WDC Final

May Newsletter  - Volume 4, Issue 8



Upcoming WDC Events

Upcoming Democratic Candidates Forum

Says Elijah Cummings "It's What You're Fighting For!"

Report on April 30 Gubernatorial Forum

2014 Ballot Questions Advisory Committee Needs Volunteers  

Democratic Volunteers Needed For Early Voting  

Voting Information - Early Voting and Absentee Ballots  

Additional WDC Members Who Are Candidates For Office  

New Newsletter Feature - INTERVIEW 

Social Media Update --- We're on Twitter! 

Political Book Club

Volunteers: It Takes a Village 

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, Teddi Pensinger, Stacey Maud, Joyce Lipman, Linda Kolko and Bonnie Wicklund for their contributions to this newsletter.





Thursday, June 12           

Happy Hour     Coctail

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.      



Thursday, June 26  


"Kiss and Make Up Party"

7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Hilton Hotel and Executive Meeting Center   

1750 Rockville Pike     

Across the street from the Twinbrook Red Line Metro Station

Free Parking

Cost: $20 in advance by June 19, $30 at the door


To make your reservation for this event, send your check to Judith Heimann, 6900 Marbury Road, Bethesda, MD 20817 or reserve online at http://www.womansdemocraticclub.org.


Don't miss the Woman's Democratic Club's fifth quadrennial "Kiss and Make-Up Party", a Montgomery County Maryland Democratic Party tradition. Join us - and bring your friends, your precinct chairs, your spouses, your campaign workers, and your Democratic opponent to our Cocktail Reception! Click here to view the invitation.





Thursday, June 5

District 20 Democratic Candidates Forum

Sponsored by the Greater Silver Spring Democratic Club

7:30 p.m.

Takoma Park Middle School
7311 Piney Branch Road
Takoma Park, MD

Proudly Co-Sponsored by the following Democratic Clubs:  Woman's Democratic Club of Montgomery County, Montgomery County Young Democrats, and District 20 Democratic Breakfast Club


Wednesday, June 11

County Executives Candidates Forum

Sponsored by Washington Hebrew Congregation for the Montgomery County Community

7:30 - 9:00 p.m.

Julia Bindeman Suburban Center

11810 Falls Road

Potomac, MD   202-362-7100 or 301-279-7505


Participants:  The four candidates for County Executive of Montgomery County--Phil Andrews (D), Doug Duncan (D), Ike Leggett (D), and Jim Shalleck (R).


Moderator:  Dan Werner of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions.





                                                                                          by Joyce Lipman




"Put it in every cell of your brain: Only in America can the son of two sharecroppers rise to become a Congressman." So said 7th District Congressman Elijah Cummings, (D-MD) who himself made this journey, when he spoke at the Woman's Democratic Club's (WDC's) May dinner.


Congressman Cummings believes that we need to wake up to the fact that we are now in a revolutionary period in our country-one in which we will need to fight to ensure that our values succeed. In Congress, our values are expressed by our representatives; yet many are being denied that representation through voter suppression.

And suppression of voters' voices has even happened in the hearing rooms of Congress. Referencing Representative Issa's attempt to silence him at a recent hearing, Congressman Cummings had these words: "After all people have to go through to vote (long lines, etc.), they even turn off the mike. We've got to do something about it!" According to the Congressman, friends from all over the world contacted him questioning what this incident says about our democracy. What he told Issa in private after the incident was this: "I will rise up from the casket, but you will not silence me!"

The Congressman considers Citizens United an attack on our democracy because it allows someone to buy an election. He believes we have much work to do to make sure our grandchildren have the same democracy we have enjoyed. 

In Congress, he says, we are not addressing real problems like the need to invest in our fragile infrastructure-something re-emphasized for him in real terms by the recent road collapse in Baltimore. Instead, we are re-investigating Benghazi, on which many reports from respected sources have already been written. "We," says the Congressman, "are better than that!" Sadly, Congressman Cummings does not see this situation changing anytime soon. After the exciting election of President Obama, we had to face the disrespect of people in Congress who were not afraid to call him a liar or a scumbag publicly.

The Congressman thinks that efforts to stop people from voting backfire because they make people even more determined to make their voices heard. That is why the President won in spite of these efforts. It also made a difference in the last election when we had people going into Virginia and Pennsylvania to remind potential voters that they have power. These voters must keep pounding on the legislature with calls and messages.

