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League of Women Voters Leaders' Update

March 13, 2014

Dear Friend,

Over this past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the latest training for our Ruth Shur Fellows. The training, which took place in Baltimore, is an annual event and an integral part of the Membership and Leadership Development Program (MLD). Nearly every state, and many of our local Leagues, are participating in this initiative. The Shur Fellows are recruited from our volunteer ranks to coach a team of state coaches who in turn work with participating local Leagues. Increasingly, coaching skills are being employed in the private sector to improve outcomes. From what I observed in Baltimore, the League is way ahead of the curve in appreciating the importance of developing good coaches to assist our volunteers to find their own way to increase our impact and thereby increase participation in the League.

States that have fully embraced the principles of the MLD have seen their membership numbers improve. At the core of those principles is the idea that, by being active and visible in our communities, people will naturally want to join us and that by being welcoming and encouraging to our members we will identify and develop new leaders. While this may seem obvious, we know that when we are so busy doing the work it can be hard to remember to be visible and inclusive as we do so. Coaches, trained to listen and to encourage, are key to the success of the MLD and to the success of the League. Our national coaches, or Shur Fellows, come with a variety of life and League experience. The state coaches they support are on the front lines of ensuring that the League will be making democracy work at our 100th anniversary and on into the future.

The League was founded to finish the fight to give women the vote and a meaningful voice in American democracy and the League has been encouraging active and informed participation of all voters for nearly 100 years. One important goal of the League was and continues to be equipping women to run for and win elective office. On Wednesday, we teamed up with Rachel’s Action Network (RAN) to honor the work and accomplishments of women elected to Congress. Rachel's Network, founded in 1999, is a nonprofit that promotes women as impassioned leaders and agents of change dedicated to the stewardship of the earth. At a brief gathering at the historic Sewall Belmont House on Capitol Hill, we heard from Senator Kay Hagan (NC) and Representative Donna Edwards (MD). Senator Hagan spoke to environmental issues and described the successful efforts of women Senators to move the budget debate forward this past fall. Representative Edwards addressed the group about her work to achieve equal pay for women in the workforce and the need to continue investment in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics programs in education.

All in all, it has been an exciting week full of inspiration.

In League,

Description: Elisabeth


League Leaders:
To help keep your members informed, please consider forwarding this weekly message. Please note that this is an internal communication that provides both announcements and opportunities meant only for your members and League, as well as updates on important news and events. This message should not be posted in its entirety on League social media channels or websites. Instead consider sharing the external (e.g. public interest/action) pieces such as blog posts, letters to Congress and press statements.

In This Issue:


  • Chancellor Ray Martinez to Speak at Convention (NEW)
  • Register for Convention Today (Reminder)


  • League Awards: Deadline is March 17 (Reminder)
  • Webinar Opportunity: Mentoring (Reminder)
  • Gain Visibility: Sunshine Week is March 16-22 (Reminder)
  • Apply to be a Young People’s Board Advisor: Deadline March 24 (Reminder)


  • Submit a Comment to the Environmental Protection Agency (Reminder)
  • Voting Rights Act Fix Introduced in Congress! (Reminder)
  • LWVUS Redistricting Task Force to Be Appointed (Reminder)


  • Sign Up Early: National Voter Registration Day! (NEW)
  • Promote your Candidate Debates and Forums on VOTE411! (Reminder)


  • Eleanor Roosevelt: First Lady, League Leader, Pioneer (NEW)


  • Agriculture Update (Reminder) 

Convention 2014

Chancellor Ray Martinez to Speak at Convention (NEW)
Former EAC Commissioner and current Chancellor of Western Governor's University, Ray Martinez will be speaking at Convention. He will share his knowledge of working to strengthen elections and elections systems nationwide.Just to show the great personal and relationship connections many League leaders have, he is also the son-in-law of Texas League member Pat Stanley!

Register for Convention Today! (Reminder)
Individual delegates can now register for Convention 2014, which will be held in Dallas on June 6-10.The fee is $335 per person.Online registration will remain open until May 31. (Note that a $50 late fee will be assessed on all registrations made after May 23.)Please visit the Convention area of the website for additional information about hotel reservations, the schedule-at-a-glance, and what to see and do in Dallas.  We look forward to seeing you there!


Membership & leadership

League Awards: Deadline is March 17 (Reminder)
Haven’t applied for an award for all the great work your League has done this year? The deadline is fast approaching; it is Monday, March 17, 2014. Showcase the hard word that your League is doing! The application form only takes a few minutes to fill out and there are four different award categories from which to choose.

Webinar Opportunity: Mentoring (Reminder)
Join the Young People’s Task Force (YPTF) for the third in their series of webinars to help recruit and engage younger generations in the work of LWV.This session, which will be held on Tuesday, March 25 at 2 pm ET, will focus on mentoring.Register today!And, to see the others in the series, please visit the League’s Webinar & Training Library.

Gain Visibility: Sunshine Week is March 16-22 (Reminder)
Use this letter to the editor template to draw attention to Sunshine Week and to gain visibility for your League.

