News for Defenders of Democracy
October 2017
Membership: Who is up for Renewal?
Join us. Renew your membership. We make a difference.

We need your support to continue our work in the community and at state and national levels. Whether you want to be an active member or a supporting member, your dues help advance the League's mission.

The following memberships are up for renewal this Fall. We invite you to renew today!
Paulo Albuquerque
Janet Bast
Meg Ebner
Lynn Fruit
Christopher Lerbs
Anthony Loffler
Samantha Marvel
Doris Norrito
Brooke Verner

Laura Angelides
Sam Angelides
Jaime Dixon
Mary Hanrahan
M. Diane Hodson
Gwendolyn Mann
Julia Rissler
Georgene Conner
Gretchen Craig
Caroline Heuermann
Kristina Kulaas
Deb Mazzaferro
Rachel Otto
Lisa Palmer
Jaclyn Peel
Sonia Quinones
Kathleen Vandersyde
Sandy Weiss
We offer five levels of membership :
Carrie Chapman Catt (Gold) for $250*
Susan B. Anthony (Silver) for $125*
Household for $78* 
Individual for $52
Student for $26
*Includes two members residing at the same address.

A large percentage of what you pay for an individual membership goes to support our state and national Leagues. By selecting the Gold or Silver membership level, most of your dues will help support the work of our local League.
Oct 20: Sheroes & Heroes Among Us
"Winnie Foster: The Activist Pollinator"
The arrival of a new documentary series shot on location in South Saint Petersburg,  Sheroes & Heroes Among Us, kicks off with its first premiere " Winnie Foster: The Activist Pollinator." Winnie is a long-time member of the League of Women Voters St. Petersburg whose contagious energy and tenacity feeds the spirit for civil rights.

This documentary, the first of twelve episodes about Saint Petersburg's leaders, depicts Winnie's courage and willingness to work with bulwarks of integration and the women's rights movement forever altered the political and socioeconomic landscape in Southern Pinellas County. 

The series profiles citizens who have left an indelible footprint in the advancement of equal rights, education, and the arts. The documentaries are scheduled to be released over the next year.

A panel discussion and dinner will follow. A $10-plus donation at the door would be most appreciated.

10/20, 6 PM @ Enoch Davis Community Center
1111 18th Ave S, St. Petersburg, FL 33705

Oct 21: North County League to Host
County Commissioner on the State of Pinellas
Our sister league, the League of Women Voters of North Pinellas County, presents "The State of Pinellas County and Penny for Pinellas" with Charlie Justice, Pinellas County Commissioner.

Commissioner Justice was elected countywide in 2012. He serves on a variety of civic groups including Tampa Bay Estuary Program Policy, Health & Human Services Leadership, Pinellas County Historic Preservation, Pinellas County Youth Advisory Committee, Area Agency on Aging, and Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority.
10/21, 10am @ Safety Harbor Library
101 2nd Street North, Safety Harbor, FL 34695
Oct 25: The League Talks
Gun Safety and Charter Schools
Two League leaders will take the stage at an upcoming community event:

The League of Women Voters Florida's First Vice President and Chair of the Florida Gun Safety Committee, Patti Brigham, will discuss gun safety issues, advocacy, and legislative goals.

Our own Robin Jones, Co-Chair of our League's Education Action Group, will then discuss charter schools. Charter schools began in the 1990's as laboratories of innovation within the public education system, supported by teachers and education professionals. Today charter schools have become highly controversial, promoted more as competitors of rather than compliments to public schools and often built and managed by national for-profit charter chains. Last spring the Florida legislature continued its quest to make Florida one of the most charter friendly states in the country with it omnibus HB 7069. As parents and taxpayers we need to understand charters and their proper role in our public education system.

Hosted by Fired Up Pinellas and open to the community.

10/25, 6 PM @ Metro Wellness & Community Center
3251 3rd Ave N, Suite 125, St. Petersburg, Florida 33713

Nov 11: 100% St. Pete Solar Tour
Join the 2nd annual 100% St Pete Solar Tour, co-hosted by our own League's Sustainability Action Group, to visit neighbors and businesses, such as LEED certified Planet Fitness and USF St. Petersburg. Find out how they are using solar energy and energy efficiency to reduce monthly utility bills and to help tackle climate change - and how you can too.

The tour concludes at the St Pete Eco Village for optional garden lunch and informal Q&A with homeowners and business owners from the tour.

The St Pete Solar Tour includes $15.00 to cover the transportation. Registration required:

11/11, 8:30 AM @ St. Pete Eco-Village
302 15th St N, St. Petersburg, FL 33705

Nov 15: Cocktails & Conversation
Join the League of Women Voters for our monthly gathering for drinks, fellowship, and good conversation. This wine bar promises a $6 tasting that includes nibbles. Or, order wine by the glass. A regular menu (pizza, cheese plates, charcutier) will also available.

11/15, 6pm @ A Taste For Wine
241 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Nov 17: White Nationalism, Anti-Semitism & Neo-Facism Threats to US Democracy
Our League is a co-sponsor of the The Leif Nissen Social Justice Lecture Series of Temple Beth-El. In partnership with Allendale United Methodist Church, the next lecture will present Chip Berlet.

