The Leagues of NH, VT, ME, and RI have worked together for a number of years on regional issues. The Leagues in Massachusetts and Connecticut sometimes join the annual conference.
See the description of this year's conference below.
Theme is "Advancing Civility in a Diverse New England." Panels and discussions included the following:
What do we mean by diversity in a representative democracy? Challenges of governing in a diverse world, Communicating across diversity, Non-voters and the challenges of reaching out to them.
The Sunday morning session included planning for 2020, the 100th anniversary of the League and of women's suffrage!
We'll type up notes from the conference and post here in the next week or two. Best conference ever is the consensus, with excellent speakers & discussion, 83 attendees total (a record!), and 19 attendees from NH. Thanks to the organizers for all their good work (Nancy M. was NH's representative on the planning committee.--well done, Nancy!)
We didn't stand still long enough for a photo this year.
Our nearly annual conference for League members from NH, VT, ME, RI, also included board members from MA and CT. Four members from NH participated. The focus this year was on "Making Democracy Work: Learning From Each Other."
Workshops included sharing of ideas on working within the League (local and state and national levels) and also working with the many citizen action groups that have sprung up.
Keynote speaker was Sec. of State Jim Condos of VT, whose progressive view of voting rights and process gave some of us SoS envy. In VT each voter has access to a unique, individual webpage where he/she can request an absentee ballot, then check that the application and later the ballot have been received, can see sample ballots and a list of one own's representatives...wow. Here in NH we are not even allowed to update our addresses online! And sample ballots are at the whim of town website managers.
Also presenting was Joanna London of LWV District of Columbia, with an interesting story of DC's struggle for full voting rights. DC residents vote for the President, but do not have a voting Congressional Delegation. Congress approves their city budget, and just like everyone else, they pay income and sales taxes to run their city. With a population of 700,000, DC is bigger than two of our states but have no vote in Congress! Residents and their League want that changed.
Sunday morning included a discussion of the national League's "Transformation Journey" hosted by national board member Toni Zimmer.
Our keynote speaker was Toni Zimmer, LWV board of directors and our liaison to national League (shown center in this photo of the 5 New England state presidents attending: VT, MA, RI, Toni, ME, NH.)
This is the eleventh year Leagues from New England have organized this conference to educate ourselves and share our ideas for Making Democracy Work, the theme for 2017.
So busy we couldn't get all thirteen LWVNH members to stand still together, but we caught ten of us. Missing are JoAnne E, Sally E, and Sara M.
Click here for conference summary. Thirteen NH members represented our League, and our thanks to the LWVNH Education Fund for helping to make this possible.
Exciting keynote speaker was author and political strategist Celinda Lake. She is the co-author of the book What Women Really Want: How American Women Are Quietly Erasing Political, Racial, Class, and Religious Lines to Change the Way We Live The theme for this year's conference workshops was communications: getting the League's message to the public and to elected officials, as well as improving internal communications at all levels. Our recent Money in Politics study was referred to in examples of possible communications strategies.
Location was the Hampton Inn and Suites, Wells, Maine.
Program: Nellie Gorbea, Rhode Island's Secretary of State, was the keynote speaker at the 9th annual Quad States Leadership Conference. Election Law was the theme of this year's conference, with related issues the focus of workshops to enhance our League leadership skills (focus issues are in parentheses below):
Membership Recruitment: using an issue to recruit members (Redistricting) + Nancy Marashio (NH) was a workshop presenter.
Working With Others, including LWVUS (Money in Politics) + Ann Luther, (ME).
Conducting a Study (Open Primaries) + Kate Rader and Sonja Schuyler (VT).
A panel of women in public life who have used League experience to launch or inform their careers concluded the conference on Sunday.
States participating in 2014 were NH, VT, Maine, RI, and new this year, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
With energy production and distribution currently "hot topics," this year's subject was Energy and Energy Efficiency. The New England Governors in December signed a compact agreeing to work together to solve the region's energy issues. The Governors are committed to working toward a regional goal of lowering electricity and heating costs and expanding their [energy] portfolios. This announcement contributed to our choosing this topic for our 2014 conference.
Our keynote speakers included Jack Cashman, former head of Maine's Public Utilities Commission, who explained how ISO-NE* works in relation to the states' various Public Utilities Commissions. Lea Aeschliman, a past League member and former chair of the NH Public Utilities Commission, helped us understand more about the current status of RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative), a regional initiative by states and provinces in the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada regions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Also leading one of our workshops was a Maine League member who serves on LWVUS Climate Change Task Force. Pam Person helped us understand the LWVUS work on climate and energy and how state and local Leagues can take action.
We thank the LWVNH Education Fund for a grant to support NH attendance at the conference this year.
A synopsis of what we learned is posted below.