WDC Final

Summer Newsletter  - Volume 5, Issue 9
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, Linda Kolko, Jean Kahl, Emily Shetty, Fran Rothstein, Joyce Lipman, Lucy Freeman, Betsy Loyless, Bonnie Wicklund, Joan Riggs, Bill Bronrott, Jose Gonzalez,
Ashley Rhinehart, Riki Sheehan, and Helene Guttman for their contributions to this newsletter.

Wednesday, August 19    
tent Visit the Democratic Party Tent at the Montgomery County Fair and say hello to our wonderful volunteers who are staffing the booth in two hour shifts from 10 AM-10 PM. Fairgrounds:  501 Perry Parkway, Gaithersburg, MD 20877. Check out the Ag Fair at http://mcagfair.com/ 


Thursday, September 10  
Happy Hour     Happy Hour Image
5:30 to 7 PM  
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.   Members and potential members are welcome, so come and bring your friends! 
Tuesday, October 6 - SAVE THE DATE

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon October Luncheon with  GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON  
12:00 Noon

Registration details and further information will be provided soon.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon is a noted journalist and author of
Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield.  Ashley's War tells the remarkable story of Cultural Support Team-2, a team of women soldiers specially chosen from across the Army to serve alongside elite Army Rangers in Afghanistan. Ashley's War, released earlier this year, is a New York Times bestseller and has earned critics' praise for its reporting on the remarkable women of CST-2.

Gayle is also a Senior Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations and a contributor to The Atlantic's DefenseOne blog, which reports on matters of national security.  Gayle first began reporting from Afghanistan in 2005, and many WDC members will recall Gayle's engaging talk to the Club in 2012 about her book, The Seamstress of Khair Khana, the story of enterprising women and their economic survival under Taliban rule
Sunday, August 16

Get Ready for the 2016 Campaign by Taking VAN (Votebuilder) Training!

12:30 PM
International Cultural Center
19650 Club House Road, Montgomery Village, MD 20886

This Joint Field & MDVAN (Votebuilder) Training Seminar is co-hosted by the Muslim Democrats, the WDC and the Maryland Democratic Party. This free training will be conducted by Chuck Cook, Amanda Pleasant, Hamza Khan and Ken Schultz-all experienced campaign field directors. This event will train a new cadre of campaign field specialists and GOTV (Get Out The Vote) specialists hailing from underrepresented and non-enfranchised communities across the county.  Bring your laptop or tablet - all levels of expertise are welcome! For more information, contact Linda Kolko at 127lkolko@gmail.com. We only have a few slots!

Saturday, September 19 
11TH Annual Greater Silver Spring Democratic Club Summer Fest
1:00 - 5:00 PM
Home of Jonathan Shurberg
305 Hamilton Avenue, Silver Spring

All 2016 Democratic Candidates Have Been Invited! Don't miss it! Food and soft drinks provided by GSSDC. Suggested contribution: $20 per adult - $10 for Seniors and Young Dems.   For more information, contact Jonathan Shurberg at 301-452-0030 or by e-mail at jonathan.shurberg@gmail.com

Saturday, September 20

District 17 Democratic Club Annual Picnic
1:00 - 4:00 PM
Park Pavilion, Bohrer Park
506 S. Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg
For more information, contact Elly Shaw-Belblidia, mirinor@aol.com.

