October Newsletter - Volume 6, Issue 2
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, Fran Rothstein, Lucy Freeman, Betsy Loyless, Marian Kisch, Bonnie Wicklund, Nancy Holland, Ashley Rhinehart, Ginger Macomber, and Kathy Deerkoski for their contributions to this newsletter.
|UPCOMING WDC AND CO-SPONSORED EVENTS
Please note: There will be no member luncheon in November as we are focusing our attention on two special marquee events - our Education Forum on November 10 and our Candidate Forum on November 17.
Running as a Woman: The inside story - A Mongomery 101 Program
10 to 11:30 AM
The Jane E. Lawton Community Center
4301 Willow Lane, Chevy Chase
Charlotte Crutchfield, Candidate, Maryland Delegate, District 19
Shebra Evans, Candidate, Montgomery School Board
Cheryl Kagan, Maryland State Senator, District 17
Aruna Miller, Maryland Delegate, District 15
Moderator: Susan Turnbull, Former Chair, Maryland Democratic Party
Find out what it's like to run as a woman in Montgomery County and the challenges one faces:
. Money . Media . Endorsements .Turning Out Voters
You may park on the street if the parking lot is full. We have been told that police will not ticket our cars.
Tuesday, November 17
8th Congressional District Democratic Primary Candidates Forum
Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad
5020 Battery Ln, Bethesda, MD 20810
The Woman's Democratic Club, in conjunction with the Asbury Democratic Club, African American Democratic Club of Montgomery County, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Breakfast Club, Democratic Club of Leisure World, District 14 Democratic Club, District 16 Democratic Club, District 17 Democratic Club, District 18 Democratic Caucus, District 20 Breakfast Club, District 20 Democratic Caucus, Greater Silver Spring Democratic Club, Hispanic Democratic Club of Montgomery County, Montgomery County Young Democrats, Montgomery County Green Democrats, Montgomery County Young Democrats and the SenecaPotomac Democratic Club 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. The forum will be moderated by Kate Alexander, Communications Director at Chesapeake Public Strategies and former political reporter for the Gazette.
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.
Parking is available.
Such a busy month! In addition to the two events listed above, members will have opportunities to advocate, register new voters, and socialize.
Sunday, November 8
Women's Economic Security Agenda Community Forum
Silver Spring Civic Center
One Veterans Plaza
Join us and our coalition partner Maryland Working Families at the Women's Economic Security Agenda (WESA) Community Forum. There is ample parking across the street and just a few blocks from the Silver Spring Metro.
To register on line for the Montgomery County WESA Forum, click here. Maryland Working Families' Women's Economic Security Agenda (WESA) includes legislation that moves women and families ahead by:
* Ensuring equal pay and opportunity in the workplace
* Ending unpredictable scheduling practices that create profound insecurity and instability for workers and families.
* Giving employees the right to rest between work shifts
* Establishing the right to earn paid sick days
WDC is part of the WESA coalition that is working to get this legislation passed. If you agree that it is time to support fairness and equality for Maryland women and families, add your voice by signing the on line petition that will be presented to the Maryland General Assembly. Go to the WESA web page at http://workingfamilies.org/pushwesa/ and click on "Sign Our Petition." Together, we can make change happen!
Monday, November 9 and Thursday, November 12 & Friday, November 13
An Opportunity to register more voters and enroll people in the Maryland Health Exchange
51 Manakee Street, Rockville.
11:00 a.m. - 2 pm
Montgomery College Cafeteria
We need volunteers for 1-2 hour shifts.
