April Newsletter - Volume 6, Issue 7
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, Jordan Cooper, Marian Kisch, Betsy Loyless, Fran Rothstein, Emily Shetty, Mary Lou Fox, Enid Light, Ashley Rhinehart, Ed Kimmel, and Laurie Kelly for their contributions to this newsletter.
UPCOMING WDC EVENTS
Thursday, May 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!
Tuesday, May 17
Montgomery 101: "Policing in the Post-Ferguson World" Forum,
a round table on police community relations.
7 to 8:30 PM
Silver Spring Civic Center
One Veterans Place, Silver Spring
There is free parking in the lot across the street.
Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger
Captain Mark Plazinski, Director, Public Safety Training Academy
The speakers will discuss issues including police training, mental health, drugs, and gangs. Following the speakers, there will be a round table on police community relations with representatives from the police force and the Vice President of the African American Democratic Club of Montgomery County, Gabriel Acevero.
The program is being brought to you by these wonderful co-hosts:
Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee
African American Democratic Club of Montgomery County
Bethesda-Chevy Chase Breakfast Club
District 14 Democratic Club
District 16 Democratic Club
District 17 Democratic Club
District 18 Democratic Caucus
District 19 Democratic Club
District 20 Democratic Breakfast Club
District 39 Democratic Club
Latino Democratic Club of Montgomery County
Montgomery County Young Democrats
Muslim Democratic Club of Montgomery County
Rockville/Mid-County Democratic Breakfast Club
Woman's Democratic Club of Montgomery County
Wednesday, May 18
An Update from the County Executive
WDC Luncheon with Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett
Normandie Farm Restaurant, 10710 Falls Road, Potomac
Cost: $30 for Members/$35 for Guests
Ike Leggett is currently serving his third term as Montgomery County Executive, having been elected the County's first African-American executive in 2006, and winning re-election overwhelmingly in 2010 and 2014. He previously served as chair of the County's Human Rights Commission and as a member of the Montgomery County Council for 16 years. He has also served as Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party. A graduate of Southern University in Louisiana and of Howard University Law School, he earned a Bronze Star for his service as an Army infantry captain in Vietnam. He also holds a Master of Arts Degree from Howard, as well as a Master of Laws from George Washington University. He has received more than six dozen honors and awards from a wide host of organizations, and has also been an active board of director's member of a number of professional, civic and community organizations. One of his earliest honors was his selection as a White House Fellow by President Jimmy Carter. In addition to his career in public service, he has taught at Howard University Law School as well as serving as its Assistant Dean.
To make your reservation for the event, send your check to Judith Heimann, 8900 Marbury Road, Bethesda, MD 20817 or reserve online at www.womansdemocraticclub.org by noon Monday, May 16, 2016.
Questions about the event? Call Natalie Bouquet, 301-907-7856.
Saturday, May 21
2nd Annual Clubs of Color Legislative Wrap-Up
10 AM - 1 PM
Silver Spring Civic Center, 1 Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring
MONTGOMERY COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY'S ANNUAL SPRING BALL
Saturday, May 7
6 - 9 PM
Bethesda North Marriott Hotel, 5701 Marinelli Road, North Bethesda
Join us as we honor WDC member Abigail Adelman (Precinct Official of the Year) and WDC President Linda Kolko (Democrat of the Year). Both of these women have tirelessly served the Democratic Party and their community in Montgomery County. These honors are well deserved and WDC joins the MCDCC in celebrating the achievements of these committed Democratic women.
Support the work of the MCDCC to organize Get Out the Vote efforts in Montgomery County, including printing the sample ballot for Democratic voters for the critically important 2016 election!
If you would like to sit at a table with other WDC members, please email WDC president Linda Kolko at firstname.lastname@example.org
US SENATE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FORUM
Donna Edwards versus Chris Van Hollen
Progressives, Aligned on Issues, Spar for Hearts and Minds
by Jordan Cooper
April 11, 2016
|Congressman. Chris Van Hollen, Congresswoman Donna Edwards and Moderator Gordon Peterson|
SILVER SPRING - A packed house greeted the presumptive Democratic successors to Maryland's longtime Senator Barbara Mikulski. Representatives Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen each strove to make the case that they were the more effective progressive.
The candidates, both currently representing the Washington metropolitan area, struggled to differentiate themselves on the issues in the debate, which was co-hosted by the Women's Democratic Club, Progressive Neighbors, and the Leisure World Democratic Club. It quickly became apparent that it would be their stylistic approaches to governance and their personal and legislative experience that would most clearly distinguish the candidates for Democratic Primary voters in Maryland on April 26th. There were enthusiastic supporters of both candidates in the Montgomery County audience. Van Hollen's analytical responses focused on the specific nuances of legislation that he previously supported or introduced. Donna Edwards presented herself as a relatable "single mom" who "knows personally about struggling" to stay in the middle class and who has personally endured gender-based pay discrimination.
Both candidates presented themselves in their opening statements as fighters for every Marylander in every part of the state. Van Hollen opened by juxtaposing himself to the GOP Presidential Primary, stating "this is a crazy time in American politics [with] Trump trying to raise himself up by dividing us with his demagoguery." Indeed, if Democratic voters are seeking a liberal champion to stand up against right-wing scare tactics then they cannot go wrong with either candidate.
