• FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Martha Patzer
    April 1, 2010 202-263-1332


    League of Women Voters Welcomes Fellows from Colombia and Brazil
    Exchange Participants to Engage with Local Legislatures, Members of Congress, State Department Officials


    Washington, D.C.
    – The League of Women Voters begins
    Connecting Future Legislators with Civil Society – Colombia and Brazil, a two-year Legislative Fellows Program (LFP) designed to
    provide young professionals direct exposure to the U.S. political process and promote intercultural exchange and dialogue at the local political level, while strengthening the bonds between citizens in the Americas. The project is funded by a grant from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.

    “On behalf of the League, I’m pleased to welcome the first nine fellows in our exchange program,” said Mary G. Wilson, national President of the League of Women Voters. “From Colombia—Aura Ines Aguilar, Paulina Estela Guerra, Ingrid Janneth Alarcon, Ximena Poveda, Josefina del Carmen Carcamo, and Monica Andrea Arias; and from Brazil—Rafaela Marchiorato Lupion Mello, Michely Ribeiro da Silva, and Olivia Dias de Araújo. These young women are journalists, psychologists, nurses, economists, attorneys and elected officials—already on their way to the top of their fields back home; it’s an honor to welcome them to the U.S.”

    “Our objective is two-fold: strengthening understanding of legislative processes in the U.S., Colombia, and Brazil, and deepening appreciation of the role civil society plays in the process,” Wilson continued. “The League and our partners on this project—Fundación Mujeres por Colombia, and Espaço Mulher—are committed to building strong relationships among these three countries.”

    A total of 36 fellows will take part in this program during the course of two years.  Participating fellows are 25 to 35 years old and involved in local government in their home countries. The first 9 fellows arrive in Miamion April 7, 2010, for a two-day orientation, followed by a three-week stay with one of five local Leagues: San Diego, CA; Miami, FL; Johnson County, KS; Duluth, MN; and Houston, TX.   

    “Fellows will intern with legislators, mayors, and county commissioners, while also working within hosting Leagues to learn the vital role community organizations play in ensuring an open democratic process,” Wilson concluded. “They will end their month-long stay in Washington, DC, to participate in the 2010 Fellows Congress organized by the U.S. Department of State.  This Congress brings together fellows from South Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Nepal and Pakistan."

    Those interested in learning more about Connecting Future Legislators with Civil Society – Colombia and Brazil and its partners should contact Zaida Arguedas (ZArguedas@lwv.org) or Cristina Atencio (CAtencio@lwv.org).

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    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    March 21, 2010
    www.lwv.org      

    Contact: Kelly Ceballos
    202-263-1331
    kceballos@lwv.org

    House Finally Passes Comprehensive Health Care Reform

    "Monumental, Historic and Transforming," Says League

     

    Washington, D.C. – Statement from Mary G. Wilson, President of the League of Women Voters of the United States:

    "Today’s votes by the U.S. House of Representatives mark an historic milestone in American political history.  The path that began with Social Security and continued with Medicare is reaching fruition with this health care legislation.  Comprehensive health care reform will begin to undo decades of neglect and inaction that has left millions of Americans uninsured and at risk.

    "This legislation is a monumental step in the fight for social justice. 

    "Too many citizens lack adequate health insurance coverage and rising costs threaten everyone.  Passage of comprehensive health care legislation greatly expands coverage to include millions more Americans; protects the coverage that currently delivers care to most; reduces costs over the long term; and accomplishes these goals at a reasonable cost. 

    "It would be difficult to overstate the importance of today’s actions, and we commend our elected representatives for standing up for Americans and having the courage to do what needs to be done to confront the health care crisis in our country.  The League congratulates the House leadership on a closely-fought victory. 

    "We can expect transformational reform from these bills.  Access to health care will be extended to all Americans.  Mechanisms to control rising costs will be put in place.  And the marketplace will be expanded and safeguards put in place to protect consumers.

    "Truly, this legislation is monumental, historic and transforming.

    "Today we took the critical step in dealing with the current health care crisis.  Tomorrow, many Americans will wake up to a new week and a new future that looks a great deal more promising."

    Reporters may contact Kelly Ceballos (kceballos@lwv.org or 202-263-1331) to set up media interviews with President Mary Wilson.

    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Membership in the League is open to men and women of all ages.

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kelly Ceballos
    March 19, 2010 202-263-1331


    House Procedures “OK” According to League of Women Voters
    Objections “Disingenuous”

    Washington, DC - The League of Women Voters of the United States today called the planned procedures to pass health care reform legislation in the House of Representatives “OK.”

