May Newsletter  - Volume 6, Issue 8


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, Betsy Loyless, Jordan Cooper, Marian Kisch, Lucy Freeman, Janet Lowenthal, Barbara Condos, Paul Schwartz, Laurie Kelly, Fran Rothstein, Emily Shetty, Ginger Macomber, Mary Lou Fox, Bonnie Wicklund, Enid Light, Ed Kimmel, Ashley Rhinehart, Beth Tomasello, Riki Sheehan, Nancy Holland, and Lynn Olson for their contributions to this newsletter.


Once the Primary Season and the Democratic Party Convention are over and we have our Presidential nominee, the campaign season will formally begin.  Here in Maryland, we're looking forward to participating in a coordinated campaign run by the Maryland Democratic Party as has been done in previous Election Year cycles. Stay tuned!!

Meanwhile, you can help the Democratic Party in two ways:

Voter Registrar Training, Thursday, June 30, 7 P.M
18753 N. Frederick Ave., #210, Gaithersburg.  Let's get certified as a first step to Get Out The Vote!  If interested, please contact Kathy Deerkoski at 

Be a real grassroots leader.  

Apply to become a precinct chair or vice chair.  Precinct Officials are the backbone of the Democratic Party in Montgomery County. Please consider joining the party and download the application byclicking here .  For more information about these positions and how to apply, contact or (301) 946-1000.


Monday, June 6

"With Malice Toward All:  A Diagnosis of the Moral Collapse of the Republican Party"

WDC Luncheon with State Senator Jamie Raskin
Courtyard Marriott, 5520 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD

Cost:  $30 for Members/$35 for Guests

Jamie is a professor of constitutional law at American University, the three-term State Senator from District 20 (Silver Spring and Takoma Park) and the State Senate Majority Whip. He recently won the Democratic nomination for Congress in Maryland's 8th Congressional District, prevailing in a nine-person field in the most expensive Congressional primary in American history. Although outspent 9-1, Jamie ran an aggressive grassroots campaign and expanded his base "one living room at a time" (the Washington Post).

Please make your reservation for the event by noon Thursday, June 2.

Reserve online at or send a check to  Judith Heimann, 6900 Marbury  Road, Bethesda, MD 20817.

Questions about the event? Call Betsy Loyless , 301-807-1862.

Thursday, June 9

Coctail 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!  




Monday, June 20 

6:30 PM VIP Reception

7:30 PM General Reception

The Music Center at Strathmore
5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD

This event was rescheduled from an earlier date due to scheduling conflicts. Please contact the Party at if you have any questions about the rescheduled event. If you would like to purchase tickets for the rescheduled date, click here.

  by Jordan Cooper with input from Lucy Freeman, Marian Kisch, Linda Kolko, Janet Lowenthal, and Barbara Condos      
May 17, 2016

Seventy-five members of WDC and 14 other co-hosting Democratic Clubs attended the program "Policing in a Post-Ferguson World" in the Silver Spring Civic Center. The program was planned by the Education Committee to learn how the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) hires and trains its officers, how our officers handle problems related to mental health issues, and the scope of the growing problem of the drug overdose epidemic.  The audience's personal familiarity with the police officers and the initial applause in recognition of National Law Enforcement Week demonstrated the appreciation for what the police force does in Montgomery County.

Chief Tom Manger began his presentation acknowledging the importance of meetings such as this to the legitimacy of any police force, which is based on the trust and confidence of the community it serves.

Montgomery County is divided into six district stations, the busiest of which is the third district, containing Silver Spring.  Homicides, though still low for a population of one million people, have slightly increased in the past year due to gang-related activity.  More generally, Manger explained there is a higher incidence of violent crime in areas of higher population density and poverty, in cities and along the I270 corridor.

Chief Manger made the case that when force of any kind is used by a police officer, in most cases it is warranted and legal, even if it does not play well on TV news.  To demonstrate his commitment to being accountable to the public, he pointed to his body camera.  Body cameras will be issued to all 1,000 MCPD police officers within the next month. Said Manger, "Cameras will be our best friend and will show how difficult this job is and that our cops are doing the right thing."  He directed the audience to an annual use-of-force report published on the MCPD website.  He acknowledged that of the 40 officer-involved shootings in the past twelve years, 13 were fatal.  Manger pointed out that all individuals shot by MCPD officers were armed and that after each incident an independent legal review of the case was conducted.