Woman's National Democratic Club in DC  
This organization has many events, for example, they show films on the last Friday of the month and sponsor art exhibitions. Some events are free and open to non-members. Here's the link: http://www.democraticwoman.org/ 
                                                                                               by Bonnie Wicklund
The meeting was held on June 9th at the Marriott Hotel, 5151 Pooks Hill Road, Bethesda, MD. President Beth Tomasello welcomed the attendees including new members and elected officials, and the speaker for the evening, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. She announced that at this biennial meeting, the membership would vote on one amendment to the by-laws and elect officers for the next two years. After announcing upcoming events for the Club, the president thanked all the current board members individually by name for their dedication and hard work.
The formal meeting was called to order at 6:45 PM.
New Category of Dues
President Tomasello presented the change, as required in the By-Laws, to be voted on. At its meeting on April 15, 2015, the WDC board voted to approve the recommendation of the Membership and Outreach Committee to create a new category of dues for members who are 35 and younger. The amount of these annual dues would be $25 ($10 less than the current regular dues). The board chose the age of 35 because this mirrors the age limit for members of the Montgomery County Young Democrats, who pay $10 in dues. Thus, a person could belong to both clubs for the total price of $35.
The goal of this amendment is to encourage younger members to join WDC, ensuring its future vitality; we want the Club to continue to be a vibrant participant in the political life of Montgomery County, she explained. Furthermore, younger members who join will benefit from the guidance and political knowledge and connections of older members, and in turn will energize the Club with their facility with social media and digital analytics.
In accordance with Article III, Section 2, of the by-laws, the president asked for a motion to lower the amount of annual dues to $25 for members aged 35 and younger; Jane Merkin so moved. The motion was seconded and passed by voice vote, with no opposing votes, no abstentions.
Montgomery County Council President George Leventhal with tribute to outgoing WDC President Beth Tomasello with new WDC President Linda Kolko
Election of Officers
Janet Lowenthal, in the absence of Carmela Cowgill, chair of the Nominating Committee--which also included Lucy Freeman, Jean Kahl and Margaret Hadley--came to the podium to present the slate of officers for the next term. Janet began by reminding the audience that she was on the nominating committee two years ago. "How wonderfully and wisely we chose!" in naming Beth Tomasello to be our president, she remarked.
Janet presented the following slate of officers, and gave brief political, professional and educational background information for each:
President: Linda Kolko
First Vice-President: Betsy Loyless
Second Vice-President: Riki Poster Sheehan
Third Vice-President: Almina Khorakiwala
Secretary: Bonnie Wicklund
Treasurer: Judith Heimann

In addition to the officers elected, the following four people have joined the WDC board:
Teddi Pensinger: Co-chair Communications Committee
Ashley Rhinehart: Co-chair Communications Committee
Fran Rothstein: Co-chair Advocacy Committee
Barbara J. Salkin: Co-chair Membership and Outreach Committee.

There being no nominations from the floor, Janet Lowenthal moved that the slate be elected. The motion was seconded, and passed without opposition.
Beth was joined on the podium by new President Linda Kolko. She introduced several elected officials and representatives of elected officials, who presented Beth Tomasello with proclamations and citations of appreciation for her leadership and work for Democrats in Montgomery County: George Leventhal, President of the County Council; Karen McManus for Congressman Chris Van Hollen, as well as County Executive Ike Leggett; District 18 Senator Rich Madaleno; Kevin Mack for Congressman John Delaney; and Andrew Mallinoff and Michelle Ngwafon for Congressman John Sarbanes. As a token of appreciation from the WDC board, Beth was presented with an engraved crystal vase and flowers.
Linda Kolko ended the meeting with a brief exhortation to "Get Out the Vote in 2016!"
The meeting was adjourned at 7:10 PM.

Attorney General Brian Frosh and MD Senator Rich Madaleno with WDC current and past presidents.
Article5aMaryland Attorney General Emphasizes Resourcefulness at June Dinner 
                                                                                     by Joyce Lipman

Attorney General Brian Frosh
"If you want something done, you have to be resourceful!" Such was the moral of Attorney General Brian Frosh's opening story as he brought his perspective on politics and legal prosecution to the Women's Democratic Club's June 9 dinner. Democrats have to be especially resourceful, he said, given Governor Hogan's cutbacks to, for instance, education, libraries, and even Frosh's own office.

The Attorney General then offered examples of his own resourcefulness. Nationally, he worked with Senator Ben Cardin and Congressman Chris Van Hollen to stop off-shore drilling. He also cooperated with his colleagues from other states to find strategies to counteract the plummeting price of heroin, as easier access has resulted in more deaths.

Scammers, we can be glad, have much to fear from this Attorney General's Office! Thanks to Frosh and his staff, consumers will receive about $11 million dollars back from banks involved in title company kickbacks. And those indecipherable mobile carrier charges for "data" should be a thing of the past after companies have to pay back $120 million to their customers. Frosh's final example involved legislation related to the overbilling of school lunches through withheld rebates.