Congressman Cummings quoted a voter who said we must tell people to "be a witness" to the impact of what is happening, how policies and acrimony in Washington are hurting real people. He encouraged activists, who of course include WDC members, to spread their knowledge of the issues and candidates to friends and relatives who may not be as informed. This knowledge is power.

Telling the story of a dying friend, the Congressman shared this man's thought that we are all part of each other's destinies, and, because of our values, we are "fellow feeders of the soul." Congressman Cummings sits on many boards that relate to education because these boards allow him to shape a child's destiny. He will never forget that, shockingly, he himself was once placed in a special education class. Out of his pain came a passion and a purpose. Pain. Passion. Purpose. This sequence has long directed advocacy for changing lives.


Congressman Cummings chose to speak primarily to values rather than about what is going on in DC. "It's not," as he says, "whom you're against. It's what you're fighting for."


Would a Constitutional Amendment address the anti-voting movement? No. We already have the right to vote. The issue of voter fraud is a false one. The problem is narrow Congressional Districts favoring one party. We need to fix this problem while redoubling our efforts to get people to the polls.

Key Tactical Issues

A)   Immigration-"11 million people? You can't just send them back."

B)   Minimum wage-The Congressman spoke of workers who depend on tips, the disappearance of the safety net, and the high cost of daycare.

C)   Healthcare-We have done well but need to fix the problems often caused by compromises with the Republicans.

D)   Post office-We need reforms that do not affect the jobs of postal workers.

Other questions related to an overabundance of planned parking spaces at NIH (where he bemoaned the cutback of medical research) and jobs at the Port of Baltimore. Congressman Cummings ended by expressing gratitude for his opportunities and reminding us of how proud we should be to live in a "can-do nation."


                                                             by Bonnie Wicklund and Joyce Lipman




About 150 enthusiastic citizens braved a violent rain storm to hear gubernatorial candidates, Attorney General Doug Gansler and Maryland State Delegate Heather Mizeur, vie for their votes in a forum sponsored by WDC and 17 Democratic clubs and caucuses. Lt. Governor Anthony Brown had an unfortunate schedule conflict. As the forum began, WDC president Beth Tomasello introduced the candidates and other elected officials as well as moderator Blair Lee, longtime political commentator and radio personality. She also offered kudos to the cosponsors and to WDC Vice President Linda Kolko, the event organizer.


According to the agreed-upon format, each candidate was allotted a total of half an hour, including a three-minute opening and a two-minute closing statements.  During the remainder of the time, the moderator posed questions developed by the WDC and from the audience.  [The candidates were not on stage at the same time, but for the sake of comparison, their statements and answers to the questions are presented together in this report.]  


Opening Statements 


Heather Mizeur stressed that she is a "doer," in her eight years as a legislator repeatedly bringing people together to get things done, such as the "Kids First Act," which used the tax rolls to identify uninsured children to let parents know that they were eligible for health insurance.  Another example she cited was

 Heather Mizur and  Blair Lee

working with the head of the Tea Party caucus to expand family planning services to low-income workers.  She led the charge to make sure that we didn't  "frack first and ask questions later" like other states  around us, she said, explaining that the next governor will make decisions about fracking in Maryland, and that this decision should be influenced by science and environmental concerns.  Mizeur then turned to the issue of income inequality, advocating a "living wage" as opposed to merely a minimum wage increase.  "It's unacceptable to work 40 hours a week and still live in poverty," she asserted.  She would ask corporations and millionaires to pay their fair share in order to generate enough new revenue to give meaningful tax relief to 90% of all Maryland families and small businesses.  On education, she would tackle and eliminate the achievement gap with a comprehensive, universal pre-K plan that includes after-school programs.  Summing up, Mizeur stated that she "never allows politics to get in the way of progress."


