Amherst League of Women Voters

A Voice for Citizens, a Force for Change

February 23, 2020
In This Issue:
Elayne Berger, Book Sale Chair
Nancy Dimattio, Recorder
Trish Farrington, Publicity
Bonnie Isman, Voter Service
Ann Kieser, At-Large
Phyllis Lehrer, Membership
Susan Millinger, E-bulletin
Deanna Pearlstein, Event Organization
Janice Ratner, Treasurer
Adrienne Terrizzi, Spokesperson

February 25, 10 a.m.; registration from 9:45, Lobby Day for Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA), State House, Room 437. LWVMA is a member of this coalition. Click here for registration and more info.  
February 27, 1-2 p.m. Medicare for All: A Presentation, by Diana Stein & Barbara Pearson, Bangs Center, Rm TBA. See below for more info.  
March 1, 3-4:30 p.m.,  LWVUS and Local Program Planning, Applewood. All members are encouraged to attend.
March 2, 1-3, Steering Committee Meeting. All members are welcome to attend. Contact the chair for directions.    
March 7, 10-12, Field Service Meeting, Bread Euphoria, 206 Main St (Rte 9), Haydenville. This Regional Meeting is a great opportunity to learn what other Leagues in western MA are doing. All members are welcome.   
March 11, 2-4p.m., Medicare for All--What does It Really Mean?, talk by Diana Stein & Barbara Pearson, Bangs Center, Rm 101, More info below.  
 March 14, 3:00-4:30 p.m., Film, Standing on My Sisters' Shoulders, Woodbury Room, Jones Library. Discussion to follow led by Traci Parker, Assist.Professor of Afro-American Studies, UMass, Amherst. 
March16, 3 p.m., Book Discussion of Sweat by Lynn Nottage, Applewood.
April 4-5, Annual New England Regional League Conference,  York Community College, Wells, ME. All League members are welcome to attend. More information  in March ebull. 
June 25-28, 2020, LWV 54th National Convention, Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill & the Liaison, Washington D.C. 
To subscribe to the e-bulletin, visit and click on the blue tab "Sign up for Email Updates".
Don't forget to visit the Amherst League of Women Voters Facebook page and "like" us. Marla Jamate, our Facebook editor, does a great job and deserves a wider LWVA audience.

Our website is

LOOKING FOR people willing to take pictures occasionally at a LWVA event. Contact the editor.

STEERING COMMITTEE:A message from this month's chair, Ann Kiseser 
After the 2016 presidential election I realized that I needed to become more proactive. I couldn't just complain about what was happening to our country but needed to become involved with helping to make changes. I joined the League and its health care committee. We worked together gathering signatures to get a non-binding referendum on single payer healthcare for Massachusetts on the ballot in the 3rd Hampshire District. I had worked on political issues going door-to-door, but many years ago, so I had forgotten how much work it was to gather signatures. We got the needed signatures and the non-binding referendum passed by 88% of the vote in Amherst.

I was asked to be on the Steering Committee about a year ago and have been a proud member ever since. Proud, because I have never been part of such a knowledgeable and devoted group of women. Proud, to be a member of a group that advocates for climate change, affordable housing, healthcare reform, voter registration, and works to support the census, to name only a few of the League's worthy causes.

Having now participated in several other League events, I think that I truly understand how doing small actions toward positive change can make a difference.


Ready to turn your ideas into action?

The League of Women Voters of Amherst invites you to apply for a Civic Action Grant.

Grants must be directly related to a program area which has been studied and adopted by the LWV-US, the LWV of Massachusetts, or the LWV of Amherst. Topics include, for example, environmental issues related to the climate crisis, affordable housing, and expanded access to voting. You can review the LWV of Amherst program book online here

The action priorities of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts are also available online here

No grants will be given to support a political party or candidates for office.

We welcome applications from League members and non-profit groups, students and the general public. Individual grants will be made up to $1,000. Apply soon, as applications will be considered in the order they are submitted.

For more information about Civic Action Grants and to apply online, visit the LWV of Amherst website.