The Attorney General pronounced the last General Assembly Session a good one. He spoke of his efforts to preserve one of his priorities as a senator in last year's session: the Firearms Safety Act. Opponents have fought to overturn this law, which includes a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines, a fingerprinting/background check requirement, and oversight of gun dealers. The Attorney General's Office beat back the pro-gun contingent in Baltimore District Court and stands ready to take on the appeal. Frosh is adamant: "I promise that we will defend this law all the way to the Supreme Court!"

He is equally adamant that in 2016 we need Democrats to replace Barbara Mikulski in the Senate, Chris Van Hollen in the House, and Obama in the White House. Frosh issued a call for us to ensure that happens. "WDC," he said, "has been vital to every campaign since 1957." He concluded by thanking everyone who had worked so hard-making phone calls, knocking on doors, etc.-to help him win the last election.

  • Pepco/Excelon merger: Frosh opposes the merger, as does the Public Service Commission. Excelon, which owns a large fleet of nuclear reactors, pays its shareholders 17 times what it pays us: "That's not a good deal!" The company, which would gain 85% of the market in Maryland, has raised rates in other places, saying (speciously) that they cannot provide services for less. To make matters worse, Excelon is not a "green" power company; in fact, it has fought against the concept. The concern remains that the Attorney General's Office needs the Governor's approval to appeal the merger.
  • Heroin: We need more than law enforcement. We must go after the sellers and drive the price back up. Drug users need treatment. A member of Frosh's office sits on the Governor's task force on heroin.
  • Baltimore situation: Calling what he sees in Baltimore "quite sad," Frosh links the drug problem to what happened there. Baltimore, he said, is indeed "a tale of two cities": one prosperous, but the other mired in poverty and hopelessness. Houses are boarded up and jobs are scarce. Referring to the death of Freddy Gray, Frosh asserted, "That should not happen in the United States of America." He did, however, see some good come out of the situation-the joint clean-up effort. But he can offer "no silver bullet here. You have to start at the very bottom"; that is, with education. Children in these poorer neighborhoods need a strong foundation in the first three grades. After education, said Frosh, we need to ensure the availability of jobs.
          Asked about the Attorney General's role in the Gray investigation, Frosh responded, "We don't           have a role." This is the purview of the State's Attorney's Office; Frosh's office would only get
          involved as a representative of the State on appeal.

          Who would make the decision to move the venue of this case? The  Circuit Court judges in                Baltimore City, answered Frosh. The case, he said, could go anywhere.
  • Felon's re-entry issues: Frosh supported the bill restoring voting rights to felons who have served their sentences and regrets Governor Hogan's veto. The Attorney General believes that we have to do what we can to help who have paid their debt to society re-integrate into that society.
  • Wynne Case: Frosh expressed concern that the Supreme Court ruling would cost our counties millions of dollars, $100-125 million in Montgomery County alone. The Court had deemed it unconstitutional for entities that paid local taxes in other states not to be exempt in Maryland as they were with state taxes. 
  • Accountability of police: Because the State's Attorney works closely with the local Police Department, concerns of bias have prompted a bill to send felonies related to the police to the Attorney General's Office. Frosh agrees with the rationale but argues that his office does not have the resources that the State's Attorney does to do this job; therefore, he cannot support the bill.
                     by Jean Kahl and Lucy Freeman
On Tuesday, June 23, the Woman's Democratic Club of Montgomery County welcomed Jean Kahl, a club member and Certified Financial Planner ™ as part of its summer series on "Money and Politics Done Right." Jean prese
WDC members listening to CFP Jean Kahl
nted "Saving for Retirement: Simple Sidesteps to Avoid Investment Missteps," which detailed a healthier approach to investing and how to avoid the individual investor's poor returns, as well as the importance of retirement savings and how to grow them. Even on a stormy night, with the pile of umbrellas inside the front door of Lucy Freeman's home, who graciously hosted the event, over twenty five brave souls ventured out to see the talk, their interest further evidenced by an outpouring of fantastic questions and passionate engagement. This curiosity, along with Jean's dynamic presentation, made the evening a successful and very informative foray into the busy and mysterious world of Investing.

