Keeping Members Better Informed, 
Better Connected, and More Politically Effective 
November Newsletter - Volume 8 Issue 2
In This Issue
Thank You to Our Contributors
Thanks to Casey Anderson, Shruti Bhatnagar, Diana Conway, Tracy Dhyani, Andrea Grossman, Linda Kolko, Enid Light, Ginger Macomber, Barbara Nouveau, Lynn Olson, Teddi Pensinger, Ashley Rhinehart, Joan Riggs, Fran Rothstein, Paul Schwartz, Debbie Stine, Emily Shetty, Nancy Walker, Bonnie Wicklund, and Brenda Wolff for their contributions to this newsletter.
We will publish the next newsletter after the holiday season. In the interim, look for our weekly updates and social media news  ( Facebook and Twitter).
Having Trouble Receiving Our Emails?
Some members have had difficulty receiving WDC emails sent to their Verizon email addresses. Here is an article posted by Verizon about what to do with your existing Verizon email account for better service. In addition, please check your spam and promotions folder.
If you don't think you are receiving all our emails and would like us to use a different email address, contact Tracy Dhyani at .
President's Message by Fran Rothstein
 Earlier this month, I came across this quote from Reverend William Barber, whom you probably remember for his riveting speech at the 2016 Democratic convention:

A truly moral agenda must be anti-racist, anti-poverty, pro-justice, pro-labor, transformative, and deeply rooted and built within a fusion coalition. It would ask of all policy, is the policy Constitutionally consistent, morally defensible, and economically sane. We call this moral analysis and moral articulation which leads to moral activism.

You can read more about Reverend Barber here:

A moral agenda guides our Woman's Democratic Club. Rev. Barber's criteria are similar to those that help our Advocacy committee determine its legislative priorities (along with, of course, "pro-women and pro-families" - which one could argue falls within Rev. Barber's "anti-poverty and pro-justice" criteria). Members of PACE, our Political Activism and Civic Engagement committee, likewise pursue a moral agenda as they lead our Club in moral activism.  

Bobby Kennedy pursued a moral agenda vigorously, as Chris Matthews demonstrated when he spoke to WDC last month about his new book, Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit , which I enthusiastically recommend to you if you have not yet read it.

I am a Democrat in large part because of our Party's moral vision. Because we're Democrats, we often appear to be "all over the map" in our proposals, but, ultimately, most of the time, just like the universe, we arc toward justice. Our opposition - not so much. If, as I believe, a budget is a moral document, all you have to do is take a look at the Republican tax reform proposal to see why we can't let up in our efforts to elect Democrats.

The first part of WDC's mission is "to elect Democrats." WDC members helped accomplish that goal in Virginia, with resounding victories for Ralph Northam and other statewide candidates, and also for quite a few state legislators. If ever a moral vision was in play, we saw it in Virginia, where our opposition showed their true colors by demonizing immigrants, closing their hearts to low-income people who rely on Medicaid, and glorifying gun culture and Virginia's Confederate legacy. Full credit to our new PACE committee (Political Activism and Civic Engagement), PACE co-chairs Barbara Noveau and Nancy Walker, and our partners DoTheMostGood and J Walkers Action Group, who coordinated phone banks and canvassing. Thanks to everyone of you who helped.

Now, let's all pivot back to Maryland, where we'll need Democratic unity and Democratic energy - along with our strong moral vision - to defeat Hogan in 2018.

Fran Rothstein
Save the Date: Friday, December 8, Luncheon with Senator Van Hollen



Watch your inbox for details and registration information.  
Trip to National African American Museum of History and Culture
WDC Trip:  The National African American Museum of History and Culture
By Fran Rothstein

"So much to see!"
"Spectacular collection!"
"I'm already planning my next visit."

Those were among the comments from WDC members who visited the National African American Museum of History and Culture the first Sunday morning in October. We marveled at the building's architecture, even before marveling at the collection inside.