Apply to be a Young People’s Board Advisor: Deadline March 24 (Reminder)
The League is interested in continuing to reach out to the next generation of League leaders. LWVUS would like to help local and state Leagues to improve membership outreach and become more visible in their communities in order to attract this important demographic.  The LWVUS Board is seeking two off-board advisors to identify opportunities and create vehicles to increase the participation of young people in the organization. Learn more about this great opportunity to grow within the League. To apply for one of the Board Advisor Positions fill out the application form by March 24, 2014.


Glad You Asked!

This section of the Leaders' Update is dedicated to providing the information that you want to know. If you have a question for this area, please submit it to kmcfarland@lwv.org.

I have seen the ads for LWVUS webinars in this Update.Unfortunately, I often have scheduling conflicts and cannot listen live.Are there other options to get this information?

Yes, all of our webinars are recorded.They are then posted in the Nikki Harris Webinar & Training Library online.

Webinars can be viewed in their entirety or you can fast forward to specific parts. 

If you have suggestions for specific webinar topics, please send them kmcfarland@lwv.org.



Submit a Comment to the Environmental Protection Agency (Reminder)
The EPA has extended the deadline for public comments for the proposed federal carbon pollution standard for every new power plant built in America. The new deadline is May 9, 2014. Submit a public comment to the EPA in support of the standard and your voice will be part of the official record.

Voting Rights Act Fix Introduced in Congress! (Reminder)
Representatives James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), John Conyers (D-MI), Bobby Scott (D-VA), John Lewis (D-GA), and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) have introduced common sense legislation that would repair and restore the Voting Rights Act. This bipartisan effort to fix the damage done by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v. Holder is necessary to restore and protect the rights of voters across the country. Please urge your elected officials to support this important legislation and encourage them to act swiftly to move toward final passage. Read the LWVUS press statement on the new bill and tailor this press template to use with media in your state and community.

LWVUS Redistricting Task Force to Be Appointed (Reminder)
Based on a decision of the LWVUS Board, a Redistricting Task Force will be appointed to: (1) review the various methods and criteria that have been used in the states and the positions of state Leagues on redistricting; (2) consider how well the methods and criteria have worked; (3) develop materials to educate Leagues and communities; and (4) make recommendations on next steps. In 2020 there will be another census and consequently another redistricting. The League needs to be ready for these events and now is not too early to start. The League needs to be a more effective force on this issue. For additional details on this issue, read this paper on League Work on Redistricting and Apportionment. We plan on appointing the task force as soon as possible; we would like to finish the work of the task force at least by Council 2015. If you are interested in participating in this Redistricting Task Force, please fill out the application form by April 1.


Education Fund - Elections

Sign Up Early: National Voter Registration Day! (NEW)
We are thrilled to announce that all Leagues are once again invited to sign up as official partners for National Voter Registration Day 2014 (NVRD), which will take place 9/23/2014. In both 2012 and 2013, nearly 300 Leagues hosted voter registration events and promoted the importance of voter registration in local media and online—ultimately registering approximately 10,000 new voters each year! In 2014, LWVEF aims to secure participation from a record 350 Leagues! Sign up early to ensure your League receives free materials, training opportunities, and more in the coming months. If you organized an NVRD event for your League last year, check your inbox for a recent email from Emily Alsleben and sign up using the customized link provided. If your League is signing up to participate for the first time this year, get started by visiting http://www.nationalvoterregistrationday.org/signup. All that is needed now is your League’s intention to participate in this nationwide celebration of voter registration; you will have ample opportunity to provide more details about your local events as the day approaches. Contact Maggie Duncan (mduncan@lwv.org) with questions.
Promote your Candidate Debates and Forums on VOTE411! (Reminder)
As primary season gets into high gear across the country, is your League having any candidate debates or forums? Promoting your events on VOTE411 can help spread the word to voters in your communities. Over 400 League sponsored candidate debates were promoted on VOTE411 in 2013 and we hope to promote even more in 2014! If you would like us to post information regarding your candidate event on VOTE411, please send the following information to Megan Brown (mbrown@lwv.org): event title, offices covered, date, time, location (venue name and address) and any other information voters might need.



Eleanor Roosevelt: First Lady, League Leader, Pioneer (NEW)
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was not only a women's rights advocate, a United Nations delegate, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and a seasoned politician, but she was also a formative leader of the League of Women Voters. She helped establish LWV's policy agenda, worked closely with LWV of New York and tirelessly organized to increase women's participation as both voters and political leaders. Read our LWV blog post to learn more!



Agriculture Update (Reminder)
All Agriculture Update materials including the update papers, Leaders' Guide and online response form are posted on the Member Resources website and Leagues are encouraged to meet and submit consensus forms by the deadline of April 18, 2014. Additional reference materials and guides provided by local Leagues can be found at the Agriculture Update Forum (you need to be logged in to access the discussion forums). Contact Agriculture Update Chair Norman Turrill at LWVTurrill@mac.com if there are more questions.

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