Follow up to our Financial Literacy Program
The IRS and Treasury Dept. recently ruled that effective July 9, 2015, employers could no longer offer lump-sum buyouts to retirees who already receive a monthly pension, stopping this pension abuse. This "de-risking" transaction can no longer put retirees at risk of potentially outliving their pensions. As you can well imagine, it would create considerable anxiety and confusion for older Americans to suddenly receive a lump sum, and to have to invest and draw it down at the same time! Elder abuse by corporations has ended at least in this regard.
A big win!   
And finally, a request to our membership concerning Financial Literacy
A major national publication is looking for an on-the-record interview with a widow to discuss the financial issues she faced after her spouse's death and how she coped with those issues. That would include whether she applied for Social Security benefits, hired a financial advisor, etc. Full names and locations will be included in the article.

If you wish to be interviewed, please contact Lucy Freeman at dorset4708@yahoo.com  or 301-654-8115.

                                                by Bonnie Wicklund
WDC President Linda Kolko, Montgomery County Young Democrats President Nik Sushka, WDC board member Emily Shetty, Dara Lindenbaum and MD Senator Cheryl Kagan at WDC Brunch   

Greeting more than 25 attendees at the Sunday event, which was aimed at recruiting young women, hostess Emily Shetty explained enthusiastically how she came to join WDC. When she first went to a club-sponsored event several years ago, she found elected officials and members "talking about issues I care about and everyone was so warm and nice, that I joined immediately." Since then, she said, she has been so impressed with the Club's incredible diversity of events and speakers. Earlier this year, Emily continued, she became a member of the Board on the Advocacy Committee, along with Fran Rothstein, and they hope to engage club members more deeply in issues that impact women and families.
Emily introduced President Linda Kolko, who in turn congratulated Emily on her recent election to the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee MCDCC, and thanked her for hosting the brunch. Linda talked about the importance of getting out the vote in next year's primary and general election, then introduced the following elected officials: MD Delegate Anne Kaiser, House Majority Leader (D14) and MD Senator Cheryl Kagan (D17). In addition to Emily, the following members of the Central Committee attended the brunch: Loretta Jean Garcia, Mimi Hassanein,Jennifer Hosey, Pam Queen, Jheanelle Wilkins and Erin Yeagley.
Everyone enjoyed chatting and networking while munching on bagels, pastries and fruit. Four attendees joined the WDC and many more took home membership applications.

New WDC member Mimi Frank-Bozzelli, MCDCC member Mimi Hassanein, MD Senator Cheryl Kagan, and MCDCC members Pam Queen and Erin Yeagley at WDC Young Members Brunch
                     by Fran Rothstein and Emily Shetty
Earned safe and sick time was the WDC Board's top legislative priority for 2014-15.  Up to 38 percent of workers lacked the opportunity to earn even one sick day - workers who were disproportionately women.  On June 23, the Montgomery County Council unanimously passed Bill 60-14, the Earned Safe and Sick Leave Act, requiring County employers to provide earned safe and sick leave to each employee.  Employees may use the leave when they or their immediate family members are ill or injured, or when they or a family member require care related to domestic violence. Employers must offer accrual of at least one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 56 hours a year for employers with five or more employees. For smaller employers, employees may accrue at least one hour of paid leave for every 32 hours worked. The law covers tipped workers and most part-time workers.  Effective date of the legislation is October 1, 2016. WDC Board members attended the July 2 signing ceremony.  A similar bill was introduced but not voted on at the State level; WDC will advocate for its passage in the 2016 session.  WDC wrote a letter in support of this bill. CLICK HERE to view the letter.
WDC members interested in joining the Advocacy Committee may contact co-chairs Fran Rothstein (fran.rothstein@verizon.net) or Emily Shetty (emily.shetty@gmail.com).

A Montgomery County Sentinel article by WDC member Paul Schwartz captures the lively discussion in the WDC recent program Demographic Change that is Shaping Montgomery County. Over a million people live in Montgomery County and this number is continuing to grow. Montgomery County is becoming more diverse, more urban, and more vibrant, but ensuring a bright future for all County residents will require planning now. How should Montgomery County address the issues of affordable housing, equitable education and quality jobs for our newest residents? CLICK HERE  to read Paul's article on our discussion.
Kudos to WDC board member Emily Shetty for being selected a Young Democrats of Maryland Women's Caucus Rising Star as well as on her election to the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee!
Congratulations to WDC member Kathy Deerkoski on her appointment as our representative on the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee's voter registration planning committee.

                     by Linda Kolko

The Woman's Democratic Club was saddened to learn of the death of our cherished member Carol Poster, the mother of WDC vice president Riki Sheehan.  Carol (91) passed away on June 4th. Carol had many careers; fashion model, Stage Door Canteen hostess during WWII, children's librarian at the Eleanor Roosevelt Campus of the Wiltyck School for Boys and director of Senior Citizens for the town of Croton-on-Hudson, NY. Carol joined WDC when she moved to Washington, D.C.
and will be missed by so many among us.  The Club extends its condolences to Carol's large and loving family. Please click here to read Carol's full obituary.


