Making Democracy Work

News & News Releases

Check here for press releases, League news or updates on current events

Book Group Selection for October 2014

The book selected for the Ocotber 21 meeting is "On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City" by Alice Goffman. This book will give another view of life in black America, similar to what we have learned recently about life in Ferguson, Missouri. Alice Goffman lived for 6 years in a neighborhood in central Philadelphia where she learned "the pernicious effects of pervasive policing".

The meeting will be held in Buchanan.

Consider coming to a book group meeting. Usually about 15 members gather in a member home for a lively discussion. The books are chosen by the group. Shown is part of the group from the July meeting held on the summer porch of Ana Vincenti's home in the Prairie Club in Harbert

Media Release for July 16 Campaign Finance Meeting

FOLLOW THE MONEY

On Wednesday, July 16 the League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties will welcome Rich Robinson and all of you for his presentation "Dark Money and the Future of Politics". The event will be held at the Vickers Theatre, 6 N. Elm in Three Oaks, Michigan and will begin at 7:00 pm. The public is encouraged to attend and there is no charge nor are reservations required.

Mr. Robinson is the Executive Director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network based in Lansing. A Mother Jones Magazine article about Rich and the 2010 campaign described Rich as Michigan's "leading campaign finance reform advocate". Rich is a frequent and popular speaker around the state. It is common knowledge that special interests are pumping a lot of money into political campaigns, but Rich will explain why it is even worse than you thought and how far down the political food chain it goes.

For more information on the League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties go to lwvbcc.org.

Media Release for July 8 District 59 Candidates Forum

The League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties and four co-sponsors are pleased to announce a public candidates forum for the four Republican candidates for state representative from District 59. The event will take place on Tuesday, July 8 at 6:30 pm at the Cass County Council on Aging Lowe Center, 60525 Decatur Rd, Cassopolis.

The four candidates, all of whom have agreed to participate in the forum, are John Bippus, Aaron Miller, Roger Rathburn and Bob Sills.

The four co-sponsors in addition to the League are: Leader Publications, Dowagiac Rotary, Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce and Delta Kappa Gamma Society International.

The moderator will be Bernie Williamson, Cass County Commissioner District 6

As is traditional with League forums, the first questions at each forum will come from the sponsors and then some from the audience, submitted in writing at the forum.

This Forum is your chance to see how the candidates respond to unscripted questions and compare their answers. It is also an opportunity for Cass County voters to meet these gentlemen, all of whom are from St. Joseph County. The event is free and open to the public.

The primary is Tuesday, August 5, when one of these candidates will be selected by the voters to be the district's Republican nominee for the State House, facing Democrat Mike Moroz, who is unopposed in the primary, in the November 4 general election.

For more information go to the League's website lwvbcc.org.

"The League and Nonpartisanship" by Susan Gilbert

This article appeared in the December 2010 LWVBCC newsletter and has been circulated by LWVMI and the LWVUS leaders. Numerous local Leagues have asked for permission to reprint it in their newsletters.

It is not uncommon for outsiders, and even some members, to question how the League can be nonpartisan yet advocate on positions that, in the slice of time that is now, appear to be partisan. In the highly partisan climate that has developed in recent years, the League is one of the very few political organizations that is not in either the liberal/Democratic camp or the conservative/Republican camp. And we have members of all political persuasions and encourage them to get involved in politics. So members may be partisan but the organization is not. All this is hard for many to wrap their minds around.

The League is nonpartisan in that we do not endorse or support any political party or candidate for office. We don't rate legislators, we don't track their votes and we don't threaten them if they don't vote our way. Voter service is one of our main missions and we publish nonpartisan voter guides and hold candidate forums to help voters educate themselves beyond TV ads. Education is an important League function, and we try in our meetings and in this newsletter to inform our attendees/readers and stimulate them to think about issues in our world.

However, the League is also an advocacy group, and we have positions on issues that have been developed over the years since our founding in 1920 and are the result of study and consensus of the local Leagues nationwide. These positions are updated from time to time, but are basically consistent. The positions and platforms of the political parties, on the other hand, do change and at times they resemble our League positions, or not. But the League doesn't change or drop it's positions because they are currently those of one party or the other. And we do speak out!

An example is health care. The League has a position on comprehensive health care for all Americans. President Truman liked that idea too and President Eisenhower delivered a special message to Congress on January 31, 1955 recommending a comprehensive health program for Americans. Lyndon Johnson got Medicare passed and that took the pressure off for awhile. But President Nixon encouraged HMOs as a way to rein in costs and provide health care for more people. Then President Reagan came along and decided the free market was the best way to manage health care and the Republicans have basically supported this idea since. But clearly both parties have been on both sides of the issue.

The key is not to confuse politics with position advocacy.