What You can do to Help the Homeless: Affordable Housing Action Opportunity
Last spring the League supported the Studio Apartment Proposal for Northampton Road. For state funding, the project now needs individual statements of support. You can submit your own individual comments from the town's website, or you can send an email to, or a letter addressed to Christine Brestrup, Planning Director, Town of Amherst, 4 Boltwood Avenue, Amherst.

Note: the deadline for comments arriving at the town about the housing on Northampton Road is Wed, Feb 26

The Steering Committee sent a letter of support from the Amherst League: you can find it at our website, here.


Calling All Members for Program Planning

Join the League Members and the Steering Committee for this important meeting on Sunday, March 1, 3:00-4:30 p.m. at Applewood. Be involved in choosing the issues the League will study and take action on in 2020-2021.

The League alternates each year between National and State Program Planning. This year is National Planning. The process is an important League tool for identifying issues to study, review or update, or for concurrence. The National LWV makes decisions about where to focus our advocacy and education efforts based on the priorities the individual Leagues identify. We will also discuss issues that our Amherst League may want to study.

LWVUS's biennial recommended program includes continuing the campaign for "Making Democracy Work," with a focus on redistricting, voting rights, improving elections and campaign finance/money in politics.

LWVMA is joining other Leagues throughout the nation in urging National to emphasize the Climate Emergency. LWVMA has asked us to support adding 'Climate Emergency' to the proposed 'Making Democracy Work" program or to create a new, parallel "Climate Emergency" program.

Program planning will culminate with adoption of a program of education and action at National Convention 2020 in Washington, DC in June.

Be part of this important Program Planning discussion! Come add your voice to this always lively and engaged membership meeting. Please see the 2020-2022 Leaders' Guide to Program Planning  for an overview as well as the survey. Several hard copies of the survey will be available on March 1, 3:00 PM at Applewood.

To see LWVMA's proposal to add an emphasis on the Climate Emergency. click here

Health Care Talks

Barbara Pearson and Diana Stein will be giving two talks at the Amherst Senior Center-
Bangs Center. On February 27, from 1-2 p.m., Room TBA, they will speak on Medicare for All, A Presentation. On March 11, from 2-4 p.m. in Room 101, as part of the New Options Community Group, the topic will be Medicare for All--What Does it Really Mean?

Reminder: The LWV A Health Care Committee is now working as half or part of the Amherst Area Hub of the larger group Western Mass Care Medicare for All. =  WMM4All.  The LWV A HC Committee had one separate meeting to discuss issues about being part of the Hub. 
Film: Standing on My Sisters' Shoulders, March 14, 3-4:30, Woodbury Room, Jones Library

Cosponsored by the Jones Library and LWVA's Centennial Commemoration Committee, Standing on My Sisters' Shoulders is a reminder that the passage of the 19th Amendment did not bring Afro-American women the vote: voter suppression of Black women and men in the south prevented them from casting ballots.
This award-winning and powerful documentary reveals a missing chapter in our nation's Civil Rights movement, focusing on the courageous women who lived it and emerged as its grassroots leaders. Set in 1965, when three women from Mississippi walked into the US House of Representatives in Washington D.C., the film uses historical footage and original interviews.

Discussion to follow led by Traci Parker, Assistant Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Victoria Jackson Gray Adams at 1964 Democratic Convention.

The League has been having this celebration for 17 years (thanks to Eva Cashdan's insightful idea), but this year the February 15th event seemed particularly festive and meaningful to me.  Why?
*  We were commemorating important milestones or "big birthdays" as my family calls them:  100 years for the national and the state, and 80 for our local League.
*Over 70 people attended...greeting each other, catching up, conversing, laughing-enjoying the company of former members who came from out-of-town. Each new member was given a packet of lovely note cards.