Note to Members: Please notify the Club President at wdcmcmd@gmail.com of any member who has passed away as we would like to include a remembrance of their life in the newsletter.
Time to renew

Membership renewal forms will be sent out in
Interview UPDATE
The Interview series featuring Board members will resume in the September edition of this newsletter. The first member to be interviewed is our Third Vice President Almina Khorakiwala. And we want to hear from you! What is your top question for Almina?  Please email your questions to wdcmcmd@gmail.com by no later than September 1.





Don't forget to like us on Facebook; we're listed as Woman's Democratic Club, Montgomery County.
WDC also has a Twitter account!  Our Twitter handle is @WomenDems.  Be sure to follow us!  



Books Want to learn more about what your fellow Democrats are reading about American or political history? 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 pm at members' homes. A facilitator for each book leads the discussion. For more information, contact Helene Guttman at hguttman@starpower.net.

This July's selection was Grant by Jean Edward Smith on July 15 (first ten chapters). The next meeting on September 16 will feature discussion of the remaining chapters of Grant.   Democracy in the Dark: The Seduction of Government Secrecy by Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr. is the selection for the meeting on November 18.

Grant by Jean Edward Smith

Brief Summary from Amazon books:

Ulysses S. Grant was the first four-star general in the history of the United States Army and the only president between Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson to serve eight consecutive years in the White House. As general-in-chief, Grant revolutionized modern warfare. As president, he brought stability to the country after years of war and upheaval. Yet today Grant is remembered as a brilliant general but a failed president. In this comprehensive biography, Jean Edward Smith reconciles these conflicting assessments of Grant's life. He argues convincingly that Grant is greatly underrated as a president. Following the turmoil of Andrew Johnson's administration, Grant guided the nation through the post-Civil War era, overseeing Reconstruction in the South and enforcing the freedoms of new African-American citizens. His presidential accomplishments were as considerable as his military victories, says Smith, for the same strength of character that made him successful on the battlefield also characterized his years in the White House.

Democracy in the Dark: The Seduction of Government Secrecy by Frederick A.O. Schwartz Jr.

Brief summary from Amazon books:

From Dick Cheney's man-sized safe to the National Security Agency's massive intelligence gathering, secrecy has too often captured the American government's modus operandi better than the ideals of the Constitution. In this important new book, Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr., who was chief counsel to the U.S. Church Committee on Intelligence-which uncovered the FBI's effort to push Martin Luther King to commit suicide; the CIA's enlistment of the Mafia to try to kill Fidel Castro; and the NSA's thirty-year program to get copies of all telegrams leaving the United States-uses examples ranging from the dropping of the first atomic bomb and the Cuban Missile Crisis to Iran Contra and 9/11 to illuminate this central question: how much secrecy does good governance require? Schwarz argues that while some control of information is necessary, governments tend to fall prey to a culture of secrecy that is ultimately not just hazardous to democracy but antithetical to it. This history provides the essential context to recent cases from Chelsea Manning to Edward Snowden.
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

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. We especially need volunteers to help with new member recruitment as part of the Membership & Outreach Committee and we need volunteers on the Advocacy Committee to help analyze and track important legislation. 

We also need writers to prepare articles for our newsletter and photographers for our Facebook page and newsletter.


Click here to volunteer.




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.




Also, our Education Committee is seeking ideas for future programs in the Montgomery 101 series; if you have issues or subjects about the county you would like to learn about or study, please email Lucy Freeman at dorset4708@yahoo.com or call 301-654-8115.



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Woman's Democratic Club
Linda Kolko, President
www.womansdemocraticclub.org     wdcmcmd@gmail.com
Woman's Democratic Club
Sybil Cantor
Email Coordinator