League of Women Voters Charlotte County Florida
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League reaches out to DKG Gamma Nu
October 16, 2017 By: Jean Finks
Jean Finks spoke on October 12 to local members of Gamma Nu chapter of Delta Kappa Gamme, a sorority for teachers both retired and currently teaching.  Her audience was well informed, and asked very good questions.  Their chapter is hoping to get more active in legislative matters, and Jean suggested we work together on projects to get more results.  Membership materials were made available after their Pledge of Allegiance, a custom we share.  Here is a picture of Jean, filing in for president Julie McGillivray, and chapter leader Barbara Davis.
 
Gun Violence Strikes Again -LWV Response
October 2, 2017 By: Julie Stewart
For Immediate Release
 
 
Media Contact:
Pamela Goodman
President, LWV Florida
 
Patricia Brigham
Co-Chair, Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
 
Statement from LWVFL and Coalition on Las Vegas Shooting
 
Once again, Americans awoke this morning to the news of another horrific mass shooting, this time in Las Vegas. At this writing, at least 58 were killed by a lone gunman. In addition, over 500 people were injured. Just a little more than a year after the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the mass shooting in Las Vegas is now the deadliest in modern U.S. history.
 
While we are still learning the facts of what happened, the League of Women Voters of Florida and the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence mourn the loss of life of so many innocent people in Las Vegas. However, the response of our elected officials with messages of “thoughts and prayers” is insufficient. We do not elect our government officials for thoughts and prayers. We elect them to make law. We cannot continue to allow easy access to assault weapons in our country. We have seen the consequences of such access too many times. We honor the lives lost today with our unwavering commitment to protect all communities from gun violence.
 
 
Pamela S. Goodman
President
LWV Florida
 
 
Patricia Brigham
Co-Chair
Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
 
Andy Pelosi
Co-Chair
Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence
 
###
Take a look at our new state website
September 16, 2017 By: Jean Finks
If like me you feel somewhat marooned with gas scarcity, and some post-Irma drivers not paying attention, so you stay home a lot. here is a thought.  Try out the new state League website.  There is a link at our links page, or click here:   http://thefloridavoter.org.
 
Everything looks new and fresh, and I especially liked the "How To Start Your own Solar Co-Op" section.  Even without another informational meeting, you can read up on what is involved.  Or learn how to become League-certified as a voter registration trained person.  Or whet your appetite on League positions and actions coming up.
 
For instance, there is an upcoming LEADERSHIP TRAINING session in Orlando in October.  I have attended two of these, one with Ingrid Jiminez, and more recently with Julie McGillivray and Julie Stewart.  They are helpful in developing leadership skills, presenting League policies and enthusiasm, networking, and building poise and self-confidence.  Ask me or the two Julies and we will tell you how helpful these sessions are.  Want details?  Check out the state's websitei.
 
And don't forget our Political Trivia event on Thursday, September 28.  This is going to be GOOD.
Celebrate Women's Equality Day
August 26, 2017 By: Julie Stewart
Women's Equality Day
August 26, 2017
 
Dear League Members and Supporters,
 
We all stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. Today we thank so many of them and celebrate the 97th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.
 
The League especially thanks our founder, Carrie Chapman Catt. Who was she? Read on for a little history lesson of an amazing woman, or stop now and skip to my last two paragraphs. I know it’s Saturday!
Carrie graduated from Iowa State Agricultural College in 1880 and was the only woman in her class; she taught at a country school to earn money to go to college. She was the first woman to speak in public at Iowa State since before her, it was considered improper for a woman to address strangers. She worked with Susan B. Anthony to try to win the state of South Dakota for woman’s suffrage and failed. She traveled to twenty nine counties in Colorado to promote woman’s suffrage and the state was won by votes of the only group allowed to vote, men; only one county she visited voted against the amendment. Susan B. Anthony hand-picked Catt to succeed her as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and after Anthony’s death, Catt decided not to try and win suffrage state by state, but instead organized tens of thousands of women, who could not vote themselves, to pass a federal Amendment to the Constitution.
 