We began our visit in the Museum's lower level, where the darkness and the ominously narrow passageways evoke the slave ships of America's past. Around each bend was a new revelation. Some of us made it all the way up through the Civil War and the Civil Rights struggles to the Museum's top level, where multi-media exhibits celebrate African American accomplishments in leadership, scholarship, music and the arts, sports, and other fields. Others found themselves immersed in a video, a publication, or even the Museum's top-rated restaurant.

One of my favorite elements was this statement about the role of women:


WDC member Will Jawando kindly arranged for two knowledgeable guides to join our group. Haili Francis, from the Smithsonian's Traveling Exhibition Service, and Alaina Gibbs, an Ambassador for the Museum, answered our questions and pointed out Montgomery County references. Thanks also to Past WDC President Beth Tomasello, who secured our block of tickets, and to Lucy Freeman for coordinating attendance.  

I'm confident those of us who visited will return soon to absorb more lessons from the Museum collection.
Author and TV Host Chris Matthews Enthralls Audience at October Luncheon
Chris Matthews with WDC VP Riki Sheehan
Image via FLICKR view more images from this event here.

Chris Matthews Previews His New Book at WDC's October Luncheon
By Paul Schwartz

Late last month, Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball," spoke to a packed crowd of 175 WDC members and guests about his new book, Bobby Kennedy - A Raging Spirit (Simon & Schuster, 2017).  

Maryland Democratic Party chair Kathleen Matthews introduced her husband as someone focused for decades on the issues of the day - someone who always insisted, "No spin allowed!"

Mr. Matthews' admiration for Bobby Kennedy, both for his character and for his role in our nation's history, shone through in his remarks. Bobby Kennedy was an essential player in his brother's campaigns - first for the Senate, and then for the Presidency. Bobby was a pivotal figure in handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and in pushing the Civil Rights Act to the forefront of the Kennedy agenda. Matthews pointed out the contrast between Bobby's extreme family wealth and his passion for the civil rights of those who were less well off.  

Patriarch Joseph Kennedy's presidential ambitions for his sons, first Joe Jr. and then Jack, overlooked his youngest son Bobby. It was this childhood in which nothing came easily that honed Bobby's tendency to relate to the underdog, the worker, and those in need. Matthews theorized that Bobby Kennedy was able to connect with the white working class in a way that today's Democrats seem unable to match.

At 26, Bobby ran his brother's Senatorial campaign in which Jack defeated popular incumbent Henry Cabot Lodge by more than 70,000 votes. At 30, he tackled organized crime. At 34, he ran Jack's successful Presidential campaign against sitting Vice President, Richard Nixon.

The Cuban Missile Crisis, however, best captured the essence of Bobby Kennedy especially in comparison with today's political leaders. Every administration has plenty of hawks; many voices in the Kennedy administration were calling for a military strike against the missiles in Cuba. Bobby Kennedy, though, supported blockading Cuba until a deal could be struck that enabled both sides to save face without the loss of innocent lives. Bobby Kennedy cared about innocent lives.

He also cared about the poor. It was Bobby who addressed an African American crowd in an African American neighborhood the night Martin Luther King was assassinated, saying that he too "had a brother assassinated by a white guy." In the aftermath of JFK's assassination, Bobby was a vocal advocate against mail order gun purchases. How prescient he was, and how tragic that 50 years later we continue to debate whether to institute stronger controls against gun violence.

Mr. Matthews traced Bobby's transformation from supporting to opposing the Vietnam War - an example of Bobby's willingness to admit he had been wrong.

Responding to a question about Bobby's likely impact on history relative to JFK's, had Bobby not been assassinated, Mr. Matthews expressed doubt as to whether Bobby could have beaten Hubert Humphrey for the Presidential nomination, because back-room politics had more influence than the primary system in that era. Mr. Matthews attributed RFK and LBJ's inability to work well together, despite their shared commitment to improving poor people's lives, to Bobby's grudge against LBJ for having spoken ill of Joe Kennedy, Sr., many years earlier.  

When asked to explain how today's political atmosphere differs from the politics of 50 years ago, Mr. Matthews lamented the lack of empathy and compassion in today's politics. He also cited today's lack of deference to political leaders. Ending on a positive note, he pointed to the gains women and minorities have made in the modern political arena.  

