Making Democracy Work

News & News Releases

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

Poverty Workshop Poster!

Rep. Dave Pagel (District 78) July 11 Office Hours

Dave Pagel will be at the Union Coffee House, 115 E. Front St, Buchanan on Saturday the 11th of July from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. This is a great opportunity for constituents to share their opinions on issues directly with Dave. No appointment is necessary.

Dave is chairman of the Corrections Sub-Committee of the House Appropriations Committee. You might want to read this article from Bridge on the issue of incarceration before you go.

There are always the roads to talk about as well!

Media Release: Annual Meeting & Dinner

The League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties will hold its Annual Meeting and Dinner on Tuesday, June 16 at Orchard Hills Country Club in Buchanan. The social hour will begin at 6:00 with dinner at 7:00 followed by the speaker. The guest speaker will be retired Chief Judge of the Second Circuit Court of Berrien County Alfred Butzbaugh speaking on "Poverty & Justice". Other members of the legal community will also attend the event as additional resources for this complicated subject. The League is focusing this year on the many manifestations of poverty.

Interested members of the public are welcome. Reservations are required by the end of the day on Thursday, June 11. There are two entrée options and the cost is $28. For more information go to, then the Calendar page.

Media Release: "Saving Lake Michigan: Lake Michigan Issues"

Lake Michigan's clean and abundant water is a vital resource for millions of people including, of course, those of us who live in Southwest Michigan. On Thursday, May 28 at noon the League of Women Voters of Berrien and Cass Counties and Fernwood Botanical Garden are co-sponsoring a presentation by a panel from the League of Women Voters of the Lake Michigan Region on protecting and preserving our lake--"Saving Lake Michigan: Lake Michigan Issues".

The presenters, Cheryl Chapman, Jeanette Neagu, and Krista Grimm, will discuss specific threats to the lake, what is being done about them and by whom, legislative action at the state and national level and the organizations working to protect the Great Lakes and Lake Michigan.

A buffet lunch will be served at noon and reservations are required no later than Saturday, May 23. Call Fernwood at 269-695-6491 Tuesday through Sunday or go to the League's website, calendar page, for the PayPal link for reservations and payment. The cost of the lunch and program is $14 and the public is invited and encouraged to attend.

Book Selection for July Book Grop Meeting

The book selection for the July meeting is:

Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America by Linda Tirado. Ms. Tirado writes from personal experience about what it is like to be poor, a condition really little understood by the rest of Americans.

In the coming months LWVBCC is focusing on the many facets of the issue of poverty.

Berrien County Recycling Events

Berrien County offers many opportunities for residents to recycle hazardous materials, electronics, tires and unneeded medications.

For details visit the county website or e-mailrecycling coordinator Jill Adams.

"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.