January Newsletter  - Volume 3, Issue 4




Upcoming WDC Events

Montgomery County Democratic Party's Annual Brunch  

Obamacare House Parties  

2013 Women's Legislative Briefing   

Launch of New Website 

Board Report   

WDC Presented "Being an Effective Advocate" January 14, 2013

County Executive Ike Leggett Discusses Budget Process at January Luncheon 

Suggestion Box 


You may click on one of the above titles to go directly to that subject, or simply scroll down the newsletter.     


Thanks to Sybil Cantor and Bonnie Wicklund for their contributions to the newsletter.




Mark your calendars now for these upcoming events. For more information on locations and registration, watch for future e-mails and daisy cards - or visit our website at www.mcWSDC.org.



Thursday, February 7


WDC Annapolis Day

8:45 a.m. - 4 p.m.


This is a unique opportunity to visit with your delegates and senators to hear what will be happening during the 2013 session of the General Assembly and to learn about their legislative priorities. You will have the opportunity see the General Assembly in session, take a private tour of the State House and attend committee hearings. We have requested a meeting with Governor Martin O'Malley and await word of his availability. Carpools will depart Chevy Chase Shopping Center parking lot. Questions? Contact Legislative Chair Lenna Israbian-Jamgochian at lisrabian@aol.com or 301-512-0329. To RSVP go to www.mcWSDC.org


Thursday, January 14 

Happy Hour    

5:30-7 p.m.  

Lebanese Taverna

7141 Arlington Road, Bethesda


Want to meet new people and talk politics?  Join us at the next WDC Happy Hour. Every second Thursday of each month, Democrats who are passionate about politics gather to relax and network with WDC members and their guests. Whether you want to meet elected officials, make new friends, form new business contacts or just have fun, the WDC Happy Hour is the perfect place to meet and greet fellow Democrats.   



Tuesday, February 19


Going Into Practice: Implementing Obamacare in Maryland

7 - 8:30 p.m.

Home of Lucy Freeman, 4708 Dorset Avenue, Chevy Chase


WDC is hosting Obamacare house parties in each of the County's legislative districts beginning with District 16. For additional information, see Obamacare House Parties.  For more information or to make a reservation, please contact Lucy Freeman at dorset4708@yahoo.com or 301-654-8115.



Tuesday, March 12


E. J. Dionne 

Lunch with columnist E. J.  Dionne, author of Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent

12 noon

Normandie Farm Restaurant

Details to follow







Sunday, March 3 Brunch

Doors open at 12:30 p.m.

Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center

5701 Marinelli Road, Rockville


It's time to celebrate what we've accomplished and gear up for the 2014 campaign. What better place to do that than at the Annual Democratic County Brunch? For more information and to make a reservation, please click here .




WDC is hosting a series of Obamacare house parties beginning with District 16 on Tuesday, February 19. Additional house parties in Legislative Districts 19 and 20 will be scheduled in March and April. Leni Preston, chair, Maryland Women's Coalition for Health Care Reform and lead advocate for "Getting It Right" in implementing health care reform in Maryland, will brief our members on how the Affordable Care Act of 2010 affects you - and how Maryland is implementing it. Enjoy drinks, appetizers, networking and good conversation!   








Board Member Carmela Cowgill chats with an attendee at WDC's exhibit.
The Montgomery County Commission for Women held their annual Women's Legislative Briefing Sunday, January 27. WDC was once again a co-sponsor and exhibitor at the event. Attendees heard from Dr. Bernice Sandler, "The Godmother of Title IX," as well as several elected officials including Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin and Congressmen John Sarbanes and John Delaney. Seminars were held on topics ranging from "Women, Families and Poverty" to "Safety, Justice and Human Rights". We were pleased to see many WDC members in attendance.   







WLB Panel
Senator Cardin, Congressmen Delaney and  Sarbanes participate in panel moderated by Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro.



Dr. Bernice Sandler
Dr. Sandler delivers keynote address.













 WLB Mikulski
Sen. Barbara Mikulski addresses the plenary session 



Article4LAUNCH OF NEW WEBSITE         



Watch your e-mails for the launch of our new website to go with our new name! We'd love to receive your feedback. Please send any comments you may have to wdcmcmd@gmail.com. 


