WDC Final

September Newsletter  - Volume 6, Issue 1
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, Emily Shetty, Joyce Lipman, Rick Rothman, Lucy Freeman, Betsy Loyless, Marian Kisch, Lucy Freeman, Enid Light, Bonnie Wicklund, Helene Guttman, Beth Tomasello, Riki Sheehan, and Ashley Rhinehart for their contributions to this newsletter.

Tuesday, October 6

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Luncheon, Book Signing and Conversation with Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, author of the critically acclaimed Ashley's War.   
Lunch will begin at 12:00 PM.
Courtyard Marriott Chevy Chase
Cost: $28 for members; $33 guests.
To make your reservation for the event, send your check to  Judith Heimann, 6900 Marbury Road, Bethesda, MD 20817 or reserve online at www.womansdemocraticclub.org by noon Thursday, October 1, 2015
Questions about the event? Call Natalie Bouquet at 301-907-7856.
We're so fortunate to have New York Times best-selling author Gayle Tzemach Lemmon speaking to our group next month about her newest book, Ashley's War. Her talk on her first book, The Dressmaker of Khair Khana was a hit a couple years ago and we can't wait to host her again!
This is a great read and Sheryl Sandberg agrees! "An unforgettable story of female soldiers breaking the brass ceiling....this book will inspire you and remind you of the power that comes with defying limits."    

Thursday, October 8 
Happy Hour    
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! 
President Linda Kolko with new member Lena Diaw at Sept. Happy Hour 

Tuesday, November 10 - SAVE THE DATE

Montgomery 101: Running as a Woman: The Inside Story
10:00 AM
The Jane E. Lawton Community Center
4301 Willow Lane, Chevy Chase
Join us at for a panel discussion with four female candidates from the 2014 election. Hear their inside story. For information, contact Marian Kisch at mariankisch@verizon.net or 301-654-7701.

Sunday, October 4


New American Expo Voter Registration Drive
12:00 to 6:00 PM
Silver Spring Civic Center
1 Veterans Place, Silver Spring
In conjunction with the MCDCC and Hispanic Dems, Woman's Democratic Club will register voters at this event which is a one-stop setting for new Americans to learn about programs and services that will help them in adapting to and navigating life in America. WDC is recruiting our members to help staff voter registration at this event. We will quickly train all volunteers on how to register voters.

Please contact Betsy Loyless at betsy.loyless@yahoo.com or call her at 301-807-1862, if you can participate in 2 hour shifts from 12-2 pm, 2-4 PM or 4-6 PM.
Democratic turnout will be all important in the upcoming 2016 elections. The first step is always to register voters and this will be an excellent opportunity to identify and recruit these attendees. Working together, we can help increase the number of Democratic voters as well as WDC's visibility among Democrats on Oct 4 in Silver Spring.

Tuesday, November 17- SAVE THE DATE

8th Congressional District Democratic Primary Forum
7:00 to 9:00 PM
Bethesda Chevy Chase Rescue Squad
Battery Lane and Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda
Parking is available.

The Woman's Democratic Club, in conjunction with other Montgomery County Democrats, is sponsoring a Democratic primary candidate forum for the 8th Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Chris Van Hollen. All Democratic primary candidates to-date have agreed to participate.

This forum represents one of the earliest opportunities to see and hear all the Democrats together discussing their congressional priorities, responding to questions by our WDC moderator and fielding the audience's questions as well.

                                                     by Joyce Lipman as edited by Rick Rothman          
Sen. Cardin speaks to WDC
Joking that he came to speak at our Women's Democratic Club luncheon on September 21 to get away from talking about Iran, Senator Ben Cardin acknowledged that he had no such luck! But before launching into that controversial topic of the day, he spent a few minutes speaking about something everyone in the room could agree on-the dysfunction and misdirection of Republicans.

"If Democrats can't take advantage of this dysfunction...," he said, leaving us to finish the sentence ourselves. Democrats want to know how we can get a budget passed that can address the problems of the country, such as wealth disparity, safe food, clean air, and affordable college. Republicans, on the other hand, only want to defund Planned Parenthood and "criminalize women's health care." For these "principles" they are ready to shut down the government.