    The House Leadership has tentatively announced plans to adopt comprehensive health care reform legislation by a “deem and pass” procedure that would allow the House of Representatives to simultaneously pass both the Senate’s health care legislation and corrective measures in a reconciliation bill with one vote.  Those who have opposed health care reform from the beginning are attacking the procedure.   

    “As a nonpartisan citizen organization that has worked for 90 years to improve government procedures, educate the electorate, and make government at all levels more accessible and responsive to citizens, we are deeply concerned that opponents of health care reform have adopted a strategy of fear, delay and obfuscation,” said Mary G. Wilson, president of the national League of Women Voters. 

    “It is disingenuous to criticize the use of parliamentary procedures that have been employed for decades by the leadership of both parties.  This distracts from the real issue, which is health care reform,” according to Wilson.

    “The Constitution is very clear that the House of Representatives can adopt its own procedures for passing this kind of legislation,” said Wilson, referring to Article I, Section 5.

    “All the arguing by the pundits, partisans and politicians who oppose reform can’t change the fact that Congress decides on the procedures for passing a bill.  That is as the Founders intended when they created our representative, constitutional democracy,” Wilson concluded.

    Reporters may contact Kelly Ceballos (kceballos@lwv.org or 202-263-1331) to set up media interviews with President Mary Wilson.

    ##

    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kelly Ceballos
    March 19, 2010 202-263-1331


    House Procedures “OK” According to League of Women Voters
    Objections “Disingenuous”

    Washington, DC - The League of Women Voters of the United States today called the planned procedures to pass health care reform legislation in the House of Representatives “OK.”

    The House Leadership has tentatively announced plans to adopt comprehensive health care reform legislation by a “deem and pass” procedure that would allow the House of Representatives to simultaneously pass both the Senate’s health care legislation and corrective measures in a reconciliation bill with one vote.  Those who have opposed health care reform from the beginning are attacking the procedure.   

    “As a nonpartisan citizen organization that has worked for 90 years to improve government procedures, educate the electorate, and make government at all levels more accessible and responsive to citizens, we are deeply concerned that opponents of health care reform have adopted a strategy of fear, delay and obfuscation,” said Mary G. Wilson, president of the national League of Women Voters. 

    “It is disingenuous to criticize the use of parliamentary procedures that have been employed for decades by the leadership of both parties.  This distracts from the real issue, which is health care reform,” according to Wilson.

    “The Constitution is very clear that the House of Representatives can adopt its own procedures for passing this kind of legislation,” said Wilson, referring to Article I, Section 5.

    “All the arguing by the pundits, partisans and politicians who oppose reform can’t change the fact that Congress decides on the procedures for passing a bill.  That is as the Founders intended when they created our representative, constitutional democracy,” Wilson concluded.

    Reporters may contact Kelly Ceballos (kceballos@lwv.org or 202-263-1331) to set up media interviews with President Mary Wilson.

    ##


    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Martha Patzer
    March 16, 2010 202-263-1332


    LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS MARKS SUNSHINE WEEK 2010
      Issues Call to Action: Citizens Have a Role in Open Government

    Washington, DC – The League of Women Voters celebrates Sunshine Week 2010, a national period dedicated to promoting transparency, freedom of information, and enhanced public participation in government. National League President Mary G. Wilson issued a call to action asking citizens to take advantage of their important role in fostering an open and accountable government.

    "During our decades of advocacy and education efforts on open government and freedom of information, the League has worked with The White House, Congress and state and local governments to ensure that government is for the people and by the people," Wilsonsaid. "Sunshine Week 2010 is a great opportunity to refocus the dialogue on the most effective methods for improving the way government at all levels works for Americans."

    "To that end, our efforts this week include cosponsoring the 5th Annual Sunshine Week National Dialogue, Building Transparency, an interactive discussion of federal openness policies and citizen opportunities to use government information," Wilson stated. 

    “Over the last year, the League actively participated in The White House’s online Open Government Dialogue.

    We reported to Administration officials that, although public input through technology is great, more traditional ways of engaging the public must be embraced as well.”

    “Federal agencies are now being asked to produce ‘openness’ plans by April 7. While initial reports indicate agencies seem concerned about the directive's public feedback requirement, we believe that this is probably the most critical part of this directive,” Wilsoncontinued. “We are excited to see what the agencies come up with.”

    "Locally, the League's grassroots membership continues to be active on issues of government transparency and public participation—operating their Observer Corps programs, conducting public document audits, and holding town hall meetings,” Wilson concluded.  "At every level, transparency and citizen participation are the critical ingredients to ensuring open and accountable government."

    For additional information on the League's work in these areas, visit the League's Openness in Government Web page here.