The proposed amendment was simple and direct. It said;
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of of sex.”
 
The Fifteenth Amendment in 1870 had given African American men the right to vote; now fifty years later, all women were trying to achieve the same right. This Amendment was never presented to U.S.Congress in any other form. ALL women were to be included from its inception.
 
It is obvious that passing an Amendment to the Constitution is extremely difficult. First the proposed amendment has to clear each house of Congress by a 2/3 majority. After years of failure, the majority in the Senate was finally won for suffrage with two votes to spare.
 
Next, the suffragists had to get ¾ vote of the state legislatures to approve.
 
Several midwestern states passed the proposed amendment very quickly and most states in the deep south as quickly rejected it…Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Maryland. North Carolina(which did not ratify until 1971) and Florida (which did not ratify until 1969. There were 48 states then. So to lose those nine Southern states when 36 states were needed to vote “yes”, was close to disaster! Why did all the southern states oppose? They did not want to give women of color the right to vote. In fact, when the issue came up before the U.S Congress, one southern legislator said he would vote yes for only white women.
 
Carrie Chapman Catt said that it was all women or none.
 
In August, 1920 suffrage won the final and 36th state needed, which was Tennessee; the legislature passed the proposed amendment by one vote; a freshman Harry T. Burn.
 
Often in our history one vote makes a big difference. Women’s suffrage became a national law…the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
 
For our sisters of color, the League continued to battle with others for another 44 years until the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
 
Some story, right?
 
For 97 years, generations of League women and men have fought for positive change, citizen education and civic engagement in our society. And we have NEVER supported a political party or a specific candidate. Most change doesn’t happen overnight. Each incremental victory has been a hard fought battle with obstacles that would discourage most ordinary citizens. However, if I’ve learned anything in my years associated with League, it is that our members are anything but ordinary.
 
We have and will continue to fight the good fight for our positions and educating our fellow citizens on unwieldy and complicated issues. We look to the future knowing challenges and obstacles are there, but equally are opportunities and progress!
 
So, THANK YOU, Carrie. And most all, thank you to all of you!
 
Please pass a thank you on to someone’s shoulders you are standing on today!
 
In League,
 
Pamela S. Goodman
President
League of Women Voters of Florida
 
P.S. If you made it to the end and still want to read more, check out our NEW website at www.LWVFL.org.
Take the Test about Registering Voters
August 10, 2017 By: Jean Finks
NEWS FLASH:  We just received notice of all presently certified members of the League who have passed the test (12 questions, online) to register voters at a League event, and our chapter has none.  Since you have to re-apply periodically, even if you passed the test before, it's time to take it again.
 
HOW DO I DO THAT?  You ask.  It's easy.  First, be sure your membership is uptodate.  Only League members can take the test and receive certification.  Next, go the state League's website.  Either type in thefloridavoter.org, or go to our website under links, and click on the state league.  Once there, look at the red navigation bar at the top, and click on MEMBERS.  Then VOTER REGISTRATION.  Then go through steps 2 and 3 to study and take the quiz.  You get instant feedback, and you can take the test again if you miss something.  I went through this today, and got all the answers correct after reading through the review slides.  Please join our Voter Service Chair's committee to be ready to go.
 
HOW DO YOU GET TO BE VOTER SERVICE CHAIR?  Speak up now.  We are looking for someone to take over this duty of maintaining a roster of certified members in our chapter, and organizing events to increase our voter base.  Ask us, it's not rocket science.  It's only democracy in action.
Try and Keep Up
August 9, 2017 By: Jean Finks
Those who know me well realize I love soccer.  Today's USA Today insert in the Charlotte Sun featured a story from the Milwaukee Journal about a girls' team where several members want their hair short.  Not just for convenience in play, but to look like their favorite players like Abby Wambaugh or Megan Rapinoe.  The girls on Madison girls U-11 team, the 56ers, are good.  So good that their opponents are charging they must be boys.  One 10 year old said she didn't want to get yogurt in her hair or deal with tangles.  And another when challenged, said her name was "Stella" and they didn't believe her.
 