As Cardin turned to discuss the Iran deal, he spoke of his leadership, with Republican Bob Corker as well as with President Obama, in getting the Iran Review Act passed. Democrats, he said, recognize the value of an open process on this, the most important foreign policy initiative of Obama's presidency.

Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, according to Cardin, because the country poses a threat to all its neighbors, not just to Israel. A nuclear Iran could prompt an arms race among
Sen. Cardin with WDC Treasurer Judith Heimann
several countries in this "dangerous neighborhood." Thus a treaty with Iran is essential to preclude nuclear weapons. The question remains whether the agreement on the table will, in fact, move towards this goal.

The senator saw very different approaches among Democrats and Republicans as they assessed the treaty. Republicans, he told us, came out against it without even reading it. Democrats felt the need to read and carefully analyze the document. Cardin stressed that it was a "tough vote" with "high risks" whichever choice they made. Many Democrats came to the honest choice that, though flawed, the agreement was something they could support. Cardin in the end could not.

He explained why. He is concerned that Iran will be capable of enriching uranium to weapon grade in about a year after the 10 year restriction expires. He finds this scary because Iran's desire to become a nuclear weapon state is embedded "in their DNA." At the same time, they will have gained economic power. Cardin does not have faith that reimposed economic sanctions will stop them.

If all else fails, declared the senator, "the military option is not a good option; it will not work" and will have the added burden of collateral damage. Although turning away from the agreement also carries risks, Cardin believes that the risks of war remain higher if we go forward with it.

He has looked into possible repercussions in our relationship with Europe if we take unilateral steps on Iran. He has talked to the various leaders of our allies and has come to the conclusion that they need the U.S. on the same page in relation to sanctions and would unite with us in response if Iran created a nuclear weapon. Thus Cardin sees the possibility of reconvening to strengthen the deal, adding, among others, such provisions as setting a longer term till Iran can reach weapons grade, eliminating ballistic missile and conventional weapons technology development, shortening the 24-day wait for inspections, and establishing a process for following the released sanctions money.

In the last several months, he has heard from people on both sides of the issue. Some were thoughtful messages, and others, negative and sometimes vitriolic. One thing Cardin made clear: "No one in Congress affected anyone else's vote." Each member made his or her own judgment.

Some, Cardin told us, have compared the Iran situation with what happened with Iraq. He does not consider that "
Sen. Cardin with WDC member Enid Light
not even a close call." He voted against the war in Iraq, though after the vote he supported ourmission because we have "only one team, our team."

The senator informed us that the next day he was planning to introduce bipartisan legislation for what he called a "reasonable security package for the Middle East." It will allow zero tolerance for violations of the agreement and offer added protections to Israel. He intends for the bill to give President Obama a stronger hand for enforcement of the deal. It has the support of all Democrats, whatever side they were on vis--vis the agreement. The Republicans, who ran for office to prove government does not work, continue to focus on Obamacare rather than attempt, as Democrats wish, to hammer out differences and move forward. Cardin concluded, "We are going to come out of this stronger, but we have a lot of work to do."