Doug Gansler
Doug Gansler
focused his opening on women, specifically Jolene Ivey, his running mate, who if elected would be the first African American woman lieutenant governor.  She started a national non-profit organization called "Mocha Moms" with an emphasis on parenting issues for women of color and, more recently, was elected the chair of the Prince George's delegation.  Gansler spoke proudly of his wife Laura, who he said is "everything I'm not; she is smart and shy."  She is a lawyer with the Financial IndustryRegulatory Authority, an independent, not-for-profit organization authorized by Congress to protect America's investors by making sure the securities industry operates fairly and honestly.  She has also published two books-one of which was made into the movie North Country, 

In Maryland only three things are certain:  death, taxes and the state budget's structural deficit.  According to the Department of Legislative Services, the next governor faces a $404 million shortfall in 2015 between revenues and spending.  To close this year's deficit, Governor O'Malley and the legislature used $200 million from the state's employee pension payment.  In other years they've used the transportation and Bay funds, cut state aid to local governments, shifted state obligations to the locals and financed operating costs with debt.  As governor how will you address the projected budget shortfall?


As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Mizeur said that she voted against the dip into the employee pension fund. She believes this would not have been necessary if the legislature had not voted an estate tax giveaway to the heirs of millionaires and a reduction in taxes for the top 3% of earners in our state.  She would like to fix the loophole called "combined reporting" of large companies that helps them avoid taxes in Maryland by reporting their revenue in other states.



Maryland has a structural deficit, he said, because we are spending more than we take in revenue, due to a falling tax base.  Compared to eight years ago, Maryland now has 7,000 fewer small businesses, only four Fortune 500 companies left, and 76% more people unemployed.  We can increase the tax base and bring jobs back to Maryland by capitalizing on our assets such as NIH, NSA and Johns Hopkins, in life sciences and cyber security.  He advocated using tax incentives to bring back manufacturing to Maryland.  From his 22 years' experience as a prosecutor, the Attorney General is convinced that we can reduce recidivism if we can help convicts find a job upon release. Opportunities for online study and job training would serve this end. Gansler also would like to see a high school apprenticeship program that would allow some students to graduate workforce-ready with a "certificate of mastery" in a vocation of choice, like plumbing or construction.


Question 2

During the 2013 legislative session, Baltimore City won a $600 million, 30-year school construction state guarantee enjoyed by no other Maryland local government.  How can Montgomery County and other fast-growing school systems get the same deal?



Mizeur defended her role as a legislator in the decision to fund Baltimore school construction because of the "prison-like conditions" she saw when she toured some of the existing schools there.  She asked voters to look at her website to investigate her plan to fund school construction throughout the state.



"Elect a governor from Montgomery County!" Gansler said.  He went on to tell a story about how Montgomery County is regarded as an ATM machine for the rest of the state, an attitude which he said is all too prevalent in Baltimore and Annapolis.  While our county is wealthy, he pointed out that we have a very diverse population with 166 foreign languages spoken by our students.  In addition, we have a stark achievement gap and overcrowded schools, so we need a strong advocate in the governor's office.


Question 3

All three candidates for the Democratic nomination are progressives.  Given the fiscal and political constraints of office, how much will your administration really differ from your opponents'?  In other words, what will you do, or not do, differently from them?



"I have a very different vision from the other two candidates," Mizeur proclaimed, saying  that she is not the "status quo, next-in-line" candidate; that she is the only candidate who wants a living wage, not just a minimum wage, and the only one who has come out against the liquefied natural gas plant at Cove Point.  Mizeur said that she would legalize and tax marijuana to pay for universal pre -K. 



Calling the economic situation unsustainable, Gansler vowed to focus on improving the job situation, the area where he sees the greatest contrast with the O'Malley Administration and candidate Brown, who would continue the same policies. Gansler also stressed that in areas of agreement-social issues-over 22 years he had himself been a leader in trying to rectify what he saw as injustices. For example, he testified in Annapolis in favor of marriage equality years before it was politically acceptable--"and they literally tried to impeach me"--and in favor of the Dream Act. Under his leadership as state Attorney General, Maryland was the lead state in testifying in favor of the Affordable Care Act at the Supreme Court. 


Gansler went on to condemn Lt. Governor Brown's mishandling of the ACA in Maryland, which he said hurt the Democratic Party, Maryland taxpayers, and ordinary people trying to get health care.  The entrenched establishment "rallied the wagons" in covering up what happened, Gansler charged.  Finally, he said that as the elected Chairman of the National Association of State Attorneys General, he went after the five largest banks in the country that were responsible for the financial crisis. Maryland was the 6th worst hit state in mortgage foreclosures, and Gansler said he was able to help many Marylanders stay in their homes.


Question 4

So far, what's been the single biggest unexpected surprise you've experienced running statewide for governor?