Manger presented a compassionate and professional police department that uses force only as the last resort, de-escalating conflicts before confrontations.  He showed a video of a police officer risking his life to pull an unconscious driver out of a burning car.  His personal creed, like the Hippocratic Oath, is first to do no harm.   The common theme of the importance of having the police force reflect and respect the community wove throughout the conversation.   Manger has worked to increase the demographic diversity of the police force, having tripled the number of Latino officers in the past decade, stating that the "goal of every police department should be to reflect the diversity of its community." The department has been focusing its efforts on connecting with youth. 

Captain Marc Plazinski, president of the Police Training Academy, spoke about the rigorous training officers undergo to prepare them to interact with the community, de-escalate situations, and help those individuals in the community with mental illness.  The initial training is six months, followed by four weeks with a mentor and two weeks with a mentor in plain clothes in the background.  Annually, each officer has two days of training plus firearms training, both twice a year. 

For residents interested in learning more about MCPD and the police experience, they may sign up for a 16-week course, in English or Spanish, entitled Citizens Police Academy.  A Citizen-Ride-Along in a patrol car can also be arranged.  

The two speakers were followed by a panel of Commander Marcus Jones, commander of the Third District; Officer Scott Davis, head, Crisis Intervention Team; Captain Paul Liquorie, director, Special Investigations Division; and Gabriel Acevero, vice president, African American Democratic Club, all of whom answered questions from the audience. 
  1.  Many questions dealt with the recent tragic incident of the estranged husband who shot his wife.  In this case, after the restraining order was placed on the husband, all registered guns were removed from the house.  The alleged shooter illegally got a driver's license in Nevada and bought an unregistered gun in Nevada. It should be mentioned that in the recent Maryland legislative session, under the measures sponsored by Del. Will Smith (D-Montgomery) and Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery), judges would be required to notify anyone disqualified from owning a gun as a result of a domestic violence conviction that he is permanently barred from having or buying a gun, give him 48 hours to transfer all guns to police or a licensed gun dealer and show proof at court within five days that he's done so. Because victims are likely to be blamed by abusers for their arrest and conviction, the period immediately following conviction is particularly perilous. This legislation passed the Maryland House, but failed in the Senate, with all Montgomery County legislators supporting it. It was mentioned that the Family Justice Center in Rockville offers multiple services to victims of domestic violence.  It is important to refer people to this Center.
  2. What has the police force learned since the sniper attacks?  Handling of crises has greatly improved.  There is instant communication among police departments.  In the recent case of the shootings which began at High Point High School, and continued the next day at Westfield Montgomery, and the Aspen Hill Giant, the Prince George's police force contacted MCPD giving a photo of the man, (Eulalio "Leo" Tordil), type of car, license number, and a note, which he had left saying he wanted to die by "suicide by cop". In this case, the police had the suspect under surveillance, but waited until he left crowded stores so there would be no more shootings. Technology has enhanced the work of officers.  At traffic stops, licenses can be scanned to search databases.  If the driver has no license with him/her, all one needs to do is take a fingerprint to get access to a national database.
  3. Drug overdoses are an increasing problem in Maryland and our county.  Captain Liquorie said the goal is to get treatment for the addicts and work to find the sellers.
  4. The Crisis Intervention Team trains officers to deal with victims of mental illness.  The goal is to get treatment for people.  Officers work closely with organizations and medical facilities to get help.  The training involves communication skills and role playing. 
  5. Racial profiling:  the state tabulates all information on arrests.
  6. Asked about Civilian Review Boards, Gabriel Acevero said he supported the boards and thinks this will eventually pass in the Maryland legislature.
  7. Asked about the FBI Director Comey's comment that police forces are holding back and not pursuing criminal activities after issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement, Gabriel Acevero, Chief Manger and the police present all disagreed.   MCPD continues to conduct searches into all criminal activities.
WDC Vice President Riki Sheehan Introduces Congressman Chris Van Hollen

