well, as described in this Detroit News article. We await the Judges' ruling in late February.  

From LWVUS  
REMINDER:  HR1 February Recess Activities

Congress will be back in their districts February 18 to 22, which presents the perfect opportunity to discuss the need for HR1, the For the People Act. As part of the Declaration for American Democracy Coalition, the League is encouraging our members to attend town halls and events set up to promote HR1 around the country. A map of events is available. If you don't see an event in your community, you can sign up to host an event of your own. Please use the League talking points when discussing this bill with your Representatives and Senators. 

Michigan's Talent Crisis - Report

The Education Trust- Midwest, a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization, has published their 2016 Michigan State of Education Report. The report deals with steps to reach the goal of becoming a top ten education state. Today, Michigan's K-12 system is among the weakest in the country and getting worse. In a little more than a decade, Michigan has gone from being a fairly average state in elementary reading and math achievement to the bottom 10 states. This is a devastating fall.
  Read the report here.

Census 2020

Chloe Updegraf is the Census Hub Coordinator for the Great Lakes Bay Region. I spoke with her about what we could do. I met with Chloe to discuss how the LWV can help ensure the region gets an accurate count in the upcoming 2020 census. Chloe will be working with local non-profits, community organizations, colleges/universities, and local government officials to overcome problems due to reduced funding of the Census Bureau.

Issues include:
  • Regional and local Census offices are being reduced by 50%. 
  • Online-first model - need to support people with limited access to the internet
  • Door-to-door outreach will be scaled back  (which could hinder the response rate of lower-income populations or those who have limited access to the internet). 
  • Potential for an immigration status question which could prevent immigrant populations from feeling comfortable taking part in the Census. The US Supreme Court will be hearing this.
Chloe will be working closely with local organizations by providing support, training, partnership, and funding to assure an accurate count of the region (especially in hard-to-count populations), as well as giving an important voice to each resident of the Great Lakes Bay area.

The LWVMI is part of the Michigan Nonprofit Association coalition for 
The count from the 2020 census determines the number of Michigan Congressional delegates and also the amount of federal funding Michigan receives from many federally funded programs. It is estimated that each person counted generates $1800 in federal funds given to Michigan. 

The campaign is spearheaded by the  Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) with seed funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and support from the  Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF).

If you are interested in volunteering or working for the Census, please see these web sites:

Upcoming Events

3/14 - Local Program Meeting - Creative 360, 1:30-3:30pm
Wed, 3/27 - Midland County Housing Panel - Creative 360 7-8:30pm 
5/15 - Annual Meeting - Midland Country Club

5/27 - Memorial Day Parade - Downtown Midland
6/18 - Pontoon boat ride and dinner at Sanford Lake bar and grill

LWV logo
Board Members
The board meets the First Thursday of each month at Creative360, 9:30-11:30. No meeting in June or July. All members are welcome. 

President - Katherine Redwine
Treasurer - Karen Sherwood
Secretary - Judy McDowell
VP Membership - Carol McPherson
VP Program -  Judy Donahue
Director, Voter Service - Sue McCollister
Director, Voter Service - Kim Steinke
Director, Natural Resources - Carole Swinehart
Director, Natural Resources - Sandy Collinson
Director, Sandy Haughton
Director, Webpage - Julie Schmidt
Director, Print Media - Cathy Heng
Director, Sharron Such
Director, Terry Townley
Director, Bay County Convener - Pam Saddler

Quick Links
LWV Forum
LWV-Bay County (geographical unit of LWV Midland Area)
LWV-Lake Michigan Region
City of Midland
Midland County
Grace A Dow Memorial Library
Midland Public Schools
Your Elected Officials, p.1
Your Elected Officials, p.2 logo
In This Issue
Our Sponsors
When you visit our sponsors, please identify yourself as a LWV Member
Everett Carpet logo
Link to Space Studios_ Inc
business card for Shirlene_s Cuisine
business card for Partners in Change
Michigan Advocacy
Michigan Owners Manual - Michigan League for Public Policy
Michigan Talent Crisis - The Education Trust - Midwest
Local Advocacy
National Advocacy

Interested in Joining? 
Use this  here or email   Carol McPherson

League of Women Voters of the Midland Area  
P.O. Box 1203
Midland, MI 48641-1203