It Takes a League to Build a Workshop. This article was written for the Dec./Jan/ 2018-19 League Line
One notebook, 2 moderators, 8 months, 10 committee members, 11 day-of-event workers, 16 panelists, 17 people registered-that mostly sums up what it takes to hold a How to Run for Public Office workshop held on Nov. 17, 2018 at the Union County Government Center in Lewisburg.
The panelists were Republicans and Democrats. They were from Snyder, Union, Northumberland, Centre, Perry, and Montour counties. They were males and females. They were from federal, state, and local levels of government. We had long term public office holders, and people who participated in their first campaign.
Some of those who registered for the workshop will probably show up on a ballot in 2019. Others were there to figure out if they want to run and if they do, how to get started.
Three of the sessions were devoted to ideas and suggestions for getting started on a run for public office. One session, led by our election board officials from Union and Snyder counties, covered the legal procedures and requirements for candidates. And a fifth session was on coalition building during which the registrants could talk with political party representatives.
Attendees said in their evaluations that the workshop was useful, that it was very well facilitated by the moderators, that the workshop was helpful, and that the food was excellent. It is our sincere hope that those who attended this workshop left with the knowledge and belief that they know what to do to start a campaign to run for public office.
At the pre-workshop session for women the panelists discussed the challenges and opportunities for women running for office. Things have not been easy for those women who were the first in their field. Since our workshop we became aware of three women who were not able to attend our workshop to inquire about running for office. To those women we were able to provide a link to an electronic copy of the notebook that was given to all of those who attended the workshop. The reach of our workshop has been extended beyond the actual event.
Photo Caption: L-R- Mary Zimmerman, Cynthia Peltier, Shari Jacobson, Pat Longley, and Susan Travis .
We are excited to announce the launch of our new http://www.fairdistrictspa.com/. Take some time to explore the site. It now has pages for local groups, a robust FAQ section and other significant improvements. We are happy to have a tool that will help us inform, engage and motivate citizens in the difficult work of redistricting reform.
Thank you for your continued support as we continue to work to restore a representative democracy where every vote counts and every voice is heard.
This year marks the retirement of Susan Travis as editor of our League's much heralded and respected Voters Guide. Sue was the editor or co-editor of 19 editions of the Voters Guide. When asked what she liked about this work Sue said the best part was getting to know League members, some of whom she otherwise might not have gotten to know. Many of these co-workers became her friends. Sue also enjoyed researching and writing the educational/informational pieces on voting she wrote to use in the guide. When talking with Sue, it doesn't take long to recognize that anything that has to do with voting is a passion for her. On Election Day Sue can be found on duty at the Kelly Township, precinct 1, polling place as the Judge of Elections. Previously she served as Clerk of Elections. In 2002, Sue, along with other League members in co-operation with the Union County Board of Elections produced a training manual for county poll workers. In 2008 this same group of people worked on revisions to the training manual. In 2006 voting machines came to Union County. Sue organized and trained League members to teach voters how to vote using the machines. These volunteers went on the road with the machines to train voters, including sessions at the Susquehanna Valley Mall. In 2012 it appeared that Voter ID legislation would be passed that would leave some voters without the correct form of ID to vote. Sue, Ann Grundstrom, and other League members worked all summer long to inform those who might be affected by this legislation on how to get the ID they needed to vote. Sue's other League activities include serving on the Board of Directors for 14 years, President from 2010- 2012, Voter Services chair 2002 & 2008, and slide show producer using pictures of our League's various activities. Sue's story in her words: When I was in my early 20's I went to the polls in my hometown on a primary election day, where my father was running for town council. While there, I saw a young man come in to vote, and proudly announce that he was a first time voter after recently becoming an American citizen. However, he wasn't registered for a major party, and since it was a closed primary he was unable to vote. I watched the poll worker tell him he can't vote, without explaining the reason why. I saw him leave, crestfallen, and couldn't resist following him out so I could explain it to him. He was so grateful, and pleased to understand why he couldn't vote now, and to know that he definitely could vote in November, I told myself someday, I would become a poll worker, and I would encourage people to vote, and would never rudely turn them away without an explanation. Once I retired from work, that promise became a reality, and I've been doing it ever since. Editing the Voters Guide also fulfilled that mission of educating and encouraging voter participation, which is the basis of Democracy. During the last election, Phyllis Dyer, a Judge at a different precinct, told me about a woman who came to vote, but was new to the area and didn't know much about the candidates. Phyllis gave her a Voters Guide and she spent 45 minutes reading it. Then she proudly went to vote because she now knew who she wanted to vote for and why. Before she left the polling place she thanked Phyllis and everyone in the League who works on the Voters Guide for providing such invaluable information to voters. Stories like this and seeing people come in to my precinct on Election Day and immediately go to the table for a Voters Guide, absolutely, makes all the work that's put into it worthwhile. Although I've given up my position as Editor of the Guide, I still hope to contribute, and will continue as Judge of Election...helping voters, which not only includes giving information, verifying credentials, etc. but also occasionally holding babies so young mothers can vote, opening doors so a wheel chair bound person can vote, and basically doing whatever is needed to make election day run smoothly. I feel privileged to be able do this worthwhile job. I also feel privileged to work with such wonderful, capable, and committed people in the League and on the Election Board.