Each candidate emphasized their support for the entire menu of progressive issues, from protecting the Medicare and Social Security entitlement programs to making climate change "the first order of business for the US Senate and the next President of the United States," according to Edwards, who continued, "world commitments will not be enough to stem the tide of the rising waters from the melting Antarctic ice shelf."
Van Hollen frequently sought to distance himself from Edwards by stating specific proposals that he had offered in the U.S. House of Representatives, referencing a carbon tax plan to offer homeowners an energy rebate that would go to over 70 percent of American families at the expense of big polluters. Throughout the debate Van Hollen continued to hit Edwards on her alleged lack of specific legislative proposals, stating that "it's easy to identify [and support] issues, but it's another to put forth proposals on these issues." Van Hollen continued, "the world needs dreamers and the world needs doers, but most of all the world needs dreamers who do."
As Van Hollen elaborated upon the nuances of various bills he has supported to increase transparency in Panamanian tax havens, to expand health insurance coverage to the uninsured, to reduce college loan interest rates, and to close the carried interest tax loophole, Edwards sought to connect with the audience through their hearts more than their minds. In response to a question about how she would define 'progressive,' Edwards responded with an image of hungry children who could not thrive in the classroom, claiming that what is needed in the US Senate are advocates who "pay attention not at the 30,000-foot level, but at ground level where voters' lives are affected."
Edwards attempted to distinguish herself from Van Hollen on the issue of wealth inequality, drawing a correlation between his votes in favor of trade bills that she said traded away American jobs overseas. While he proposed a fee on all financial transactions to address a "growing income inequality is the gravest threat facing this country," continuing that our "crazy tax code is stacked in favor of people who make money off of money and against those who make money off of hard work," she spoke of the replacement of industrial jobs in Maryland with low wage service jobs, purportedly as a result of free trade agreements (which both candidates opposed), that disproportionately affect women. Edwards continued that between 25-40% of those decreased wages are frequently spent on child care. Though both candidates support the Child Care Tax Credit, each does so with a decidedly different presentation.
The candidates clashed in a similar manner to what has been seen in previous exchanges. Edwards attempted to use Van Hollen's support of a campaign finance disclosure bill as a means of portraying him as an opponent of firearm regulations due to the bill's exemption of membership-based organizations such as the National Rifle Association and the Sierra Club from inclusion in the regulation. On the defensive, Van Hollen responded to the accusation by explaining the rationale behind the exclusion and the unanimous support of the Democratic contingent of the Maryland delegation. He swung back at Edwards, citing her refusal to abstain from Super PAC contributions, and she in turn spoke of how proud she is to be receiving support from the Emily's List Super PAC. Van Hollen returned to his theme of emphasizing action over diction, citing his plan to require a license for the purchase of a gun, eliciting sustained applause, concluding that it's "one thing to say [you support firearm regulation and it's] another thing to fight for" a specific piece of legislation.
From criminal justice reform where Van Hollen advocated for a shift from treating substance abuse as a criminal matter to treating it as a healthcare matter, to Edwards speaking about coaching her 27-year-old son on how to avoid becoming a victim of police brutality in case he is over pulled over by a policeman, the debate evolved as a battle of the presentation of policy proposals as opposed to the relating of personal experience.
The inevitable clashes notwithstanding, Gordon Peterson, an anchor for WJLA and tonight's moderator summed up the civil exchange between the candidates as a "perfect example of a how a debate should be conducted" and that "we should send this debate [decorum] to the presidential campaign."
|Valerie Jarrett at Podium|
VALERIE JARRETT: A SINGULAR WOMAN
by Marian Kish
With a mixture of insight, humor and anecdotes, senior advisor Valerie Jarrett informed and entertained a huge crowd at WDC's luncheon on April 12. As one of President Barack Obama's closest advisors, Ms. Jarrett has been involved with the first family for 25 years.
They met when Ms. Jarrett, then chief of staff for Chicago's deputy mayor, hired then Michelle Robinson for her staff. Although Ms. Jarrett offered her the job on the spot, the future Mrs. Obama insisted she first have dinner with her and her fiancÚ, Barack Obama, before taking the job. They hit it off and the rest is history.
Ms. Jarrett recalled how her "10-year plan" was working out well after graduating from law school: she had a daughter and a good job at a private law firm, but was somehow dissatisfied. "When a friend suggested I give public service a whirl I decided to take a leap of faith." She joined the city of Chicago in its law division, and worked on community development and outreach. There she followed in her grandfather's steps, who had been involved in public housing, by facilitating the renovation of public spaces in Chicago. She also served on several private and not-for-profit boards there.
When she moved to the Obama administration Ms. Jarrett took on several roles, including director of the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls. She enjoys "meeting people doing extraordinary things."
|Crowd is Entralled|
Ms. Jarrett works with the private sector to provide a better working environment for women and to improve the culture in companies. "To be globally competitive, companies need to attract and retain women and recognize that diversity is a strength." Ms. Jarrett reported that the number one reason women leave after an average of three years is the negative culture in their workplace.