Bobby Kennedy  - A Raging Spirit, by Chris Matthews.  Simon & Schuster, 2017
Report on October Education Program

Current Economic Development, Housing and Demographic Trends in Our County:  Past & Future
B y Bonnie Wicklund
View images from this event on FLIKR

Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson and County Council Member-at-Large Nancy Floreen presented an overview of how and why our County government tries to maintain and improve its renowned high quality of life. Main takeaway:  It's complicated!  

At the Silver Spring Civic Center on Thursday evening, 26 October, Casey Anderson showed a series of slides illustrating the demographics that affect development decisions. (view slides here) Our population-now at 1 million- continues to grow, although more slowly than in the past; the current unemployment rate of 3 1/2% indicates the recovery in job growth after the decline in 2008-09. Montgomery County is still among the nation's top 20 most affluent counties (but locally, Loudon, Howard, and Fairfax are ahead), partly due to the high levels of education of our residents:  fully one-third of adults over 25 have advanced degrees. Nevertheless, an estimated one-quarter of households live on less than $50,000 a year, and the County is undeniably segregated by income and education. Insufficient affordable housing is an ongoing problem. Over the last 20 years, construction of new residential units has averaged 3,500 annually, but we have still not recovered from the significant decline following the economic collapse almost 10 years ago. Demand continues to outstrip supply.  

Anderson emphasized that for the past 40+ years Montgomery County has successfully sought to increase and preserve large portions of the County as "green" through the Agriculture Preserve and increasing forest cover, by concentrating development in transit corridors and inner urban areas. The aim has been to allow building new or redeveloped areas that are compact, transit-oriented, mixed-use, and walkable in order to preserve our traditional single-family neighborhoods.  

Nancy Floreen, who is winding up four terms on the county council, recounted the story of how she got involved in public activism. In 1982, when she discovered that a building near where she then lived in Silver Spring was to be demolished and replaced by a high-rise, she successfully fought the plan, which eventually led to serving eight years on the Planning Board. This is where she learned how complex and intertwined the issues are which go into planning and development.  

"We live right next to the center of the western world," she said-in other words, a highly desirable place to be, so the housing supply is crucial, and our older family neighborhoods are "sacrosanct." Growing the tax base is critical to maintaining services, especially our prized education system.  And developers need to make money. Although high density zoning has been in place for decades, and Montgomery County has required developers to set aside 12 1/2% of any development as Moderately Priced Dwelling Units (MPDU), Floreen questions whether we are really "targeting the most needy ." A related question is school choice"' - the "third rail" in Montgomery County - but that will be an issue for the next County Council to wrestle with.
This was the first of three related programs to be presented by the WDC Education Committee, co-chaired by Brenda Wolff and Diana Conway, with the aim of providing context for voters before local elections next year. The second program will focus on the economy, business, and jobs, and the third on issues related to women's employment, such as child care, transit, and pay.
WDC Happy Hour With A Purpose: Pace Presents Precinct Power
WDC Happy Hour with a Purpose: PACE* Presents Precinct Power

Who:  Registered Democrats
When:  Thursday, November 16, 5:30-7:00
Where:  8501 Hazelwood Drive, Bethesda MD (Enid Light's Home); ample street parking.

What:  Want to build a stronger Democratic Party? We need grassroots organizers and precinct organizers. WDC, the County Democratic Party, and experienced precinct leaders will explain what precinct organizers do and how you can volunteer.

Why:  To increase voter turnout, elect Democrats, and defeat Hogan.

RSVP:  Let Enid know you are attending. Sign up here.

Questions:  Email Enid at

PACE* is WDC's new Political Activism and Civic Engagement Committee.
MLAW Conference: Mobilizing the Power of Women In a Time of Uncertainty
MLAW Conference
Saturday, November 18. 9:00-3:30
Howard Community College 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia 

The conference will feature a moderated panel: "Mobilizing the Power of Maryland Women in a Time of Uncertainty," with Toni Van Pelt (National Organization for Women), Pat Lambert (Executive Alliance/Network 2000), and Luis Larin (United Workers). Delegate Ariana Kelly (D 16), President of the Women Legislators of Maryland, will give opening remarks. 