...and Liz too, Liz Clement is also retiring from her duties as Voters Guide Editor. Liz has served as editor and co-editor of 5 Voters Guides and has been a compiler/proofer of 5 guides. You will recognize Liz as the treasurer of our League. As treasurer Liz has served on our League's board of directors for 11 years. Liz continues the tradition of a VG editor who dots every "i" and crosses every "t" when she is working on the guide. This is how Liz described her work as Voters Guide editor: "I joined the League as a way to give back for all the years I religiously read the Voters Guide and took it into the polls with me. It's so rewarding to work on it now and then see it at distribution points all over the county, and to hear people saying how helpful and informative it is."
...there is a new VG editor in town, her name is Sheri. Sheri Stayton joined our League in 2016. Almost immediately she found the place she wanted to be, working on the Voters Guide. Sheri's first VG was the spring 2017 edition. Welcome Sheri! A grateful League thanks you for taking on this project.
On Friday March 17 one hundred ninth grade Lewisburg Area High School students took a trip to the state capitol in Harrrisburg along with 10 teachers and aides to chaperone. They toured the stunningly ornate capitol building and presented Pro and Con arguments to State Representative Fred Keller on 4 different bills in the official House Caucus Room. High school social studies teacher Dakota Gessner and his students selected the bills ahead of time so that Rep. Keller could prepare to engage students in discussion. The League's Mauch Project fund paid for the three buses as well as water and snacks for the trip. Please look for more complete coverage of this exciting event in the local media in the coming days. Our very great thanks to Rep. Keller and his staff; to Mr. Gessner, Mrs. Rapp and their colleagues at the high school, and to the students who attended and engaged so completely in the events of this exciting day!
2. If an invited state or local candidate is unable or decides not to appear at a scheduled Candidates Night, the event will still be held. This is the case even if only one candidate for an office with a scheduled panel appears. Unopposed candidates may appear alone.
2B. Federal Races- In cases where more than one candidate for a federal office is present, but not all the candidates, the League will follow the same format as originally planned with those candidates who are in attendance. Names of absent candidates will be announced as the office arises. If only one candidate is present, the debate for that office will be cancelled.
3. No substitutes or stand-ins for the candidates will be allowed.
4. The moderator will announce that all candidates were invited to participate. In announcing that a candidate is not participating, the moderator will present a brief statement that a candidate either did not respond or declined or was unable to participate without any editorial comment.
5. The candidate or candidates who attend will have an opportunity to make opening and closing statements and to express their positions on issues and respond to questions submitted by our League and the audience. Should a candidate, that committed to attend, advise our League in writing, that he/she is unable to appear due to extra ordinary circumstances, and at the discretion of our League's Board, may then submit a written statement to be read by the moderator equal in length to the opening statement of the candidate or candidates present on the panel for that office.
6. All media outlets that typically cover LWVLA events will be notified of this policy in the press releases, media interviews, social media and other communications prior to the events.
7. The League of Women Voters of the Lewisburg Area Candidates Night events will be conducted in accordance with other event rules as provided to candidates with their invitations.
Part I: Trust, Transparency and the NewsTuesday, September 19, 7:00pm- Old LAHS auditorium
The Town Hall will be moderated by Lisa Hurm, Vice President and General Manager of the Pittsburgh Post- Gazette and Secretary/Treasurer of the Pennsylvania News Media Association. The keynote speaker is Linda Beck, communications adjunct professor at HACC. After Linda's presentation, she will join a panel comprised of Dennis Lyons, editor for the Daily Item, and Teri MacBride of the League of Women Voters for a Q & A session.
Part II: Union County/Municipal Government-What Do I Need To Know
Wed., October 4 at 7:00 pm, Fellowship Hall at St John's United Church, 1050 Buffalo Rd., Lewisburg
Find out about the services Union County and local government municipalities provide using our tax dollars. How do these government bodies plan for growth and change? How do they implement public services such as safety and response, road surfacing, zoning permits and protections, and utilities in some areas (i.e.Mifflinburg). The participants in this event are: Facilitator- Mary Margaret Rostan; Panelists: Union County Commissioner-Preston Boop; Mifflinburg Borough Manager-Margaret Metzger; Lewisburg Borough Mayor-Judith Wagner; East Buffalo Township Supervisor-Hank Baylor; White Deer Twp. Emergency Management Coordinator-Larry Maynard.
Part III: How the Legislative and Executive Branches of our State and Federal Governments Operate
Tuesday, October 10 at 7:00 pm East Buffalo Township Building, 589 Fairground Rd., Lewisburg
Topics- How legislative districts are created & changed, how a law is created & passed, how laws are carried out by federal & state agencies, the power & responsibilities of the legislative & executive branch to shape and deliver program to citizens, and opportunities for citizens to engage in these activities. Facilitator: Stacy Richards. Panelists include Susquehanna University professors-Dr. Michele DeMary and Dr. Rolfe Daus Peterson; Director SEDA-COG- Stacy Richards; and recently retired litigator PA DEP, Amy Ershler.
Part IV: Why Courts Matter
Wednesday, November 15, 7:00 pm East Buffalo Township Building, 589 Fairground Rd., Lewisburg
This program will feature a presentation on our system of checks and balances among the three branches of government. It will explain the important role of the courts and the workings of our local and state courts, how the federal courts work, and the role of the Supreme Court of the United States in our court system. Panel: Hon. Louise Knight, Senior Judge, Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas; Fred Martin, Esquire, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania; Mary Beth Clark, Esq., Litigator and League of Women Voters of Lewisburg Area Board Member.
Click here to watch video Why Courts Matter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ut7U-7RdvZM&feature=em-share_video_user
For additional information about the League and these programs : http://www.lwvlewisburgarea.org.