Two old hands exchange stories: Lucy Benson and John Olver 
Spokesperson Adrienne Terrizzi 
Many former presidents
*Adrienne Terrizzi, our spokeswoman par excellence, welcomed us all and introduced the afternoon by recounting some of our current undertakings:  working on the census, starting the nominating committee, inaugurating the Civic Action Grants, distributing constitutions through the libraries, planning for a high school student award and of course THE BOOK SALE.
Listening to Jo 
*Jo Comerford, our state senator and guest speaker, filled us in on the bills she has been working on, all of which reflect the concerns and policies of our League such as climate crisis, same day voting, east/west rail service, health care, for some examples.  You could feel the audience's warm and  agreeable response to her talk.  We are so lucky to have her represent us! 
*In an emotional and heartfelt tribute, Jo thanked the former legislators--Stan Rosenberg, Ellen Story, and John Oliver--for laying the ground work and providing guidance and inspiration to our current representatives.  Gratitude well deserved.
Sen Comerford speaking.
Audience listening .
Thanking the speaker with an LWV Amherst mug! 
*Delicious food, leftovers, a delectable and picturesque cake, name tags, bookmark favors for each (thanks Deanna) rounded out the afternoon.  I think we left with a feeling of appreciation of how much our League has accomplished and interest for all that lies ahead in the coming year.
-Trish Farrington 

Town Council Proclamation in Commemoration of LWV's 100th Anniversary and Women's Suffrage.

League members (pictured) joined Adrienne Terrizzi in Town Hall at Town Council meeting to accept the Town's Proclamation on behalf of the LWVA, thank members of the Council, describe future commemorative events and the action the League will take in our community to ensure a complete census count. Copies of the US Constitution and of our 'Get out the Census Count' campaign cards, launched February 14, our National Day of Action were given to Councilors and others in attendance.

LWV National Day of Action. February 14 2020
LWVA's 2020 Census Task Force chose the anniversary of our 100th year to launch its campaign to 'Get out the Census Count,' responding to LWVUS's call to all local and state Leagues to mark the anniversary with a special Day of Action. Ten League members with buttons and suffragette sashes fanned out in downtown Amherst in 20 degree temperatures distributing over 200 of our information and 'Why it Matters' Census cards, answering questions and leaving our literature with several businesses.

Most consternating issue? Amherst's annual street lists were received in the same week, leaving residents thinking they'd completed the decennial US Census. What did we learn from the first of a series of 2020 Census efforts? Our work has just begun! We need more outreach, informing immigrants, non-citizens, every grad and undergraduate student living off campus in multi-unit residences, parents with children under age 5, that if they are living in Amherst on April 1st they ALL need to be counted for our fair share of federal funding and fair representation at the local, state and national level.

Information cards will soon be available in Mandarin and Spanish. In the planning are several Public Service Announcements on Amherst Media as well as a census panel on 'Byline with Stan Rosenberg.' Please join us if you've an hour or two in our important outreach efforts. For more information: contact Adrienne Terrizzi.
(No pictures-- it was too cold for picture-taking!)

Women's March in Springfield, January 18, 2020

Gathering before the March.
Walking to City Hall
Adele with her sign.

Suffragists Barbara and Ann on City Hall Steps
Perfect sign for LWV: Voting is my Superpower!

Voter Service News 
Voter registration cards have been printed for ARHS students to help them register for the March 3 primary. Voter Service members emailed the ARHS vice-principal and took the cards to the school. The school secretary said that the registration information is also stapled to each student's graduation papers at the end of the school year.
The Survival Center will also have a stack of the voter registration cards.

Don't forget to vote in the Primary, March 3!
-Bonnie Isman, Chair
Woody biomass.
Sustainability and Climate Action Committee (SACAC)

The SACAC has been meeting regularly. Our most urgent current activity is to work to reverse the Baker Administration's definition of burning woody biomass as "renewable energy." The issue is urgent, since the proposed Palmer/Springfield wood-burning power plant has received its permit. So far, the project has been stalled because the
subsidies needed for the plant to be profitable are not allowed by the Patrick Administration's definition of Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). The Baker Administration seeks to change that.