  • Is he revisiting the agreement: He sees himself as moving forward.
  • Is the military option on the table? All options remain on the table, including military. However, it would not be a sustained operation but, rather, only focused on taking out a nuclear threat. The president has the authority for this but not for a sustained war.
  • How would our closest allies react if the deal were rejected? Allies such as the British and the French recognize that Congress is independent and understand that we would have to work together. A breakout by Iran would bring an attack. Iran, which needs sanctions relief, would not break out now.
  • Will political prisoners be released now that the agreement is in place? The hostages did not want to be part of the agreement.
  • What can we do about Citizens United? "This is one of the worst decisions in the history of the Supreme Court, but it's the law of the land." Congress can support Congressman Van Hollen's disclosure bill, create a voluntary finance system, or pass a Constitutional Amendment. He is a co-sponsor of such an Amendment.
  • Might we expect an Israeli attack on Iran? Israeli leaders will soon be visiting the U.S. Cardin expects that Israel will sit and wait.
  • Do the inspectors not make us safer? Iran already knows how to make enriched uranium; thus they will need only a short time to make it highly enriched. Inspectors cannot prevent them from having fuel that they can later enrich. Ballistic missiles are the real achilles heel. If they perfect a delivery system, then in 10 years they can put the two together.
  • What is your opinion on Syria? It is a disaster. Cardin applauds the Obama Administration for taking 100,000 refugees. We now have as many refugees as after World War II, both economic and political, the largest percentage in Lebanon. The crisis requires American leadership. First, we have a responsibility to keep people safe, something we should have attended to sooner. The problem in Syria has always been Assad and the Sunni extremists (ISIL), all fighting the anti-Assad rebels. The U.S. policy has focused on going after ISIL. Cardin believes we need a diplomatic solution that both goes after ISIL and holds Assad responsible. Now, surprisingly, we maybe able to "make common cause" with Russia. The senator does not support sending U.S. troops to fight Syria's war; locals need to do that. Supporting participating groups is tricky, though, because if we get behind the Kurds we risk alienating Iraq and the Turks.
Cardin left us with a couple of pronouncements: "With all that mishegoss (craziness), we still have the best system in the world." Then, speaking of those in the room and of all Democrats, he added, "We come together under the umbrella of good governance.  
Sen. Cardin with WDC Board Members

                                                                                         by Enid Light
The Montgomery County Women's Democratic Club was well represented by volunteers who staffed the Democratic Tent at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair in Gaithersburg. On Wednesday August 19, three teams of volunteers registered voters, signed up new WDC members, did outreach and listened to what Montgomery County voters have to say about the upcoming election.  It was exciting to see families come by to "visit the Democratic Donkey" and take pictures with our party mascot.  Visiting with the mascot was a great "teaching moment" as parents explained to their children why they are Democrats and picked up literature about candidates and the WDC. 
The WDC team was enthusiastic and would do it again! So next year volunteer early!

WDC members staff Democratic Tent
                                                                                                   Democratic Donkey
                     by Emily Shetty and Fran Rothstein
The WDC Advocacy Committee held its first meeting on 9/2 with 11 members in attendance. The goal of the meeting was to map out a plan for the new committee to maximize WDC's effectiveness in engaging in political advocacy. At this meeting, the committee discussed what screen to apply to determine where WDC should target our engagement, and concurred that the primary screen should be that the issues are directly relevant to women and families in Montgomery County. The committee also made a list of issues to follow at the council and state level, as well as potential organizations WDC could partner with in our advocacy efforts, created an action plan for the year, and assigned issue captains for further research and focus on Criminal Justice Reform, Employment issues, Health and Childrens' issues. The committee hopes to coordinate advocacy efforts with the Education committee, to ensure that the programs of both committees support one another. 
If you are interested in engaging in advocacy efforts as part of WDC, please  contact co-chairs Fran Rothstein (fran.rothstein@verizon.net) or Emily Shetty (emily.shetty@gmail.com).

WDC PROTESTS STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS PROPOSAL TO CHANGE EARLY VOTING LOCATIONS There is still time to send emails and testify against this bad decision!    
Working closely with Darrell Anderson, Chair, of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, the WDC board of directors sent a letter to the Montgomery County Board of Elections, protesting their proposal to eliminate the early-voting sites at the Praisner Center and the Lawton Center. We mobilized our members through emails and Facebook postings and several WDC members responded, sending out emails protesting the decision.
The Praisner Center and the Lawton Center sites accounted for more than 8,000 early votes in the 2014 general election, about 1 in 5 votes cast. The replacement sites, in Potomac and Brookeville (north of Olney) are likely to reduce the number of early votes by approximately 50% compared to Praisner and Lawton. There was no discussion allowed or given in the September 21st Montgomery County BOE meeting for the reasons to change, although the Democratic BOE members pressed for an explanation and rationale.