But talent wins every time.  I love their slogan:  TRY AND KEEP UP.  We should remember this too.  Are you listening, male Google engineers?
Solar Co Ops: Are They Worth a Look?
June 15, 2017 By: Jean Finks
The state League has been collaborating with FL-SUN for awhile to establish local residential solar coops, and I took advantage of a breakout session at State Convention to learn more.  Besides allowing coop members to save up to 20% on the installation of solar on their homes, plus the advantages to shift our dependence on non-renewable energy sources, there is also the gain of some monetary benefit to our State League through coops.  Please ask me more.
I understand that most areas where coops have been launched say it took work, but the coalition with groups like Sierra Club, Climate Lobby, the Tea Party, and many others, developed new partners for future worthy efforts.  We were given lots of tips on first steps, how to launch with a great press conference, and how to counter some nay sayers.  The yellow T shirts much in evidence at convention had variations of a giant sun with "Let the Sun Pay Your Bills."  I was delighted to learn that interest crosses party lines, and once a group can locate 30 or more interested potential joiners, then FL SUN will help each household determine how much solar is appropriate for each house, and what kind of roof and space each has, then help would-be coop members form a leadership group to choose our own group installer from lists FL-SUN can provide. who will provide individual quotes before anybody commits. If I have conflated some of the steps, what impressed me is how much decision making is left to the locals, with FL SUN and the League only helping steer us to reliable installers, and giving us tools to do our own evaluations.  Prices differ depending on roof type (tile, asphalt, or metal), and age.  It is advised to have sufficient roof life left before installing panels. Some families want to offset only half their power bills, but others may want to go whole hog.  I look forward to learning more.  It was explained to me that although we helped launch 6 new coops just last month, we are "small potatoes" to FPL and other power providers.  A whole chapter of Bob Graham's book is devoted to the Georgia woman who successfuly championed individual solar in her state.  We would not be inventing the wheel, just harnessing the sun to save some money.
 
Past President's State Convention Views
June 15, 2017 By: Jean Finks
Our view of the Atlantic outside our window was tempting, but League leaders kept us far to busy to enjoy the outdoors.  Three plenary sessions crammed elections, adoption of action issues, statewide consideration of open primary study, and all the highlights in Julie S's summary from July 13. We had sent in photos of our chapter events, but it was up to new president Julie McGillivray to tell our League sisters how we have been doing.  Since it has been four years since I attended convention, I forgot the two minute "ask" during chapter roll call, but Julie did just fine. All these speaking opportunities are designed to train each of us up as future leaders.  One chapter had prepared a mini video about who are the voters (of today and tomorrow).  I hope we can obtain a copy to post on our website.  It was terrific.  Next time, we will put our media specialist to work to outdo that chapter.
 
Personally, I was disappointed that some members who did not favor open primaries tried to silence our consensus voting.  But several members stood up and figuratively raised the flag of "we are for everyone's right to vote, we are not here to protect any political party."  That rallying cry shifted the mood, and we were able to defend the consensus votes on most items.  It was a good review of parliamentary procedure.
 
The local circuit judge who sat in until he was needed to swear in our new officers commented Saturday evening that he wished he had a video of our voting sessions, as he wanted to teach folks in Tallahassee how to govern.  Former Governor and 3-term U.S. Senator was our keynote speaker the last evening.  He was gracious and funny.  Afterward, he and wife Adele, accompanied by "wingman" co-author Chris Hand, stayed until the last of us had a chance to buy his book, get an autograph, and pose for pictures.  His theme:  returning the teaching of civics to our public schools.  The lack of same is Gov. Graham's reason for our current predicament.  As Gov. Graham is approaching 81 years of age and still going strong at his think tank in Gainesville, while not spending time with 11 grandchildren and plotting for his daughter Gwen's campaign for Florida governor hext year, he gave me new energy for the fights ahead.
Florida LWV Convention 2017 Report
June 13, 2017 By: Julie Stewart
League Members Gather to Shape the Future
 
Nearly 200 League members gathered in Fort Lauderdale Beach on Friday and Saturday at their State Convention to make decisions that will help direct and shape the League of Women Voters of Florida for the next two years. Charlotte County LWV board members Jean Finks and Julie McGillivray represented our chapter at the event.
 