Thursday, November 12
5:30 to 7 PM
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!
|Enjoying the Oct. 8th Happy Hour.|
Saturday, November 14
Maryland Legislative Agenda for Women Fall Conference
New Perspectives on Legislative Advocacy: 9:30 AM - 1 PM
(Optional) Grassroots Advocacy 101 Workshop: 1-3 PM
The International Cultural Center
19650 Club House Rd, Montgomery Village.
Registration fee $35
The WDC will cover the registration fee of any WDC member who volunteers for 2 hour shifts at our table. If you want to volunteer, please contact Ginger Macomber at email@example.com
or 301- 340-0171.
|NEW AMERICANS EXPO EVENT|
WDC members joined forces with the Maryland Democratic Party, the Hispanic Democratic Club, the African American Democratic Club and the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee to register 17 new voters at the New Americans Expo on October 4th at the Silver Spring Civic Center. Some of the people in the photo are Jose Gonzalez (representing the Hispanic Dems & WDC), Shebra Evans (representing. African American Dems & WDC), Linda Kolko (representing. WDC) and Jheanelle Wilkins (representing MCDCC & African American Dems).
FIRST WOMEN WARRIORS DESCRIBED IN LEMMON BOOK
By Marian Kisch and Bonnie Wicklund
When Gayle Tzemach Lemmon was a little girl in Maryland, her mother convinced her to hold up a sign, targeted at Barbara Mikulski, requesting better working conditions for union workers.
|Gayle Tzemach Lemmon |
Now an acclaimed author, previously of The Seamstress of Khair Khana, Lemmon has written another groundbreaking book, Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield. At the WDC luncheon this journalist and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations told the inside story of how women broke into the elite special ops, namely, the Navy Seals and the Army Rangers. Through personal interviews, she was able to piece together a picture of how these pioneers became an integral part of the war in Afghanistan as well as providing a path for present-day graduates of the Army Ranger School.
After years and years of "men only" combat troops, Lemmon said the admirals realized they needed more knowledge and understanding from the Afghan people, namely the women in the villages. Since the Afghan culture precludes men from approaching women, the military realized that women soldiers could be the key to obtaining vital information.
Subsequently, a special recruiting poster was designed and distributed, encouraging women to become part of history and join the fight. "It changed the course of women in the military," the author said. "Women couldn't raise their hands fast enough. They were driven and motivated." Recruits came from all walks of life and from all over the country. They were former high school football players and service academy graduates. Ashley herself was a Penn State ROTC graduate who loved to make dinner for her husband and then run 8 to10 miles.
|Ms. Lemmon greeting WDC members and guests.|
Of the 110 women selected to compete in the "100 hours of hell" at Fort Bragg, 55 were chosen to go forward, with 25 headed for direct combat missions alongside men. The competition was grueling with sleep deprivation, mental and physical tests. But the instructors told her they were impressed with the women's dedication to serving their country as well as to testing themselves.
The women, too, were happy to realize "they were not the only giraffes at the zoo." There were other women just like them. These members of special ops teams formed extremely close bonds.
When training began some men were skeptical, but soon acknowledged the "heart, grit and courage" of these women and admitted they were easier to train than the men.
"The women were embraced," according to Lemmon. They showed they could wear both mascara and body armor. They adapted to the ill-fitting uniforms. And when they went into the field they got critical information.
Nadia, who was born in Afghanistan and grew up in the U.S., was hired as a translator. She started going out on nighttime patrols -- derisively nicknamed "Team Pink"-- because no one else was available. As a result, she met some of the women soldiers who were participating with the Special Forces, and formed a bond with these women who were smart and tough, but still retained their femininity.
The legacy of what these young women did in serving their country, Lemmon concluded, was the announcement by Defense Secretary Panetta in 2013 that the ban against women serving in combat was lifted. In reality, Lemmon asserted, women had been fighting and dying alongside men in combat for years; it was just not acknowledged officially.
During the question and answer session, the author was asked why the story of these young women soldiers was not better known. Because, she answered, the official ban against women in combat lasted so long, and also because most Americans have been "divorced" from this war: "less than 1% of our population has fought 100% of our wars since 2001."
