CALENDAR
Wednesday, Feb. 1
High School Video Contest Kick Off

Monday, Feb. 6
Assessing Our Security in an Age of Mayhem, a conversation with Juliette Kayyem, Bentley University, 175 Forest St., Waltham, Wilder Pavilion, from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 21
The Case for Pricing Carbon webinar with Dr. Naomi Oreskes, from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m.  

Friday, April 29 -
Saturday, April 30

LWVMA Convention 2017, The Future of Democracy: Facing the Challenges, Sheraton Framingham Hotel   
From Our President
   
Dear League Members,

The time for complacency is over as so many of our gains are threatened, not by just by the current political structure, but by the way progressive issues are portrayed and perceived. After decades of progress in the middle of the twentieth century, we have seen the steady erosion of the perceived value of the rights and programs the League stands for. We must work to, once again, make all Americans understand that our causes are just, reasonable, and beneficial.

We need to point to the gains in the quality of life, both material and less tangible, the greater dignity for all our citizens, and all the other benefits that have resulted from the success of progressive measures. We need to focus on the great positive goods and not on the minutiae and disputes at the fringe.

We need to ensure that young Americans understand it is not just their right, but their duty to be involved. The future of this country is in their hands, and it is up to us to make sure they know that and to help them act accordingly. They need to not only vote, but be engaged in all levels of government.

The time for demanding perfect allegiance on all issues from ourselves and allies is over. Amongst ourselves, we must emphasize what unites us not what divides us. An overall "progressive" environment is good for all our causes. We must not drive away those who do not agree with us on each and every issue. Nor must we pick only our own favorite issue to support to the exclusion of most others.

Finally, we must not alienate those who do not share our vision. We must realize their concerns are not frivolous nor dismiss them with contempt. We must do some listening as well as some talking. We must convince, not condemn.

Yours in League,
Jean Cherdack, President
HAPPENING NOW
Join Us for a Conversation on Cybersecurity, Terrorism and Democracy
  
Join LWVMA for an inside look at the threats and challenges ahead with Juliette Kayyem, who will present her thoughts on Assessing Our Security in an Age of Mayhem.

Kayyem is former Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security. She currently serves as the Robert and Renee Belfer Lecturer in International Security at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where she is Faculty Director of the Homeland Security Project.

Date:
 Monday, February 6
Time:  Lecture and Q & A: 5 to 6 p.m. and reception from 6 to 7 p.m.
Location: Bentley University, 175 Forest St., Waltham, Wilder Pavilion (Adamian Academic Center 165)

This event is free and open to League members and their guests, but we request that you register yourself and any guests to ensure sufficient seating. Please register here.  Print a flyer here.
High School Video Contest Kicks off Feb. 1
  
"Making Democracy Work in My Community,"
the fourth annual LWVMA high school video contest, starts Feb. 1. All Massachusetts high school students are invited to submit two-minute videos that 
show local, citizen-led efforts to advance democracy, whether that is fighting injustice, organizing action, fostering dialogue, encouraging civic participation or educating about important issuesThe contest runs through March 31.  

The first-place award is $500; second-place, $250; and third-place, $100. All winners will be invited to attend an award ceremony at the Massachusetts State House, and winning videos will be publicized throughout the state. For more details on entering the contest, click here.

Please help spread the word. Local Leagues play a key role in publicizing the contest in their communities.
Click here for a toolkit on the contest, including a flyer you can print and distribute at high schools in your area, a sample letter to the editor for your local paper, and a post to use on your League website.

If you are interested in helping to judge the videos in April, please contact Brynne Gorman. All of the judging is done from your own computer at home.
LWVMA Convention 2017 - Let Your Voice Be Heard
  
Boston Globe Editor Brian McGrory
Join delegates and members from across the state in brainstorming The Future of Democracy: Facing the Challenges at the LWVMA Convention Friday and Saturday, April 28 and 29, at the Framingham Sheraton in Framingham. Help us develop strategies and priorities for an energized League ready to make its impact felt.
 
Highlights will include:

Brian McGrory, Editor of The Boston Globe, will discuss the media's role in the face of criticism and fake news at Friday night's banquet.

Wylecia Wiggs Harris, Executive Director, LWVUS, will discuss the League's "Impact, Engagement, Sustainability" at Saturday's breakfast.
 
Rachael Cobb, Associate Professor and Chair of the Suffolk University Department of Government, will discuss how grassroots organizations can respond to threats to democracy.
 
A panel discussion will highlight Millennial Voices in the Massachusetts State Legislature.
 
Member Focus Groups will discuss the future of the League.

Convention is also a time to conduct League business: elect officers and directors and approve program and budget for the next biennium. It's also a time to share ideas with other Leagues, listen to exciting speakers, make new friends, and plan the future of the League.

The LWVMA Convention is open to all members. Come and have your voice heard.

1st Call to Convention
was issued Jan. 28. Click here to access information on schedule, registration and hotel accommodations. Click here for a Convention flyer.
New League Forming in Franklin County
 
On a cold night in early January, forty women and one man ventured out to the Arms Library In Shelburne Falls to discuss forming a League in Franklin County. At the second meeting to explore this new League, attendance more than tripled-over 130 people came to a meeting in Greenfield Jan. 29!

Jean Cherdack, LWVMA president, and Marilyn Peterson, LWVMA membership chair, met with the standing-room-only group to brainstorm how to get started as a League and what issues a Franklin County League might focus on.

"This is the best kind of overwhelmed there is," Marie Gauthier of Shelburne Falls said. Marie spearheaded the effort following the November election with help and support from the Northampton Area LWV and Jean. Franklin County is on the northern border of Massachusetts, bisected by Route 2 and I-91.