Wood-fired plants are less efficient than fossil fuels; they produce more
carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour of electricity generated than coal; and
they emit high levels of particulate pollution. The Pioneer Valley already
features the worst particulate air pollution in the Northeast!  Although
a bill has been introduced to the legislature to reverse this definition,
the bill did not move forward out of committee.

For a more detailed discussion of the problem of defining biomass as renewable energy. see our

One of our members attends the Town's Energy and Climate Action Committee's
meetings, so that we stay informed of the ECAC's plans.  A volunteer Zero
Waste Committee has recently formed in Amherst.  Laura MacLeod is our liason
with the Zero Waste Committee.

-Martha Hanner, Chair pro tem
Inter-League Connecticut River Basin Committee

The Connecticut River, 410 miles long, flows through or beside five of the six New England states. Its watershed drains 11,000 square miles. Its longest undammed tributary is the Fort River that flows NE to SW through Amherst. American shad are the keystone species of this river. Its range will extend into Vermont and New Hampshire. It spends 4-5 years in the ocean and then returns to the river to spawn. The fish dies right after spawning.
Andy Fiske, executive director of the Connecticut River Conservancy, recently discussed future goals for the Connecticut River based on the goals of the federal Clean Water Act: protect the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the waters of the country. Those local goals include: 1.2 million shad in the river; removal of deadbeat dams, 10-12/year; eliminate overflow pipes emptying into the river; remove remaining sewage pipes discharging into the river; prevent recyclable materials from being dumped into the river. There is a lot of work to be done!

Elizabeth Davis, Chair

Transportation Call to Action

The T4MA (Transportation for Massachusetts) coalition is holding a Call to Action at the State House Tuesday, Feb. 25, and LWVMA is a co-sponsor. Please come to show support for proposed legislation to resolve our statewide transportation woes and propel us forward in the fight against climate change.

Look for Tanya Roy, LWVMA's transportation legislative specialist, at the event. This lobby day is in Room 437 at the State House, with registration at 9:45 a.m. and the program starting at 10 a.m. For more information and to RSVP, click here.
Student Video Contest
This year's student video contest will ask high school students throughout the Commonwealth to make a 30-second video answering the question "Should 16-Year-Olds Have the Right to Vote?"
Information about the theme and the contest rules has been posted on LWVMA's website.  Information has or will be sent to all League members and to high schools and community cable TV stations throughout Massachusetts. The contest will be open until March 31. Winners, who receive a cash prize, will be announced May 1, and there will be a ceremony for winners in June.

Moderator Training
LWV-trained moderators conducting candidates' forums are a key part to making sure democracy is not a spectator sport. The moderator subcommittee of the LWVMA Voter Engagement committee understands that more members would like to become trained moderators and that current moderators would like a refresher course. We will be working with local Leagues to set up moderator training sessions. Once dates and locations are set, we will send out registration information. Our goal is to have trainings in several regions starting in February. To help plan locations, please email Brynne Gorman if you would like to attend moderator training.
New England Regional Conference

League members from the six New England states (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut) are invited to the annual New England Regional League Conference, Saturday and Sunday, April 4-5, at York Community College in  Wells, ME. The focus of the conference and its speakers will be understanding and overcoming barriers to voting among those who are disenfranchised and those who are disinterested. Look for more details and the announcement of registration around Feb. 1
Of interest:

LWV CEO Virginia Kase's statement on the Iowa Caucuses: read it here

Blog post, "The Equal Rights Amendment: What Happens Now?" read it here.
E-bulletin Staff and Contributors in February  
The Editor of the LWVAmherst e-bulletin, Susan Millinger, can be contacted here. The Associate Editor is Trish Farrington; Janice Ratner and Phyllis Lehrer proofread the issue; Kay Fite checks the links. Contributors to the February 2020 e-bulletin include LWVA members Kathy Smith Campbell, Elizabeth Davis, Trish Farrington, Martha Hanner, Ann Kieser, Diana Stein and Adrienne Terrizzi. Material on LWVMA comes from either the League Leader Update or Mass League Voter. Pictures come from Jerry Brubaker, Diana Stein, Adrienne Terrizzi and the editor.
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