THERE IS STILL TIME TO PROTEST THE DECISION as the State BOE is voting to confirm (or alter) the early-voting sites submitted by the counties at the next Board meeting on October 15th at 2:00 pm at their offices at 151 West Street, Suite 200 Annapolis, Maryland 21401. In addition to emailing the board, sign up to testify before the BOE on the 15th by 5 pm on October 14th.   The WDC will be there!
It is important that they hear of our displeasure. If you want to contribute, please email the State BOE before 2:00 Wednesday, October 14 at info.sbe@maryland.gov with your individual complaint. Things that you can include are:
  • the new sites are not in areas with as dense populations as the previous sites
  • they do not have ready access to public transportation as the previous sites
  • they are not in areas with a large business hub that allows employees to vote during the work day
  • they are not in areas that are as culturally diverse as the previous sites
Thank you for helping us in this effort. The MCDCC has already developed strategies for the 2016 election with the understanding that we probably would lose a few of our early-voting sites due to the election of a Republican Governor. In the months ahead, we will be rolling out these strategies to our committed base. The 2016 election is just around the corner and we need to show our displeasure and anger at the Republican efforts to suppress voter turnout, as we believe the selection of early-voting sites is just a part.
Look for updates and a link to the letter we sent to the BOE on the WDC website http://www.womansdemocraticclub.org and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/WomansDemocraticClub?fref=nf and the MCDCC website

Contact WDC president Linda Kolko at wdcmcmd@gmail.com if you would like to join us on the 15th in Annapolis!  
WDC is so proud to have Nancy Grace Roman as a member. A noted American astronomer, who was one of the first female executives at NASA, she is known to many as the "Mother of Hubble" for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope, 25 years old this year, and one of the most important scientific discoveries of our age.   She has received many awards throughout her career. The Asteroid 2516 Roman is named in her honor and the fellowship, The Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellowship in Astrophysics, of NASA has been named for her.   

Nancy Roman with WDC President Linday Kolko and WDC Board Member Ashley  Rhinehart

                     by Linda Kolko

The Woman's Democratic Club was saddened to learn of the death of our cherished member and Democratic party activist Ann Statland who passed away in August, after enduring a brave battle against cancer. She was a loving wife, mother, and grandmother. Ann lived in Kensington, MD and worked for the Montgomery County Board of Elections. She was also an active volunteer with the Montgomery County Democratic Party. Her love of helping others led to her to receive the Montgomery County Central Committee's Dean-Peacock Precinct Official Award in 2015. Her funeral, attended by many WDC members, was a joyous celebration of her life, where many of us learned that Ann was born on October 11th , the same birthday as Eleanor Roosevelt, the first WDC luncheon speaker! Ann will be missed by so many among us.  The Club extends its condolences to Ann's large and loving family. Please click here to read Ann'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.
Interview UPDATE
Our INTERVIEW series will resume next month with a feature of our new Board member, Teddi Pensinger! Stay tuned to this space.

Time to renew

All current members have received their renewal forms in the mail.  Please renew now!  WDC appreciates your continuing support and wants to remind you that your dues were due on September 1. Your voice and membership dues are crucial to the vitality and strength of the Woman's Democratic Club. Your $35 dues ($25 for members 35 years and younger) ($36.00 and $26 online, respectively, at www.womansdemocraticclub.org) pays for Club mailings; subsidizes events, programming, and the annual New Member dinner; and supports the important work of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee and Democratic candidates with campaign contributions. All non-renewing members are purged from the membership and email list.  Click here to renew or join now.




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!  




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 every other month. Meetings take place at members' homes and last approximately two hours. A facilitator for each book leads the discussion. For more information, contact Helene Guttman at hguttman@starpower.net.

The Political Book Club is a long-standing activity of WDC. It has met for almost 20 years! The discussions are lively and speak to the vigor of our members' wide interests and camaraderie.

An ARCHIVE of the books read and discussed and a brief summary of the book to be discussed at the November 18th meeting [Democracy in the Dark: The Seduction of Government Secrecy by FAO Schwartz] can be found by going to the WDC Web site sub menu [EVENTS] and then scroll to Political Book Club.
At the last meeting, the WDC Board decided to survey our membership about our Book Club. The survey questions follow:
Are you interested in joining in the club's political book discussions [held every other month with each session lasting about 2 hours]?
If so, what days/times do you prefer?
Please state day of the week preference [Monday or Friday appears to fit most people's current schedule - but we are open to other suggestions].
Time for beginning of discussion session - 10:30AM or 1 PM [or another time].
To respond to the survey and for more information, contact Helene Guttman at hguttman@starpower.net.




 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.



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


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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