The biggest surprise is that "not everyone naturally thought I would win!"  She went on to say that her candidacy is pushing against an entrenched Democratic political machine and that she sees a more progressive Maryland than the elected leadership.  She pointed out that she is the first candidate in twenty years to opt in to the public financing system.


As a follow-on to this question for Mizeur, Blair Lee noted that last week a noted Republican pundit had said that Heather Mizeur might well be "in the driver's seat,"  and that the conventional wisdom that one of the two front runners--Brown or Gansler--would win is "all wrong." 


Voters want a transformational candidate, Mizeur responded, someone who is fearless in trying new policies and solutions even if they are not popular. They want a governor who is responsive to their concerns, not just those of special interests.  She also stressed her core values as a Democrat, but said she would not let the party label prevent her from working with others to get things done.  Regarding when her candidacy would begin running ads on air and television, as the other two candidates are already doing, Mizeur again noted that she is using public financing and that she is not taking corporate money.



He said that the biggest surprise was the "strength and urgency of the political machine and special interests" in the state.  He went on to say that campaign financing in our state is a serious problem and that he had started a bipartisan commission to fix it. Many of the recommendations were in fact passed.


Question 5

What is your plan to diversify Maryland's economy since Federal spending is flat and trending downward?



Economic diversification is very important, she said, and her vision doesn't pit workers against business, but seeks to provide tax relief for small business and to reduce the regulatory burden on large corporations.  She cited changes in regulations on composting that she achieved as an example, which enabled composting companies to begin operating in Maryland.



He was among the first to call for an increase in the minimum wage, he said, but he is also pro-business.  Like President Obama and Congressmen Chris Van Hollen and Steny Hoyer, Gansler said he favors reducing the corporate tax, incrementally.  Because Maryland's rate is now 8.25%, in contrast to Virginia's, 6%, and West Virginia's, 6.5%, corporations are leaving Maryland, taking jobs with them.  He again cited cyber security and life sciences entities as assets, and he mentioned the Port of Baltimore--one of the two deep sea ports on the East Coast which will be able to accommodate large ships coming through the Panama Canal--as a natural asset that we don't take full advantage of.


Question 6

Maryland has received national recognition for having some of the most disgraceful, gerrymandered districts in the country. The governor constitutionally controls re-districting.  If you become governor, are you going to go along with the current process, or try to change it?



She said she already proposed legislation in the last session for a non-partisan commission to handle redistricting in a way that makes sense for our communities..



"I defended [the redistricting] because as attorney general it was my constitutional duty to do so, but I voted against it [the referendum], because I thought it was wrong; it deprives people of true democracy," Gansler said.



Question 7, for Mizeur

Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney recently wrote that the Washington, DC suburbs' political clout (the next Democratic nominee will be from either Montgomery County or Prince George's) could lead to more state aid for our region from Annapolis.  However, in the same column your spokesperson said that you "don't subscribe to geographic politics."  What does that mean for Montgomery County?


"It means that I'm not a candidate who says one thing in Montgomery County and another thing in Baltimore," Mizeur said.  Being governor should not be playing one region against another, she added, and as governor she would bring resources to areas of the state that need it.  She said she believes in speaking the truth to voters, and she thinks voters can handle that.


Question 8, for Gansler

You support Maglev high-speed rail between Washington, DC and Baltimore.  But one reason that Baltimore also supports it is their expectation that it will permit federal agencies to relocate to Baltimore's lower-rent offices and space.  Montgomery County depends on agencies like NIH, FDA, NOAA, NIST and Walter Reed while Prince George's County is fighting to attract the FBI headquarters.  Baltimore City already has the lion's share of state agencies.  Isn't helping federal agencies relocate there, too, a disservice to our region?


While most federal agencies are in DC, Gansler answered that he hopes Prince George's County does get the FBI headquarters, but that it will retain affordable housing nearby for local workers. Regarding the Maglev, Gansler said that the motive is not to move federal agencies, but to give Baltimore an economic boost and to alleviate traffic with a 12-minute train ride from DC. Baltimore needs help:  the population has declined from 1 million to 630,000; 46% of adult males are unemployed; and a majority of its high school students do not graduate from college.  The question about the Maglev is, of course, whether it's affordable.