                                                  by Paul Schwartz

Montgomery County is quite fortunate to have outstanding political figures.  Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett was scheduled to serve as the May luncheon speaker for the Women's Democratic Club's luncheon but had to cancel. So who steps in? None other than our hopefully soon-to-be Senator, Chris Van Hollen.
The talk was, as expected, extremely informative. The focus was on the upcoming elections this November and the need to not take anything for granted.  As blue a state as is Maryland, Congressman Van Hollen reminded us all that the greatest election upset of 2014 occurred right here in Maryland with the election of a Republican governor.
Congressman Van Hollen emphasized, from a national perspective, the need to take back the Senate majority.  The controversy surrounding the selection of a Supreme Court Justice to fill Antonin Scalia's seat on the bench is one example. With all of the 5 to 4 decisions that came out of the Court and the impact that those decisions had and have on our country, it is critical that we keep the White House and take back the Senate. The gutting of the Voting Rights Act by the Court allowing elections to be won by limiting the number of voters is just one example.  Another example the Congressman gave was the horrific Citizens United case which opened the door for a glut of big money campaign donations.
He pointed to several Senate seats that could easily turn Democrat: Tammy Duckworth in Illinois, Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania and Ann Kirkpatrick in Arizona are just a few examples.  With the current 54 to 46 Republican margin in the Senate, four is all that would be needed as long as we keep the White House.  Former Democratic Senator Russ Feingold is also a strong possibility in Wisconsin, former Democratic Governor Ted Strickland the same in Ohio and Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy is a strong candidate in Florida. Four or more out of these seven alone would give us back the Senate.
Congressman Chris Van Hollen Speaks at Luncheon
As for the Maryland Senate race, although Maryland Democrats outnumber Republicans two to one, as mentioned with the victory of Larry Hogan as governor, no race can be taken lightly.  Republican candidate Kathy Szeliga likes to describe herself as a Republican Barbara Mikulski.  As Congressman Van Hollen pointed out, however, you can't, as was the case with Ms. Szeliga, be against raising the minimum wage, oppose LGBT rights, limit a woman's right to choose, be against earned paid sick leave, and oppose restrictions on firearms on campus and compare yourself to Senator Barbara Mikulski.
The good news is that voter turnout has drastically improved from the record low 20 percent in 2014 to 40 percent during the primaries this past April.  As we all know, when Democrats vote, Democrats win.
So, you ask, what needs to be done?  According to Congressman Van Hollen, we must do all we can to get out the vote. 
In his own primary victory, he pointed out that, although he won by 52 percent to 39 percent over Donna Edwards, that still leaves nine percent of Democratic voters who voted for neither.  We need to gain those Democratic votes come November.  Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore seem to be the locations that may provide the greatest Republican threat and those locations need to be focused on.
We must also attract independent voters and Democrats who voted Republican in 2014.  There is work to be done.
As for the presidential race, Congressman Van Hollen strongly supports the candidacy of Secretary Clinton and the importance of all Democrats coming together to ensure that the demagogue, Donald Trump, does not get elected by dividing America along religious, ethnic, racial, and economic lines.
As the author of this article, I think the best way to close is to repeat the phrase used by the Congressman throughout his campaign which goes something like this: We need dreamers, we need doers, but most of all we need dreamers who do!  And, as someone who has followed Chris Van Hollen's career and tried to support his campaigns the best I know how, I must say that one of the proudest achievements of the state of Maryland may very well be producing a candidate of the quality of Chris Van Hollen. He is, indeed, a "dreamer who does!"

                                                                                             By Laurie Kelly
- It's best in our state to focus on hot button social issues.
- Larry Hogan is conservative, but didn't run as being against social issues. He let MD stay as it was. Instead, he focused on economic issues.
-Trump is crude and rude and he switches on issues frequently to make himself look good. He drives voters who are economically stressed.
- Hillary should focus on early education, job training, and other economic issues.
- The CEO Employment Fairness Act means that they will not receive a tax deduction if they are not providing raises to workers.
- There should be a 0.13% tax on investments in order to provide a dependent child care tax credit.
-.Special interest tax breaks should be eliminated.
- Congressman Van Hollen left our luncheon to attend a briefing on Metro occurring on the Hill. (applause to that).

WDC Members and Guests Listen Intently

                                                  by Laurie Kelley   
Political leaders and organizers participated in the 2nd Annual Clubs of Color Legislative Wrap-up which took place on May 21 in the Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans Plaza. Participants included the African American Democratic Club of Montgomery County, Latino Democratic Club of Montgomery County, Montgomery County Young Democrats, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA), and the Coalition of Asian Pacific American Democrats.   The WDC was a co-sponsor of this event.  Panelists discussed popular and small-business economic development, revitalizing education, and reforming social and criminal justice.

The social justice panel discussed addressing the revolving door to prison by treating drug abuse, reducing sentences for nonviolent offenses, and working on a bill of rights for victims of law enforcement abuse. The education panel wants to close the achievement gap by providing wraparound services, mentors and focusing on the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) population. The economic security panel discussed a gender equity act that extends time for filing a gender wage discrimination suit. The state needs to get away from corporate welfare-  providing huge tax credits instead of supporting small businesses. Maryland Delegate Ariana Kelly: "Women's reproductive lives determine their economic lives." State Senator Jamie Raskin: "Paid sick leave is not a handout. Workers need to get well and the public needs to be protected from the spread of illness."
Participants at Clubs of Color Legislative Wrap-Up
                                                           by Enid Light

The May 12 WDC Happy Hour at the Lebanese Taverna had a stellar turnout.  The first "post primary" happy hour required extra tables to accommodate the group. There was a lot of talk as we "recapped" the Maryland primary and discussed the general election. We were delighted to be joined by Alice Wilkerson who is Jamie Raskin's chief of staff. A highlight of the evening was when the group toasted Linda Kolko, WDC President, who recently received the "Democrat of the Year Award".  Cheers, Linda for your well-deserved award.

