Fall 2008 Edition
Published February 22, 2008
© 2008 League of Women Voters of Alabama
Local League News
It is with regret that the Montgomery League announces the resignation of co-president Rosalind Toles.
Most recent League activities include assisting the Montgomery Board of Registrars on presidential primary day; publication of the 2008 edition of Who Represents You, an Ed Fund project that consolidates information on the major elected officeholders in Montgomery, Elmore and Autauga Counties, which the area Boards of Registrars make available to newly registered voters; and consensus on immigration. Upcoming meetings will present information developed from our local government study and the state I&R study.
"Meet Your Legislatos Night" a Great Success
Sometimes it is time to take stock and make changes. For over 30 years, the League of Women Voters of Greater Tuscaloosa had an annual “Legislative Breakfast,” at which state legislators and sometimes other local officials stated what they considered to be the upcoming year’s priorities, and at which the LWVGT presented their legislative priorities. A wonderful tradition, but the legislators are already quite aware of our priorities by now, and attendance by the legislators had dwindled. Time to step back and decide if some traditions need to be tweaked.
The LWVGT board decided to sponsor a “Meet Your Legislators Night,” inviting the ten local legislators to meet from 6:30 to 8:00 P.M. on a Thursday in Tuscaloosa’s Central High School auditorium, a beautiful facility. After the JROTC color guard presented the colors and led the pledge of allegiance, the forum was open for business. Five legislators came, and, after each presented his legislative priorities, the legislators took turns answering an amazingly wide range of audience questions written on questions cards. The press coverage was impressive—four television interviews, two radio interviews, excellent newspaper coverage—all presenting the League at its best.
The result? A head count revealed 125 people came out on a cold January night. About 40% were high school students from City and County schools, and they enthusiastically wrote thought-provoking questions. Some Leaguers were in the audience, of course, but also a diverse group of people from the community as well. All questions that were written on the note cards, including those not able to be asked because of time constraints, were typed up and mailed to the 5 legislators who participated in our “thank you” follow-up letter. The same list of questions was sent to the legislators who did not attend, with a note stating our hope that they will participate next year.
Because the LWVGT changed this from a self-lobbying event to a public forum, we qualified for Ed Fund money. We just realized that lobbying would have to be done at a different time.
We still are receiving kudos, and plan to do it again. Major Herbert Ragsdale, Principal at Central High School, was thrilled to have CHS used for such a community function of this scope and stature, especially when “his” students directly benefited by seeing democracy in action. The forum required a lot of teamwork, but definitely allowed us to do our part to ensure active and informed participation of citizens in government.
-- Kathryn Byrd,
Spokesperson, LWV of Greater Tuscaloosa
The Greater Birmingham League interviewed some of the local Legislative Delegation and heard great appreciation for the LWVAL Legislative Study. In preparation for the February 5 Super Tuesday Presidential Primary many members assisted in the Jefferson County Registrar’s Office, helping people register, check their status for voting and answering questions. A couple presentations were made in the community relative to registration and preparation for voting.
Leading the Greater Birmingham League on the Immigration Study were Sarah McDonald and Leonette Slay. The LWVGB was concerned with the limit of a number of the questions, some of the background material appearing to be inferential without sufficient documentation and the lack of important areas in the study. The Board was directed to write a letter to LWV expressing concern and request for continuation of the study with further research and questions in important areas.
Amanda McGriff and Nancy Ekberg are leading the LWVAL Initiative and Referendum Study with many members remaining to discuss the interesting issues after the first meeting of 1.5 hours. They will lead the group through the questions on February 28th.
A letter to the editor of the Birmingham News was submitted in honor of the LWV 88th Birthday on February 14th. Patti Ruffner Jacobs, the secretary of the original Board of LWV started a local suffragettes group in 1910 in Birmingham. We attempted to tie this into the good voting turnout for the Presidential Primary and the need for more people to register to vote.
Linda Verin of LWVGB worked with a local group to produce TV PSAs that were changed to reflect the entire state so they could be used by stations state-wide. The PSAs were focused at getting out the vote.
-- Virginia Randolph
President, LWV of Greater Birmingham
Reinventing ourselves, growing, reaching: Reaching New Heights Together is the theme for our national convention. These are exciting times for all leaguers, especially here in Mobile as we stretch to attain new members and to grow our local League. This has also been a sad year for us in that we lost our President, Barbara Nichols due to an untimely death; and we wish to dedicate our League Message for 2008 in her honor: To Welcome Others to our League.
Local, State, National issues: These are up for discussion. We are making our voices heard: Becoming an e-activist.
Discovering ways to bring the people in our world closer. Finding out all the tools, tips and information one needs to advocate for the League’s priority issues. Many of today’s community groups stay connected via email and the Internet, knowing how to bend and sway with volunteers’ hectic schedules; and we strive for that connection for continuing the League’s education and advocacy.
Election 2008: Choosing the President – the choice of a qualified presidential candidate is imminently upon us – staying informed, reading websites, asking questions, e.g., dependence on fossil fuels, goals in Iraq and the Middle East, universal health coverage, spending on political campaigns. We are in the midst of discussion of these interesting primaries.
Convention Delegates: LWVAL Council 2008 is May 3 in Birmingham. LWVUS National Convention is June 13-17, 2008 in Portland, Oregon, with our League encouraging as many of our members as possible to attend.
Community Leaders/League Members: Merceria Ludgood ran successfully for County Commissioner. Marilyn E. Wood, Mobile County Revenue Commissioner, with a story printed in our local Voter to enlighten other women candidates running for public office. Carol Norris, License Commissioner officially announced her retirement from office. We are proud to note these leaguers have experienced first hand the hard-fought journey of women through America’s political system. Our Mobile League certainly recognizes the value in examining the evolution of women in the American political process, and the prospects for the future. By welcoming their advice in encouraging a new generation of leaders, we are reminded of the long-standing benefits of being a League member.
Immigration: Our area of study was finished January 21, with the consensus response submitted before our deadline, reflecting our coming to consensus – projecting an overall sense of the group. Thus, as we understand the process: The League can be an agent for change within our community, our country and ourselves.
Barbara Caddell, a seasoned league leader, has done a great job in spearheading our unit meetings now held at night. Thus, the Mobile League offers something for everyone – daytime meetings, and now our unit meetings. At Barbara’s home, light refreshments and stimulating conversation are served!
Presently with over 12 new members, the Mobile League is encouraging, embracing, and sponsoring members in our ongoing quest for growth as we reach upward together.
-- Barbara Cooper South
President, LWV of Mobile
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