Question 9, for Gansler

Maryland's four-year study moratorium on natural gas fracking expires this year.  What's your position on fracking and on exporting liquid natural gas from Cove Point in Calvert County? 


Gansler said he thinks it is irresponsible to take a position permanently against fracking and exporting liquid natural gas because these two issues are transitional.  "Right now I'm against fracking in Maryland," he said, "but there will be a day when it is safe."  When the science has advanced to that point, he said he will be for it because Maryland has significant air pollution due to coal burning power plants.  As attorney general, he said, he went after polluting power plants in neighboring states which pollute our water and air.  Cove Point as an exporter of natural gas is the subject of a study by FERC [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission]; if FERC gives environmental approval, Gansler said he would favor building the plant, which would provide jobs for Maryland



Concluding Statements



She said voters have the choice among three qualified candidates, but only one is ready to be governor.  In speaking to groups across the state, she said voters want a candidate who is overwhelmingly positive and stays focused on the issues.  She reiterated some of the specific issues she mentioned in answering other questions, proclaiming that she has the best vision for Maryland.  "I lead from my heart," she said, and "I have the courage of my convictions, and I will never let us settle for less than what we deserve."  When some people have told her that it would be so exciting to elect her as the first woman governor and the first openly gay governor, she reminds them that she is not running to make history, but to be the best governor for all the people of Maryland.



He stressed, as qualifications, his 22 years in government service and his eight years running a department as attorney general and said he wants to bring the values of Montgomery County to running the Maryland government.  "The budget is a moral document," he went on, and how we set our priorities in the budget is very important.  "Are we going to let the Chesapeake die?"   He added that he is the only candidate who grew up in Maryland, that he loves Maryland.  He believes in giving a "voice to the voiceless."  As an example, he cited his passionate coaching of Baltimore kids in lacrosse, as a way out, to broaden their horizons.  He concluded with thoughts about the election itself-the large number of people who have not made up their minds or even focused on a June primary, fear of a low turnout, and, finally, praise for campaign workers who care.


Audience at Forum 




2014 Ballot Questions Advisory Committee Needs Volunteers


Volunteers are needed for the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) Ballot Questions Advisory Committee (BQAC).   The role of the BQAC is to study the 2014 ballot questions and judicial candidates and to prepare a report on them.  That report is presented to precinct officials in advance of a Precinct Organization meeting in the early fall (date, time and location to be announced).  Precinct organization members will vote on what they feel should be the position of the Montgomery County Democratic Party on the ballot questions and judicial candidates.  These positions are included in the Sample Ballot that goes out to all registered Democrats in Montgomery County.


To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to the MCDCC at Montgomerydems@msn.com ,

by fax to 301-946-1002, or mail to MCDCC, 3720 Farragut Avenue Suite 303, Kensington MD 20895.  


MCDCC must receive resumes and cover letters no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, June 6, 2014.


The resume should include the applicant's involvement in campaigns, their community, and the Democratic Party.  The cover letter should explain why the applicant wants to be on the BQAC.


MCDCC rules require that at least half of the BQAC members be precinct officials (precinct chairs, vice chairs, and area coordinators).  In addition, the rules instruct MCDCC to "strive for ethnic, geographic and ideological balance within the members of the Advisory Committee."



Thursday, June 12 to Thursday, June 19

10:00 am - 8:00 pm
We are soliciting individuals to staff early voting polling places for 5 hour shifts.


We need your help to bring-out-the-vote during the period from June 12 to June 19.  We specifically needvolunteers to staff Early Voting polling places, drivers to give voters rides to polling places, and poll watchers.  We also ask for your assistance in spreading the word about Early Voting and our need for volunteers.

The volunteer hours are between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on:


  Thursday, June 12

  Friday, June 13

  Saturday, June 14

  Sunday, June 15

  Monday, June 16

  Tuesday, June 17

   Wednesday, June 18

  Thursday, June 19


Please contact Janet Williams (mcdccprecinctchair1321@gmail.com) and the MCDCC Office (montgomerydems@msn.com)  -- with the exact: a) date, b) time and c) location (see all early voting locations below) you would like to volunteer.  