                                                     by Fran Rothstein with input from Ginger Macomber

Have you served (or are you now serving) on a State or County board or commission?  Do you have policy experience through your professional or volunteer activities that you'd like to share?

WDC submitted written and oral testimony on a number of bills during the 2016 State Legislative Session.  We may also be testifying before the County Council in the future.  Although Linda Kolko (as WDC President) signs all testimony, others of us have delivered oral testimony on occasion.  As we increase both the topics and the frequency of our testimony, it may be useful for WDC members who are recognized issue experts to deliver testimony.  If you have served (or are now serving) on a board or commission, and would be willing to be consulted about testimony or to deliver oral testimony in your area of expertise, please let us know.  Many thanks.
Fran Rothstein ( or Emily Shetty (


                                                                                                                     by Mary Lou Fox

For a decade, the Maryland Women's Coalition for Health Care Reform has played a major role as a statewide policy and advocacy organization. Now, with our transformation to Consumer Health First, we are looking to the future to better address the future opportunities and challenges of health care reform and the transformation of our health care delivery system writ large. In so doing, we can ensure that we have the capacity to continue to raise the voice of consumers and address their needs to advance access, quality and equity. At the same time, we will continue to support the work of our partners with the news, analysis, and information you need on state and national reform efforts.

See our website for more information on the report and read our latest newsletter.

Books Article4
                                             by Bonnie Wicklund
It's that time of year, when we may have a little more time for reading, and almost every publication comes out with a list of recommendations.  Looking back over past INTERVIEWS of our board members in WDC newsletters, I found there were many books mentioned that could form an outstanding list to recommend.  These are not new titles--some of them will be immediately recognizable--but others may be unfamiliar.
Starting with fiction, both Riki Sheehan and Sybil Cantor praised The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, one of those hard-to-put-down books that draws you in.  Riki also liked Americanah by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie, and both Sybil and Linda Kolko mentioned the novels of Jane Gardam, such as Old Filth (not at all what the title suggests!)  Other British writers Linda likes are Penelope Lively and William Boyd, and Hilary Mantel, who wrote the phenomenal historical novels about Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's adroit advisor: first Wolf Hall, then Bring Up the Bodies.  Judith Heimann also praised Wolf Hall, as well as Shadow of the Wind, a novel translated from the Spanish about a mystery set in postwar Barcelona.  Master of Petersburg, by the prize winning South African, J. M. Coetzee, was mentioned by Betsy Loyless; Liane Moriarty's What Alice Forgot, was on Emily Shetty's list.  Nancy Holland is an enthusiastic reader of mysteries by Henning Mankell, Olen Steinhauer and Tana French.  Fran Rothstein said she has loved every novel written by Geraldine Brooks, most recently The Secret Chord
Fran also found Katherine Boo's Beyond the Beautiful Forevers unforgettable--this non-fiction book about a slum in Mumbai reads almost like a novel.  Lucy Freeman recommended the books of Lynne Olson, a former White House correspondent, especially Those Angry Days, about the political turmoil in the U.S. right before World War II.  A revealing book about our contemporary politics was praised by Beth Tomasello:  The Unwinding, by journalist George Packer.  Teddi Pensinger liked Stacy Schiff's biography of Cleopatra, as well as a contemporary memoir by Amanda Lindhout about working in dangerous countries, including a year spent captive in Somalia: A House in the Sky.  

The dues cycle for WDC is from September 1 to August 31 of the following calendar year. If you are not certain about your dues status, please contact Sybil Cantor at, and she will be able to advise you.
The 2016 membership directory will continue to be available at WDC events to all current dues-paying members. Please review your listing in the directory.  If you find any mistakes, please email us the corrections at or call WDC President Linda Kolko at 301-785-1342.  Please note that if we did not receive your renewal by February 1, you were not listed in the 2016 Membership Directory.

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 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 list.

Membership renewal forms will be sent out later in June Click here to renew early or join.




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!  



 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. Finally, we are looking for a member to help organize our monthly Happy Hour. 
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




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 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
Woman's Democratic Club
Sybil Cantor
Email Coordinator

Woman's Democratic Club | 117 Sherman Ave. | Takoma Park | MD | 20912