But the overriding headline was the League's explosive 65% membership growth this past year. LWVF is now the second largest state league in the country. Orange County with more than 750 members is now the second largest local league in the country, followed by third place Palm Beach and St. Petersburg fourth. A number of Leagues throughout the State have doubled their membership.
 
"This is a year of which we can all be proud," said LWVF President Pamela Goodman. "Our non-partisan, multi-position stand is drawing new members daily. But it is not just a question of numbers, it is the energy, knowledge, and determination of our members that makes Florida an example to Leagues throughout the nation. Our historical process is one of credibility and integrity. In the end, we make things happen."
 
The Open Primary Study, which achieved consensus earlier this year by its membership, was added to the League's statewide positions. The aim of the study, which was headed by Orange County's Michele Levy, and took two years to complete, was to examine ways to increase voter participation in primary elections. It recommended "statewide use of an Open Primary election system that would allow for the broadest possible voter participation, including No Party and Minor Party affiliate voters."
 
Vikram Amar, dean of the University of Illinois College of Law, who spoke on the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, said that slavery was the biggest single driver behind the Electoral College. Dr. Amar said that today the Electoral College benefits from just a handful of states. "It is a good moment in U.S. history to change the Electoral College rules," he said. "...we need a standard, national ballot."
 
Additionally, The League formally began their work as a coalition partner in the campaign to get the citizen initiative regarding Restoration of Former Felons Rights on the 2018 ballot and discussed their role in the Constitution Revision Commission process.
 
There were workshops, caucuses and meetings, as well as time to make friends, influence people and hear words of wisdom from the League's National President Chris Carson, Rick Christie, editorial page editor Palm Beach Post, former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fl., and Chris Hand, the senator's co-author of "America The Owner's Manual."
 
Officers and Board Directors were also elected. Goodman, from Palm Beach County League, was re-elected as President for an additional 2 year term. The remaining Board elected are:
1st Vice President: Patti Brigham,
2nd Vice President: Cecile Scoon,
Secretary: Pat Drago,
Treasurer: Theresa Francis-Thomas
 
Board Members: Shawn Bartelt, Anna Eskamani, Lisa Hall, Julie Kessel, and Michele Levy.
 
Nominating Committee: LaVonne Grayson, Mary Gutierrez, and Maggie Fernandez
 
Special Session Over: A Wrap Up
June 13, 2017 By: Julie Stewart

Excerpted from WGCU's report on the final results of the 2017 Special Session of the Legislature:

The final day of the legislature’s brief special session played out the way many regular sessions do: last minute amendments, bills bouncing from chamber to chamber and sweeping deals secured at the eleventh hour.  But once the votes were cast, the state’s Republican leaders put their bickering aside and met in the rotunda to congratulate one another. 

“As you know,” Governor Rick Scott explained, “I called a special session because I believed that we should have more money for K-12 education, we should make sure we can market our state well, and we can make sure we continue to grow jobs.”

And lawmakers were willing to oblige.  Visit Florida’s funding will jump from $25 to $76 million.  Lawmakers approved an $85 million fund for infrastructure and job training.  Per pupil spending will climb by $100.  And in a bargain struck Friday, he even got money for the Herbert Hoover dike. 

But to make it out of Tallahassee lawmakers had to notch wins of their own.  On Thursday evening Senate President Joe Negron was livid over the governor and the House preparing to pay for the education increase with Senate projects vetoed from the budget. 

But to make it out of Tallahassee lawmakers had to notch wins of their own.  On Thursday evening Senate President Joe Negron was livid over the governor and the House preparing to pay for the education increase with Senate projects vetoed from the budget.  Many of the vetoes Negron was worried about had to do with higher education, and Friday, he got a $60 million olive branch—covering nearly 20 projects at state colleges and universities.