Early Voting Locations


*  Activity Center at Bohrer Park, Social Hall, 506 S. Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg, MD 20877
*  Damascus Community Recreation Center, Social Hall, 25520 Oak Drive, Damascus, MD 20872

*  Germantown Recreation Center, 18905 Kingsview Road, Germantown, MD 

*  Jane E. Lawton Community Rec. Center, Social Hall, 4301 Willow Ln., Chevy Chase, MD 20815      *  Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center, 14906 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville, MD 

*  Mid-County Community Rec. Center, Social Hall, 2004 Queensguard Rd., Silver Spring, MD  20906 
*  Montgomery County Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe Street, Rockville, MD Silver Spring
*  Civic Center, 8525 Fenton Street, Silver Spring, MD

*  Wheaton Community Recreation Center, Gymnasium, 11711 Georgia Avenue, Wheaton, MD 20902




Information about early voting dates and locations is in the section above.  With regard to absentee ballots, the Maryland State Board of Elections has information on the link below:   



For more information, please contact Emily Ackerman at (301) 565-2483 or email : PHILNEMILY13@VERIZON.NET.  





Prior newsletters have listed WDC members who are candidates for office.  The following individuals (some of whom may not have been members at the time) are also candidates in this June's Democratic Primary Election:



Hugh Hill, Candidate for State Senate from District 16, hughhillformarylandsenate@nationbuilder.com


Vivian Malloy, Candidate for County Council at Large, www.vivianmalloy.com


Erin Yeagley, Candidate for Montgomery County Central Committee at Large, eyeagley@mcgeo.org


Patricia O'Neill, Candidate for Board of Education at Large, pat4boe@aol.com


Jill Ortman-Fouse, Candidate for Board of Education at Large, www.jill4allkids.com






INTERVIEW edited by Bonnie Wicklund


Betsy Loyless     


The WDC co-chair of the Membership and Outreach committee was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. Her grandparents, who also lived in the city, had a flock of sheep, two cows, peacocks and her horse, Julie. Betsy loved the freedom and adventure of setting off on Julie for long rides with her only restriction to be back for meals. After college and a year in Chicago teaching, she moved back to Atlanta and began doing volunteer work with a woman who would become her longtime mentor in environmental lobbying and politics. Betsy worked as a deputy director of Conservationists for Carter and eventually served on the Carter Administration Transition Team. When she returned to Atlanta in 1977, she became the executive director of Save America's Vital Environment, where she lobbied on behalf of Georgia environmental and natural resources protection. In 1979, she met and fell in love with Tennessee attorney Ray Gibbs, and moved to Nashville to work for the Tennessee Environmental Council as director of the Toxics Program. She and Ray married in 1980; during her eight years in Tennessee, Betsy did both environmental education and lobbying, as well direct political work for a number of candidates in local and state politics. In 1987, she went to work in Al Gore's presidential primary race, and she also served as chair of the Nashville Women's Political Caucus and worked to elect U.S. Senate candidates.  In 1988, she was hired as the Deputy Political Director of the Sierra Club. Her husband followed her to Washington in 1991, after hearing her say "just 1 more year in DC" for 3 years in a row. Following the Sierra Club, she served as the political director for the League of Conservation Voters, where she created and led a successful, multi-million dollar independent expenditures campaign against the "the Dirty Dozen"--anti-environmental members of Congress. In 2005 she moved to the National Audubon Society to serve as the first Donal C. O'Brien Chair for Birds and Wildlife and the senior Vice President for Policy and Advocacy. In 2010, she left Audubon and became an independent environmental and political consultant.  Betsy serves on the board of the Alaska Wilderness League, working to attain wilderness status for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and dealing with a wide range of natural resources protection issues. She also serves as secretary for her neighborhood civic association in West Chevy Chase.



My most recent book is The Master of Petersburg by J.M Coetzee. It's a fictionalized account of Fyodor Dostoevsky in Petersburg to investigate the death of his stepson. It is beautifully written, concise and interior.  I recently also enjoyed The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, a kind of Monty Pythonesque account of four characters' misadventures while traveling in the 1820's through the English countryside. So many books, so little time!



I watch PBS, HBO, the Comedy Channel (Daily Show, Colbert Report), the Sunday political shows and some network TV like, The Good Wife and Blacklist, SNL.

I also like old movies and recently attended the Turner Classic Film Festival in L.A. where I got to see some really good ones on the big screen where they belong.  