  • 7:00 PM Social Justice Shabbat service
  • 7:45 PM lecture and Q/A

The evening is free and open to the public; dessert reception to follow lecture.

Chip Berlet is an activist, journalist and scholar who has spent over thirty years studying bigoted right-wing movements. Read more on Chip.

11/17, 7pm @ Allendale United Methodist Church
3803 Haines Road North, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33703

Dec 6: Democracy 101
A Civic Action Primer (public forum)
There's something happening here...

Even if you're not old enough to remember the lyrics to that iconic protest song, you can feel it. Yes, there's something happening in our country. A spirit of activism not seen in many years is sweeping across America. Motivated by the 2016 election campaign and its outcome, people on both sides of the political aisle are energized to become active in the political process--either to support the policies of the current administration at the national, state, or local level, or to oppose them.

But how does that work? What can citizens do to make a difference in the political world?

This fall, our League has partnered with the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College on free public workshops where participants discuss the basics of local government structure, policy-making, and civic engagement. Join us for the final one in this series.

12/6, 6pm @ SPC Midtown Campus
1300 22nd Street South - St. Petersburg

Click here for more information and to register.
Dec 10: Save the Date for League Holiday Party
LWVSPA President
Julie Kessel's home
For Other Upcoming Events
Welcome New LWVSPA Board Members
Caitlin Constantine

Caitlin has been a member of the LWVSPA since January, when she joined shortly after taking part in the Women's March. She currently serves on the reproductive justice and promotions action groups. She also serves as a guardian ad litem with the Sixth Judicial Circuit, a position she has held since 2014.

She is a senior editor with The Penny Hoarder, which is one of the largest personal finance sites in the country, and she oversees the jobs and lifestyles sections of the site. She has been with The Penny Hoarder since 2016. Prior to that, she worked as a senior web producer for Bay News 9 starting in 2008. She is a 2008 graduate of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg's journalism program, where she co-edited the student paper and helped organize a science journalism conference about sea level rise in Florida.

Caitlin is an avid triathlete and runner, and she currently serves as the co-caption of the Southeast region for Coeur Sports, a woman-owned and -operated athletic wear company aimed at female endurance athletes. Her writing has also been published on Jezebel, the Huffington Post, and, and she maintains a popular blog about the intersections of feminism and fitness called Fit and Feminist. She's a transplant who has lived in Pinellas County for 16 years, and is proud to call this area her home.
Linsey Grove

Linsey is a public health consultant for various public health agencies, social change organizations, non-profits, and businesses and serves as the Chief Creative Officer and co-owner of eunoia Media Lab. She is also a graduate student in the Doctorate of Public Health program at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Linsey works as an adjunct faculty member at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and Sam Houston State University teaching public health policy and social marketing, respectively.

In March 2017, Linsey launched a public health podcast called Viral as a way to educate audiences about public health and create a fun, energetic space for current public health professionals. She writes, produces, and co-hosts the bi-weekly podcast.

Linsey is an avid rock climber and free diving enthusiast with her husband, James. She enjoys being active in the St. Pete community through civic engagement. Linsey volunteers with Family Resources on the LGBTQ+ Homeless Youth Steering Committee, Complete Streets St. Pete, and as a State Science and Engineering Fair Judge for the Florida Foundation for Future Scientists.
Call to Action
We Need Your Help:
Florida Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative

Together, let’s say yes to second chances and redemption so all Floridians can be full members of their communities.

The proposed ballot summary is as follows:
This amendment restores the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation.

The amendment would not apply to those convicted of murder or sexual offenses, who would continue to be permanently barred from voting unless the Governor and Cabinet vote to restore their voting rights on a case by case basis.

They’ve paid their debt to society. It is time to restore these people’s right to vote.

In order to get this Voting Restoration Amendment onto the 2018 ballot, 700,000 petitions from Florida voters need to be collected by December, 2017. 

We are asking each LWVSPA member to collect 10 signed petitions by December 2017. Contact Stephanie Owens or the League office to arrange to submit your petition.
Please note that some September events may be subject to change due to the threat of Hurricane Irma. Check our website for updates.
2017-2018 League Leadership
President: Julie Kessel
First Vice President: Sharon Winters
Second Vice President: Stephanie Owens
Secretary: Lisa Vanover
Treasurer: Caroline Bloodworth
Lydia Castle
Caitlin Constantine
Raechel Garafalo
Linsey Grove
Susan Mayer
Lindsay Murdock
Marty Shapiro

Visit our website for more information about our local leaders.

Click here for more information about our education and advocacy groups.
Gun Safety: Sharon Winters
Immigration: Karen Coale or Lydia Castle
Healthcare: Julie Kessel
Reproductive Rights: Amy Weintraub
Campaign Finance Reform/Social Justice: Julie Kessel or Karen Lieberman
Education: Robin Jones or Iris Yetter
Voter Service: Raechel Garafalo or Lindsay Murdock
Voter Protection: Stephanie Owens
Sustainability: Lisa Vanover
International Relations: Judy McSwine
Social Media/Promotion Lead: Amy Weintraub
Office Administrator: Rachael Becker
League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area
Telephone: 727-896-5197
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization,
encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase
understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy .