Sunday, March. 5
Local Environmental Action 2017 Conference,
Growing the Grassroots for a Greener New England, Northeastern University, Curry Student Center, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. 

Friday, March 10
LWVMA/LESF Board Meeting, North Hill, Needham, from 10:45 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Saturday, March 25
"The Politics of Justice: Comprehensive Criminal Justice Reform in Massachusetts," First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, Arlington, from 12:45 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Friday, March 31
"Making Democracy Work in My Community" High School Video Contest submission deadline

Friday, April 28 - Saturday, April 29
LWVMA Convention, Sheraton Hotel, Framingham
Have You Made Your State Convention Plans?

Boston Globe Editor, Brian McGrory

Local Leagues should be making plans now to attend

LWVMA Convention 2017 at the Framingham Sheraton on April 28 and 29. LWVMA has experienced a surge in interest since the election and is energized and ready to tackle the tough issues with the help of our members. We anticipate a large member turnout at convention eager to be part of the discussion on the future of the League in Massachusetts. 

The program includes: 

  • 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.
  • Panel Discussion will highlight millennial voices in the Massachusetts legislature.
  • Focus Groups on the future of the League.

All League members are welcome and encouraged to participate in Convention and the discussions on the future of the League. However, only official delegates from local Leagues and MAL units vote in the plenary sessions. Please check your local League delegate count here. As in past years, the League office will facilitate delegate credentials from Leagues not attending Convention being transferred to Leagues interested in sending more members to convention than they have delegate slots. Please contact Brynne Gorman if you are interested in releasing delegates or need additional ones.

It's never too early to make reservations for Friday night at the Sheraton Framingham. Remember that the special pricing of $139 (taxes not included) is the same for single and double occupancy and is available for a limited time. For more information on hotel reservations, please click here.
For more information and to register for Convention, please click here. For a flyer, please click here

Nominating Committee Unveils Slate

The Nominating Committee has completed the slate of LWVMA officers and directors it will submit at the April 28-29 Convention. 

Nominees for co-president are Mary Ann Ashton, Acton Area; and Linda O'Connell, Springfield.  Nominees for the other officer positions are treasurer, Andrea Kozinetz, Newton; secretary, Shelley Drowns, Waltham; first vice president, Marilyn Peterson, Acton Area; and second vice president, Lee Bona, Worcester Area.

Nominated as LWVMA directors are Kate Boland, Hingham; Roz Broch, Williamstown; Nancy Brumback, Sudbury; Jean Cherdack, Northampton Area; Scotti Finnegan, Cape Cod Area; Donna Hooper, Lexington; Kris Eastman, Rochester-Marion-Mattapoisett; Karen Price, Needham; and Judy Zaunbrecher, Concord-Carlisle.
Nominees for the state nominating committee are Wendy Manz, Lexington, chair; Sharon McCarthy, Harvard; and Ellen Goguen, Grafton. 
Judges Needed for Video Contest
"Making Democracy Work in My Community," the fourth annual LWVMA high school video contest, is under way. All Massachusetts high school students are invited to submit two-minute videos highlighting citizen-led efforts to nurture democracy at the local level--someone in the community who is fighting injustice, organizing action, fostering dialogue, encouraging civic participation or educating about important issuesThe contest runs through March 31.  

Now we need volunteers willing to judge the entries during the month of April. All of the judging is done from your own computer at home at your convenience. If you'd like to judge, please contact Brynne Gorman.

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.  

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, and a post to use on your League website.
How to Use for Spring and Fall Local Elections
With your support, LWVMA launched the use of VOTE411 during the 2016 calendar year throughout Massachusetts. Several local Leagues used VOTE411 to prepare Voter's Guides for their spring municipal elections. Statewide, we offered information about candidates and ballot questions during the fall primary and general elections to nearly 40,000 voters in 330 of the Commonwealth's 351 municipalities.

With no statewide contests in 2017, we've decided that we will offer the VOTE411 platform to any local Leagues which would like to use it to prepare Voter's Guides for municipal elections in spring or fall. Each local League using the platform would be asked to share the costs 50-50 with the state League, so the cost for a local League would be between $100 and $200, depending on the size of your League. Additionally, we are seeking grant support to offer Vote411 Voter's Guides in several of our largest cities where we do not have a League presence, so that we can continue to
engage voters in those communities through their fall elections.

If your League is interested in using VOTE411 for your spring or fall municipal election, please contact Mary Ann Ashton, Voter Service chair, by March 15 to indicate your interest and learn more about the cost.
Money in Politics Action Kit Available
LWVUS has just released a new action kit on money in politics with ideas your League can use on this crucial topic. You can find the kit here.

LWVMA is once again co-sponsoring and tabling at the
Local Environmental Action 2017 Conference, Growing the Grassroots for a Greener New England. The conference will be held at Northeastern University, Curry Student Center, Sunday, March 5, 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., with a reception at 4:30.
League members are eligible for a discounted ticket as members of a co-sponsoring organization. Discounted tickets are $25, a savings of $10.
Click here to see the Conference page. Here is a registration link that will take you directly to the correct registration designation for members of co-sponsoring groups.
State and local environmental advocacy has never been more important given the current political climate. Come and learn what is happening on the ground and how to hone our environmental advocacy skills to be effective at the local and state level.
This annual conference, in its 30th year, is an excellent opportunity to connect with community leaders and environmental advocates and activists from across the state for skills training and inspiration.
Criminal Justice Reform Forum March 25
LWVMA is a co-sponsor for a forum on criminal justice reform: "The Politics of Justice: Comprehensive Criminal Justice Reform in Massachusetts," hosted by First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington's Mass Incarceration Working Group.

The forum is Saturday, March 25, from 12:45-5 p.m. at the church, 630 Massachusetts Ave. in Arlington. It is free and open to the public. The Arlington and Winchester Leagues are also co-sponsors.

Speakers will include Sen. Will Brownsberger on the Council of State Governments omnibus bill; Cassandra Bensahih of EPOCA (Ex-Prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement); Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan; Sen. Ken Donnelly on community policing and pretrial reform; and Rahsaan Hall from the Massachusetts ACLU on racial justice implications.
January Scharfman Grant Winners
Three Leagues received Daniel Scharfman citizen education grants in January.

LWV Arlington received a grant for its Candidates' Night. LWV Hamilton Wenham received a grant for a program bringing books to elementary schools. LWV Plymouth received a grant for its civics bee.

The next deadline to apply for a Scharfman grant is April 17. Information and an application form are available
League in the News
Check out this article in the Washington Post on the surge of interest in the League of Women Voters that features the brand new League forming in Franklin County.
Thanks for Responding
Thank you to all the Leagues which participated in the charter school study. We received consensus reports from 22 local Leagues. Thanks too for participating in this year's state program planning effort. The proposed LWVMA charter school position and the board's recommended program for the 2017-19 biennium will be presented at the state convention April 28-29. 
LWVMA Executive Director on Leave
LWVMA Executive Director Meryl Kessler will be on a 12-week leave this spring, returning at the beginning of June.  Since the office will be short-staffed during that period, please be patient with your requests.
Do You Use League Easy Web?
If your League uses League Easy Web, developed by LWV of California, to manage your website, please read more to see the latest information on this program shared by LWV of California Executive Director Melissa Breach. Read more...
The League Leader Update is distributed to local League board members and LWVMA leaders. Anyone can request the Update by clicking here. Please review this Update for articles of interest to your League and include them in your local Bulletin.

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