I like all kinds of music - rock & roll, classical, folk, hymns, show tunes, pretty much everything but rap. I listen to specific music according to my mood. For example, if I'm feeling introspective, I like Leonard Cohen or violin concertos in D or D minor. I also like to sing, so "Showboat," and "Porgy & Bess" are part of my personal shower repertoire. In 2012, a girlfriend and I (along with several 100,000 mostly 20 & 30 year olds) attended the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, TN and really enjoyed hearing Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phish and lots more. I listen to all three PBS stations in our area.  



I really like to travel, but my husband and I spend too much time working on remodeling houses in unexciting locations. I go to Alaska annually as part of my board work (and perks) on the Alaska Wilderness League, and usually combine that with visiting a park or special public place.  Last year, I went to Kenya and Tanzania to observe and promote a non-profit group's work, Lion Guardians, to minimize conflicts between lions and surrounding villages and farmers. (There are fewer than 20,000 remaining lions in all of Africa, down from 2-300,000 in 1980!)  


I would like to horseback ride across some significant wildlife areas in Africa next year and/or renew my scuba diving passion in the Caribbean.   



I admire John Lewis immensely. He was my Congressional Representative when I lived in Atlanta many years ago. He has been tested by hellfire and remains an amazing, noble human being who continues to strive for justice and fairness. I am in awe of him.



I like to think that I haven't yet witnessed this-that it is still out there in the future. My personal political high point involves my passion for protecting the Arctic Refuge by helping to defeat serious, repetitive congressional attempts to open the Refuge to oil and gas drilling in 1989, 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2005. During these numerous votes and attempts, pro-drilling forces won a number of critical votes. But each time with the support of the public we managed to pull out a win by doing what we had to do and never giving up, including successfully lobbying President Clinton for a legislative veto which also shut down the federal government.




There are so many urgent political issues, I am hard-pressed to know where to start or stop. The Supreme Court decision to give corporations the rights/standing of people threatens the health and safety of our citizens. The widening money gap that separates rich and poor continues to unravel the "thread" of our society. Corporate financial practices such as highly leveraged risky financial investments have already undermined our economy once and continue to threaten national and world stability. Instead of sharing our planet with other living creatures--even the ones I don't care for particularly--we humans mostly attach a bounty or assign a price to their existence. Consequently, fragmented and declining animal populations world-wide live on the edge of extinction. Saving our last, best places should be more than an environmental slogan; it should be national policy, so that future generations can experience the awesome power and inspiration of nature. And then there's carbon pollution...






WDC has a Twitter account!  Our Twitter handle is @WomenDems.  Be sure to follow us!  


Don't forget to like us on Facebook; we're listed as Woman's Democratic Club, Montgomery County.

Want to learn more about what your fellow Democrats are reading about American or political Bookshistory? Join WDC's Political Book Club - our longstanding literary conclave that meets on the third Wednesday of every other month. Meetings take place at 1:30 p.m. at members' homes. A facilitator for each book leads the discussion. For more information, contact Estelle Stone at estellestone24@gmail.com . There are no meetings during the summer.


Future selections include My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor on September 17, and The Presidents Club by Nancy Gibbs & Michael Duffy on November 19.


If you're interested in seeing what other books have been discussed, please go to www.womansdemocraticclub.org and click on Political Book Club, which is listed under Events.  




 Help Wanted

 We need your help creating a vibrant Club and we solicit your ideas and participation. And the most valuable contribution you can make to the Club is - you guessed it - your time. Sharing your skills and expertise with us and joining a committee are fun ways to meet other members and make new friends while helping the Club accomplish its goals.


WDC is looking for members to help on the Membership and Outreach Committee.  Specifically, we are looking for greeters and member recruitment assistance at the Kiss and Make Up Party on June 26th, volunteers to staff booths at County events, and a Young Member Outreach Coordinator.  Want more information?  Email Carmela Cowgill at cacowgill@yahoo.com.  You can also go to www.womansdemocraticclub.org and click on "Get Involved" then "Volunteer" to complete the volunteer form.




Suggestion Box  

Do you have ideas for future programs? Do you know someone who would be a great speaker at a future WDC event?  If so, please send an e-mail to wdcmcmd@gmail.com.






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


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Woman's Democratic Club
Beth Tomasello.President
www.womansdemocraticclub.org     wdcmcmd@gmail.com
Woman's Democratic Club
Sybil Cantor
Email Coordinator