Another question concerned how these women were trained to interact with the Afghan women from whom they were charged with getting information. They learned some basic Pashto, and were given a lot of guidance in the cultural mores of the local Afghanis. "Don't let your face show anything!" was Nadia's advice to the American soldiers.
When asked whether these women soldiers suffered post-traumatic stress, like so many men, Lemmon thought this was not such a problem because the women supported each other, and also because they did not serve repeated deployments. She commented that most of these women had fathers who treated their daughters and sons equally. As for the effect of these women on the men soldiers they served with, Lemmon replied that for male soldiers who deployed multiple times, having someone who could do the job and serve as a valued team member was more important than gender.
And the story of these courageous women soldiers will soon be spread even further. Reese Witherspoon will produce and star in an upcoming movie based on Lemmon's Ashley's War.
|Audience is enthralled.|
ADVOCACY COMMITTEE UPDATE
by Fran Rothstein
The WDC Advocacy Committee's legislative priorities include criminal justice, health, children's and employment issues. Specifically,
- Criminal justice: Improving police training, especially as related to people with mental health issues
- Health: Providing for a more comprehensive, robust mental health system; and, outlawing overuse of antibiotics in animals as it affects our food supply
- Children's issues: Erin's law (requiring school health curricula to include information on what to do about adult-initiated inappropriate contact),
- Employment: Support the Women's Economic Security Agenda (WESA), including the Women's Pay Equity Act, the Healthy Working Families Act (paid sick leave), and the Fairness in Scheduling Act. Support a Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program that provides paid maternity and family leave.
Support of the WESA Agenda will include participation in events such as the WESA Community Forum on Sunday, November 8 and the MLAW Conference on November 14 both of which are described above under EVENTS.
REPORT ON SUCCESSFUL WDC PROTESTS OF STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS PROPOSAL TO CHANGE EARLY VOTING LOCATIONS
by Linda Kolko
Montgomery County Democrats mean business and when we believe there is injustice, we act! Our political leaders, the Maryland Democratic Party, the Central Committee, all the local Democratic clubs, including the WDC, organized a variety of activities to protest the proposed closing of two early voting sites in Montgomery County. No matter what the Republican majority County Board of Elections said, it was politically motivated, as the BOE proposed closing Lawton Center in Chevy Chase (heavily used by seniors and near Metro) and Praisner Center in Burtonsville ( where the most diverse County population votes early). WDC participated in the press conferences after the Council hearing, the protests at the two early voting sites, the State BOE board meeting, and signed the petition against the closings at Change.org. which garnered several thousand signatures. The State BOE wisely decided to keep both Lawton and Praisner early voting sites open. Good work, Dems!
Congressman John Sarbanes, State Senator. Roger Manno, MD Democratic Party Exec. Dr. Pat Murray, WDC President Linda Kolko, members of WDC and the MCDCC Mimi Hassanein and Erin Yeagley were among the many protesters at the Praisner Center on October 10.
edited by Bonnie Wicklund
Teddi Pensinger, the WDC Newsletter Editor, and Communications Co-Chair, grew up in West Virginia where her father was a college professor and also a Democratic Party committeeman. What sparked her interest in politics is her memory of campaigning for her father from the age of four. When she was 16, the family moved to Silver Spring MD for her father's new job as an elementary school principal. Teddi earned both her undergraduate (major in Secondary Education, minors in History and French) and master's degrees (Rehabilitation Counseling) from the University of Maryland. The University holds a special place in Teddi's heart since that is where she met her husband John -- who recently retired from the US DOJ -- when her sorority was building a homecoming float with his fraternity. Teddi retired after 34 years as a federal employee of the Department of Health and Human Services. She was fortunate to be able to work on a variety of projects, such as planning the first National Drug Abuse Prevention Conference, which was attended by then President Reagan. During her career she also wrote speeches for top level administration officials; served as Director of Public Affairs for a cabinet-level commission examining Social Security and Medicare; managed several policy advisory councils, and traveled all over the country training local officials for a federally mandated data collection system. Teddi resides in Potomac with her husband and three moderately well behaved cats. She and John are passionate sports fans, especially of the Maryland Terrapins, and have had season tickets to Maryland football since 1979!