Learn about legislative proposals for the 2018 legislative session that will help shape WDC's state advocacy agenda.  Participate in an optional Grassroots Advocacy 101 workshop from 1:30 to 3:30.
Details on the  MLAW website.
Sunday, Dec.10 MCDDC: Annual Holiday Party
MCDDC Annual Holiday Party

When: Sunday, December 10, 2017, 1:00 - 3:00
Where: MCEA Building 12 Taft Court , Rockville, Maryland 

Please help make a child smile!
Each year you bring a wonderland of toys to the MCDCC Holiday Party.
To continue our tradition, we ask everyone to please bring a new, unwrapped toy to Make a Child Smile.  Interfaith Works Community Ministry of Montgomery County will distribute them.
Please  Bring an Item to Share  According to your District:
Districts  17, 19, 20 | Breads or Finger Foods  
Districts  14, 18 | Salad or Dessert             
Districts  15, 16, 3 | Hors d'oeuvres or Fruit    
Feel free to bring your "special dish" whatever your District.

Questions: Call Wendy Cohen at (301) 385-7243
or the MCDCC office at (301) 946-1000
Safe Passage Center Update
Safe Passage Center Update - Great News!
By Lynn Olson

Thanks to Court Watch Montgomery, with great support from WDC members and other community groups, parents who are affected by domestic violence protective orders will have a safe place to exchange children for supervised and unsupervised visits.
A year ago, this Safe Passage Center was a vision. Today it is real. 
Scheduled to open this month, the Safe Passage Center will provide monitored exchange services; supervised visitation services will begin early in January.  The recently hired Center Director has 20 years' experience with monitored exchange and visitation services, most recently as the Coordinator of the Harford County MD Visitation Service Center. A bilingual administrative assistant is also on board and will be joined shortly by visitation monitors and security staff.
The Center is funded by the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services and operated by Family Services, Inc.   Pre-opening activities are focused on conducting outreach with judges, family law attorneys, and other service providers; establishing operational procedures; hiring and training staff; and readying the space for  custodial and non-custodial parents and their children.  Strategies for addressing foreign language interpretation will be finalized once supervised visitations begin in late December/early January.
Thanks to everyone who sent postcards and talked to County Council members and the County Executive about the need for this service in the County.
Advocacy Committee Report
By Ginger Macomber and Emily Shetty
Image: WDC Advocacy co-chair Ginger Macomber, second row far left, along with other $15 minimum wage advocates at the November 7 hearing

The WDC Board approved the addition of "Aging" as a WDC priority Issue Area. The six Priority Issues Area subcommittees (Aging, Affordable Housing, Children, Criminal Justice, Health, and Working Families) identified their 2018 County and State legislative priorities. The Board approved these priorities at its October meeting. WDC President Fran Rothstein will testify in support of these legislative priorities at the November 13 Montgomery County State Delegation Priorities Hearing. Click here t o view a copy of WDC's written testimony.

WDC continued to advocate for passage of County Bill 28-17 to increase the Montgomery County hourly minimum wage to $15 (with specified exemptions), and submitted additional letters of support to County Executive Leggett and key Council members. On November 7 the County Council voted unanimously to approve a modified version of this bill. Click here to learn more about this legislation that will help ensure that the County's minimum wage workers can support their families.

Planning has begun for WDC's 2018 Annapolis Day. Annapolis Day provides WDC members with an opportunity to meet with our Montgomery County State delegation, learn about how our Legislature works, and advocate for legislation that WDC supports.