Click
here and here to read the latest articles in the local paper about this new League, and here for the paper's editorial comment.
ADVOCACY
2017 Day on the Hill Moving to Fall 
 
Day on the Hill, LWVMA's annual lobby day at the State House, will be shifted from its usual spring date to the fall for 2017. The Gardner Auditorium in the State House is undergoing renovation and is not available when we planned to meet, nor were other State House locations.

We will be planning a strong program as part of Day on the Hill, so watch for the date and plan to attend this fall.

As the Legislative Action Committee reviews the bills that were filed in January (some 6,000 were expected!) and selects the ones we will follow, information on those bills will be posted on the LWVMA website.
Learn More about Carbon Pricing
 
The national League's
Price on Carbon Committee invites you to join a webinar on pricing carbon Tuesday, Feb. 21, for an insightful and informative presentation by internationally renowned science historian and author Dr. Naomi Oreskes.

As the evidence of accelerated climate change and its impact on society mounts, there is an increasing sense of urgency to find solutions. Learn how putting
a price on carbon works and why scientists, economists and world leaders view pricing carbon as an essential strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and stimulating the growth of clean, renewable energy.

Legislation to introduce carbon pricing in Massachusetts has been introduced on Beacon Hill.

RSVP to join us on Feb. 21, 2-3 p.m., for The Case for Pricing Carbon webinar with Dr. Naomi Oreskes.
Criminal Justice Reform - Key Issue on Beacon Hill

By Colleen Kirby, LWVMA Legislative Specialist

In the 1970s and 1980s, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts developed
strong positions on our courts and corrections systems. Since that time, the rate of incarceration in Massachusetts has more than tripled, and nationally, nearly one of every 100 adults is in prison, 5 to 10 times higher than other democracies. This burden falls disproportionately on young minority men, the impoverished, the mentally disabled, or those with drug and alcohol addictions. This increase was not due to more criminality in the public but to policy changes. It is our responsibility to undo these policy failures and now is the time.

In 2015, Governor Charlie Baker, Chief Justice Ralph Gants, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito invited the Council of State Governments to study our criminal justice system in Massachusetts and report on recommendations for legislative changes in January 2017. Read more...
Keep Up with League Advocacy in Washington

LWVUS has already forcefully spoken out against many of the new administration's statements and policies.  To follow LWV activity at the federal level, be sure to frequently visit LWVUS's website to stay abreast of new developments.  There you can find the League Statement on Claims of Voter Fraud, the League Statement on Immigration, and Three Questions for the Supreme Court Nominee, as well as other important position statements from the League. 
The League - Marching Since 1920

Hundreds of League members participated in the Women's March on Washington and the sister march in Boston on Jan. 21 to stand up for the League's values and policy positions.

Now that the marches are over, what can you do? Call your U.S. Representative or U.S. Senator and your state Representative and Senator on every issue you feel strongly about. Calls are more effective than emails, though emails do help. 

Even, or especially, if you know your legislators agree with your position, they need to know they have the support of their constituents, and 
with that support, they can make a more effective case in Congress or on Beacon Hill. It's a matter of numbers. 

AState Sen. Michael Barrett said at the Concord-Carlisle League's annual breakfast: "Communicating with the already converted arms the already converted to do the right thing." Call or email often. If they don't hear from your side, they will only know the other side.
ELECTIONS & VOTING
Concord-Carlisle LWV Partners with Lowell High School for Congressional Candidates' Forum        
 
By Judy Zaunbrecher
Voter Service Chair, LWV Concord-Carlisle

Rep. Niki Tsongas, left, and challenger Ann Wofford in candidates' forum at Lowell High School, moderated by Nancy Carapezza, center.
The LWV of Concord-Carlisle co-sponsored a Third Congressional District candidates' forum with Lowell High School, Lowell Educational Television and Lowell Votes before the November election. Representative Niki Tsongas (D-Incumbent) and challenger Ann Wofford (R) participated in the forum, moderated by Nancy Carapezza.

The forum was held at Lowell High School and broadcast live on Lowell Public Television and WCAP-AM radio. Over 400 people attended, many of them LHS students.

After the forum, the Social Studies Department conducted a program to emphasize the importance of voting. The school also arranged for a voter registration table in the auditorium lobby. Read more....
MOVE 2016 Educated and Engaged Voters 
 
During this deeply polarizing election season, LWVMA enabled Massachusetts citizens to cut through the divisive rhetoric and misleading clutter by providing unbiased, easy-to-use election information and engaging voters on the issues that matter.

We are especially proud that our MOVE 2016 voter education and engagement campaign:
  • Provided 40,000 voters in 330 of the Commonwealth's 351 municipalities with in-depth, nonpartisan information about candidates and issues through our VOTE411 voters' guide;
  • Encouraged robust early voting through the Early Voting Challenge;
  • Ensured that elections in our state would be fair, free, and accessible through our Election Protection poll watchers and hotline volunteers;
  • Educated citizens about key changes to our state election laws through our online and print educational materials;
  • Engaged young adults in the electoral process through our YOUth Should Vote! statewide video contest; and
  • Expanded civic education to our youngest citizens through our League Choice Books program.
  • And we are encouraged by the election turnout:  3.4 million people (75% of registered voters) voted in the Commonwealth, and early voting, championed by the League as part of the Election Modernization Coalition, accounted for 22% of votes cast.
 
The Mass. League Voter is distributed to all LWVMA members. Anyone can request the Voter by clicking here. Please review this Update for articles of interest to your League and include them in your local Bulletin.

133 Portland Street Boston, MA 02114 | 617-523-2999
 [email protected] | www.lwvma.org
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