Article16BOARD REPORT           



Nominating Committee: Our by-laws require that a nominating committe Director Chair e be named in January to consist of 3 Board members and 2 non-Board members. The following members were appointed:


Board members: Carmela Cowgill (cacowgill@yahoo.com); Lucy Freeman (dorset4708@yahoo.com); June Jeffries (jjeffries1978@verizon.net)


Non-Board members: Janet Lowenthal (janet.jim@verizon.net); Sara Watkins (sarawatkins1@aol.com)


The committee will nominate the officers of the Club. The remainder of the Board will be appointed by the incoming president. This is your opportunity to get more involved. Please feel free to forward names of any members - including yours - to the committee for consideration.


Gun Control Legislation: The Board recently voted to join a newly-formed statewide coalition "Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence" (www.marylanderstopreventgunviolence.org). In the past there has been no organized group devoted exclusively to enacting gun control legislation. The coalition will be working in support of the Governor's legislative proposals as well as measures to be introduced by several House and Senate members. The first legislative newsletter to be distributed next month will contain details on the substance and status of these bills. 





                                                                                                    By Bonnie Wicklund 


Robyn Elliott, of Public Policy Partners, a lobbying organization which represents several consumer and health care provider organizations; and Leni Preston, chair of the Maryland Women's Coalition for Health Care Reform led an informal workshop titled "How You Can Make a Difference in Annapolis: The Secrets to Being an Effective Advocate" at the Lawton Center in Bethesda.


Drawing on years of experience in the Maryland legislative process in the health care field, the presenters began by defining lobbying and advocacy. While not all lobbyists are paid, Elliott said, there is a specific legal definition in Maryland: anyone who is paid $2500 or more in a calendar year from lobbying activities is required to register as a lobbyist, and in the interests of public transparency, must report campaign contributions.


Advocacy, on the other hand, has a more grass roots connotation, Preston explained, but effective advocacy by volunteers is nevertheless well organized, and can substantially affect public policy. Unlike legislators at the federal level, our state representatives have limited time and resources for researching and understanding the issues and bills presented for their consideration. In the Maryland state house as many as 2500 bills may be presented in a 90 day session. Thus lobbyists and advocates play a big part in getting legislators to pay attention to certain issues, and providing information and expertise.


Elliott and Preston stressed that putting together an advocacy team requires thinking strategically: identifying people who are experts in the field, or who can pull in experts; recruiting people who know lots of other people who may be able to help; building bridges to other organizations--coalition building; and finding people who are knowledgeable about how the process works. Preston also emphasized that effective advocates learn how to acknowledge differing points of view on the other side of an issue, particularly business interests.


Finally, the two spoke about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act at the state level. Maryland is the leader among the 26 or 27 states that are implementing Obamacare by building its own Health Benefit Exchange, marylandhbe.com, under a nine-member board whose members are required to have a background in health care.   


Visit www.mdhealthcarereform.org, the website of the Maryland Women's Coalition for Health Care Reform, to find "Tools for Advocacy" and how to get involved. To find out what is going on at the legislative level, check out the Maryland government website, mgaleg.maryland.gov and of course, the WDC website www.mcWSDC.org has links to other organizations advocating health care reform.






County Executive Ike Leggett presented an overview of the County's budget process complete with the following set of graphics:


Where the Money Comes Frp,

33% comes from property tax; 28.5% comes from income tax and 15.75 comes from state and federal government.




Where Money Goes

 Almost 49% goes to Montgomery County public schools




Government Spending

Since County Executive Leggett took office, the budget decreased from FY 08 through FY 11.  In the last 2 years county spending has increased but at a lower rate than before he took office.

Budget Shortfalls Closed
In 6 years budget shortfalls  of $2.635 billion were closed.



Positions abolished







 Suggestion Box

Do you have ideas for future programs? Do you know someone who would be a great speaker at a future WDC event? Or would you just like to get more involved with the overall work of the Club? If so, please send an e-mail to  wdcmcmd@gmail.com or visit www.mcWSDC.org and click on "Volunteer" to complete the "It Takes a Village" volunteer form.




 Keeping members better informed, better connected and more politically effective since 1957      



Woman's Democratic Club
Jane Merkin.President
www.mcwsdc.org     wdcmcmd@gmail.com
Woman's Democratic Club
Sybil Cantor
Email Coordinator