Can you make a few phone calls and send a few emails to advocate for bills that improve life for women and families? If so, sign up to Join WDC Advocacy Alerts . The more members who take action, the more effective WDC will be in its advocacy efforts.
WDC Works with Strong Schools Maryland to Improve Our Schools
WDC Works with Strong Schools Maryland to Improve Our Schools 
by Debbie Stine

Strong Schools Maryland is a statewide effort aimed at creating a world class education system for every student in Maryland. Strong Schools Maryland stands for a comprehensive educational agenda that focuses on supporting children from birth through high school graduation, and enables them to develop the skills needed to successfully pursue a career is essential for all Maryland students.
The needs of Maryland's students are becoming greater. Concentrated poverty, when 40+ percent of students are eligible for free or reduced lunches, impacts every school district in Maryland.  In Montgomery County, 43 percent of schools are in areas of concentrated poverty. In addition, a growing number of students have special needs or ESOL services.
However, Maryland schools are underfunded by at least $2.9 billion. Only two county school systems are adequately funded. Montgomery County receives about 96 percent of its funding needs. Click here f or more background.
Strong Schools Maryland is following the actions of the State's Kirwan Commission   and encouraging the Commission's members to take bold action regarding funding for Maryland schools. The Kirwan Commission was formed to review and evaluate the current educational funding formula, review how schools are being held accountable for academic gains, and review how Maryland can educate its students. Once their report is done, Strong Schools Maryland will address the implementation of the Commission's findings. WDC's Advocacy Committee will also review these findings and identify key legislation for which WDC will advocate during the 2018 State legislative session.
Members of Strong Schools Maryland meet in "Groups of 10." The WDC Advocacy Committee's Children Issues Captain Debbie Stine leads a Strong Schools Maryland "Group of 10" in coordination with WDC's PACE Committee.
With "Groups of 10" throughout the State, Strong Schools Maryland is creating an extensive grassroots network of advocates for school improvements that will benefit every student in the State. The groups meet once a month and complete an action item designed to address a current topic. All materials are provided, and instruction is also provided to assist in completing the action item. WDC's group has been writing letters to members of the Kirwan Commission, and taking action with representatives from other Groups of 10, such as attending a Commission meeting.
If you would like to join a group of Strong Schools Maryland members, contact Debbie Stine at  If you have additional questions or would like to become a team leader you can contact Joe Francaviglia at  You can also sign up via the website at
PACE: Political Activism and Civic Engagement Report
PACE (Political Activism and Civic Engagement) Committee Update
By Co-Chairs Barbara Noveau and Nancy Walker

WDC's new Political Activism and Civic Engagement (PACE) Committee held its kickoff meeting on September 25th.  We had an interesting round robin on what brought each of us to want to be more engaged, and a spirited discussion of the many ways we could be active. Several people described work they were already doing in Virginia, and the others agreed this was the kind of meaningful engagement they wanted. Other priorities included precinct-level action, voter registration, and support of Maryland's Democratic nominees during the general election.

Following that kickoff, PACE collaborated with DoTheMostGood MoCo and J Walkers Action Group in phone banking and canvassing for district and Commonwealth-wide Democrats running for office in Virginia. We were gratified to be part of such a tremendously successful effort.  We also sponsored several weekend voter registration drives in Northern Virginia, and conducted outreach to ex-offenders who were eligible to have their voting rights restored. At press time, we were preparing for our first PACE Happy Hour with a Purpose, where we'll focus on how WDC members can get more involved in precinct-level work, including serving as precinct officials, and organizing and conducting outreach events with registered Democrats. You'll be hearing more about these efforts in upcoming communications.

Contact PACE co-chairs Barbara Noveau   or Nancy Walker  to learn more about how you can get involved.
WNDC: Author Engagements
Woman's National Democratic Club: 
Author Engagements

To view their calendar, go to:  WNDC is graciously offering WDC members a discount; use promotion code WDC2017 when you register. In addition, $10 parking is also being offered.
All WDC Members

Please take a moment to update your committee/volunteer preferences in our revised Google Volunteer Form.  We look forward to working together !

County Executive and Gubernatorial Forums
Candidate Forums: It's Never Too Early To Save the Date!

WDC will hold its Candidates Forums at the Silver Spring Civic Center shortly after the filing deadline.  Mark your calendar for the County Executive Forum (Wednesday, March 22, 7:00-9:00) and the Gubernatorial Forum (Monday, April 24, 7:00-9:00). You won't want to miss these opportunities to learn about your candidates.
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