She admits she was surprised at how little actual power the president has and laments the fact that Congress has not passed laws related to equal pay, minimum wage and sensible gun control. Instead, the administration is taking those campaigns to cities and states across the nation so they can take action on these important issues.
In addition to the Affordable Care Act, Ms. Jarrett listed some of President Obama's successes: decrease in unemployment, bailout of the auto industry, the Iran nuclear agreement, reestablishing relations with Cuba and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
One of President Obama's priorities, according to Ms. Jarrett, is criminal justice reform. He wants to reduce mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent offenders, and provide anger management and job skills programs to reduce recidivism. Ms. Jarrett reported that $80 billion is spent annually to keep 22 million people in jails. "That money could be spent on other worthwhile projects." But she also asserted that when people leave prison they need a job and other skills "so they can successfully return to society."
Other issues Obama wants to stress in his last year are climate change, better technology in government, making voting easier, and encouraging people to try the public sector.
The intransient Congress has been difficult for President Obama and his staff. Ms. Jarrett said that the president tried to establish relationships with the Republicans-quietly inviting them to the White House, inviting them to state dinners (only four attended in the last 7.5 years), but most are resistant. "But we'll continue to try because the stakes are so high," she said.
|Valerie Jarrett with WDC Vice President Riki Sheehan|
When asked about how the president manages to possess grace under extreme pressure, Ms. Jarrett admitted he keeps a "good game face and stays cool, but he also works at it." She also suggested that future presidents need a good temperament. "We don't want a hothead in the White House."
Ms. Jarrett has a close relationship with Mrs. Obama, who she considers "really special and a terrific role model." Mrs. Obama chose initiatives "that she cares passionately about and that she could do something about." These include Let's Move, which promotes healthy eating and exercise to combat childhood obesity; Reach Higher, using mentors to aid students applying to college; and Let Girls Learn, to make sure girls around the world stay in school. She also works tirelessly to help military families as their lives are disrupted from moving around. She created reciprocity in 49 states for licenses held by military spouses so they could work in other states.
As a woman, Ms. Jarrett has had many challenges throughout her career. She appreciates when her boss values her as a woman and a mom, which has helped her to take care of her daughter openly, instead of sneaking away. She also noted that "my best bosses always had strong wives."
So what's next for Valerie Jarrett? First on the agenda: sleep! She plans to help with the transition to the next president and remain involved in issues she cares about.
But when thinking about her decision to go from private to public service she says: "The worst days in public service are better than the best days in the private sector."
The April Happy Hour was a huge success with a large group of attendees! Could it be that we were celebrating the first day of early voting? Attendees were reminded to vote early from April 14-21 (10am-8pm) at one of the ten sites. Reports from our members are that using the new paper ballots was quick and easy.
ADVOCACY COMMITTEE UPDATE
by Fran Rothstein and Emily Shetty
The Advocacy committee championed an extremely productive agenda in their first session following our legislators in Annapolis. Issue captains followed and led in-person and written testimony in a variety of health, employment, criminal justice and children's issues. While many of the bills that we supported passed, several continue to require further advocacy. Click here for a report on the 2016 legislative session, and all of the exciting work that the WDC Advocacy committee engaged in. If you are interested in more information, or would like to join our efforts, please contact co-chairs Fran Rothstein (email@example.com) or Emily Shetty (Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org).
MARYLAND WOMEN'S COALITION FOR HEALTH CARE REFORM UPDATE
by Mary Lou Fox
Some Highlights from the 2016 Open Enrollment!
- Maryland's rate of uninsured was just 6% - tied for 4th in nation with five other states as of March 2015.
- High uninsured rate for African Americans, Hispanics has decreased significantly since 2013.
- Maryland enrollment growth was 3rd in the nation by percentage.
- Authorized brokers were integrated "virtually" in call centers, resulting in 3,200 calls, 2,000 enrollments. Brokers spent 1,000 hours talking to consumers, reducing volume on call center.
- 9 in 10 Marylanders qualified for financial help to help lower or waive the cost of health coverage in 2016.
Join Us for Music, Food, Friends and Fun on May 19, 2016
It's time to celebrate our 10th anniversary! We want to celebrate with all of you who have made our success possible. Join us on May 19 from 6 to 9 pm for the best party in town. Please invite your colleagues, family, friends, and neighbors, to join us for some terrific food, a silent auction with fabulous items, and the smooth sounds of the Jumpstreet Band.
So join us - as we enter a new era of advocacy and health care reform. For tickets and registration, click here.
JOIN OR RENEW NOW
Most current members have renewed - thank you! WDC appreciates your continuing support 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.
If you are not a current member, please click here to renew or join.
The WDC's 2016 Membership directory is now available! Please note that if we did not receive your renewal by February 25, we were unable to include your name in the 2016 Membership Directory. We will be distributing the directories to members only at our events. Please review your listing in the directory. If you find any mistakes, please email us the corrections at email@example.com or call WDC President Linda Kolko at 301-785-1342.
SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATE - WE'RE ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER!
WDC also has a Twitter account! Our Twitter handle is @WomenDems. Be sure to follow us!
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