I've belonged to the same book group since 2004, and am the current president. Book club selections which I've particularly enjoyed are Heilemann's and Halperin's Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, and Schiff's Cleopatra: A Life. I enjoyed Cleopatra so much that I have Schiff's next book The Witches on pre-order. I recently read A House in the Sky about a woman held in captivity for 430days by terrorists in Somalia, and A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France, both of which I would highly recommend.
I especially enjoy political and spy themed television such as "House of Cards," "'Scandal," "Homeland" and "MI-5." I also enjoy programs with a historical theme such as "The Tudors," "Wolf Hall," "The White Princess" and "The Borgias." And, of course, there's "Downton Abbey!" I somehow can never find enough time to go to the movies but did recently have a chance to see "Bridge of Spies" which I believe is an Oscar contender for sure. I also love ballet and live theater, and recently saw "Beautiful: the Carole King Musical."
OTHER VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES
I'm one of two co-founders of the NIH Community Chorus, which began in 1996 and continues to this day in collaboration with the NIH Community Orchestra. I do publicity for both of those groups, and also sing in the NIH Chorus as well as the Smithsonian Encore Chorale. In addition, I belong to the Washington DC Alumnae Chapter of Gamma Phi Beta; I'm the correspondent for our sorority magazine, and have served as President and Financial Vice President.
Over the past few years, my husband and I have enjoyed several trips to the UK and also to Ireland. This past summer we took our first cruise on Viking, to Paris and Normandy. My husband is a Veteran, and we were particularly moved by the special ceremony at the American Cemetery. We also enjoy exploring local Civil War battlefields.
I'm so impressed by Hillary Clinton, particularly with her grace under pressure and extraordinary composure through 11 hours of the recent Benghazi hearing. She would be an amazing President, and I hope she gets the chance!
POLITICAL HIGH POINT
This might actually be a low point --- but it was fascinating. I went with a friend and my godson to the opening of the impeachment hearing for then President Clinton. While I thought it was ridiculous, it was still riveting to see all of the branches of our government in action. A true high point will be when the first woman is inaugurated as President.
URGENT POLITICAL ISSUE
We need to elect more Democrats down ballot. We are doing well at the Presidential level but not so much at the local and State levels. Having more leaders of our party in elective office affects virtually everything else. Without that, we will neither have enough people coming up through the pipeline to higher office, nor will we be able to effect progressive agendas.
by Linda Kolko
WDC member Dr. George Loeb (74), husband of WDC longtime member Marcia Loeb, died on September 14. George had a PhD in chemistry from Cornell University, a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health and a long federal career working for the Navy and the EPA. He was an active leader with the Cub and Boy Scouts. The Club extends its condolences to Marcia and the entire Loeb family.To read George's full obituary, please click here.
Note to Members: Please notify the Club President at firstname.lastname@example.org of any member who has passed away as we would like to include a remembrance of their life in the newsletter
JOIN OR RENEW NOW
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.
SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATE - WE'RE ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER!
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!
POLITICAL BOOK CLUB
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 email@example.com.
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. They are looking forward to having new members join, so please go and check out this stimulating engaging activity!
They will discuss Democracy in the Dark: The Seduction of Government Secrecy by FAO Schwarz, at the next meeting on Monday, November 16 beginning at 1 PM at the home of Melpi Jeffries, 5905 Anniston Rd. Bethesda, MD 20817. Her phone number is 301-530-5452.
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.
VOLUNTEERS: IT TAKES A VILLAGE
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. Finally, we are looking for a member to help organize our monthly Happy Hour.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com or call 301-654-8115
Keeping members better informed, better connected and more politically effective since 1957