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    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

  • Image

    Media Advisory

    March 1, 2010

    Contact: Laura Rusu 202-459-3739 or LRUSU@oxfamamerica.org

    ***Media Advisory for March 8, 2010 6:30-8:30pm***

    INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

    RECEPTION AND CLIMATE LEADERS AWARDS

    WHAT: Oxfam America is bringing almost one hundred "Sisters on the Planet" Ambassadors to Washington, DC to mark International Women’s Day and advocate for climate legislation that includes substantial investments in vulnerable communities around the world. On this occasion, Oxfam will celebrate a number of women who bear witness to the impacts of climate change and who are working on solutions, locally and globally.

    WHO: Majora Carter, Keynote Speaker and President, Majora Carter Group, LLC, a consultancy specializing in environmental justice and sustainable economic development.

    Mary Wilson, President, US League of Women Voters

    Barbara Lawton, Lt. Gov. of Wisconsin, & Chair of the National Lt. Governors Association

    Linda Adams, Secretary for Environmental Protection, State of California

    Hilary Krane, General Counsel and Senior VP for Corporate Affairs, Levi Strauss & Co.

    Vore Gana Seck, Director of Green Senegal

    Constance Okollet, Farmer and Chairperson of the Osukura United Women Network, Uganda

    Sharon Hanshaw, Executive Director of Coastal Women for Change, in Biloxi, Mississippi

    Marisa Macavillaca, Farmer and Leader of a National Indigenous Women’s Organization, FEMUCARINAP, Peru

    Claudine Schneider, former U.S. Member of Congress (RI)

    Phaedra Ellis, Chief Executive Officer, Green for All

    Jane Raybould, Vice President, Nebraska Democratic Women’s Caucus

    Deb Fikes, Executive Advisor, World Evangelical Alliance

    Nicki Micheaux, Actress, Lincoln Heights

    Thao Nguyen, Musician

    Danielle Carrig, Senior Vice President, Advocacy and Public Affairs, Lifetime Networks

    Stella Adams, First Vice Chair, North Carolina Democratic Party

    WHEN: Monday, March 8, 2010, 6:30-8:30pm

    WHERE:

    The Newseum

    555 Pennsylvania Ave NW, 6th Street Entrance

    Washington, DC 20001

    WHY: Although climate change affects our entire planet, it has a disproportionate impact on people in poor communities, and it’s hitting women hardest. Oxfam’s Sisters on the Planet initiative unites prominent, well-connected American women from sectors spanning government, business, non-profit, faith, entertainment, and philanthropy to amplify the voices of millions of women worldwide who are adversely affected by climate change. A number of influential women have signed up as "Ambassadors for Sisters on the Planet," including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Anna Eshoo; Rep. Barbara Lee; Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep. Allyson Schwartz, Rep. Diane Watson, Rep. Susan Davis; Nobel Laureate Jody Williams; author Frances Moore Lappé, and Actress Joy Bryant.

    NOTE: To RSVP, set up one-on-one interviews, or to receive a full schedule and list of speakers and participants, please use contact information above.

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    Oxfam America is an international relief and development organization that creates lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and injustice. Please visit oxfamamerica.org/sisters to learn more about Oxfam America’ Sisters on the Planet initiative.

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kelly Ceballos
    February 25, 2010 202-263-1331


    U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE REJECTS GEORGIA'S VOTER VERIFICATION SYSTEM
    League of Women Voters of Georgia and League of Women Voters of the United States Applaud the Action

    Washington, DC - The League of Women Voters of Georgia and the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVGA & LWVUS) applaud the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) decision to reject the Georgia law that requires citizens to show photo identification in order to vote. The decision by DOJ reinforces the need for the State of Georgia to demonstrate that the voter registration verification program they want to institute has neither a discriminatory purpose nor a discriminatory effect. 

    Georgia’s State Legislature enacted SB 86 in 2009, which was to go into effect on January 1, 2010.  Since the state is required under federal law to meet the requirements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, any laws or action instituted must be reviewed and approved by DOJ. 

    “Voting is a fundamental right in our democracy, and we applaud the U. S. Department of Justice for working to ensure access to full participation is not restricted,” said Mary G. Wilson, president of the League of Women Voters of the U.S.  “Enforcement of the federal Voting Rights Act by DOJ will stop efforts to disenfranchise eligible voters from participating in the democratic process and protect citizens.”

    “This decision shows that U.S. Department of Justice agrees that the state of Georgia has a problem with ensuring access and has jeopardized the voting rights of its citizens. The focus of Georgia’s Secretary of State should be on access and not suppression of voting,” said Tracey Nelson, Executive Director of LWVGA.

    Nelson also added, “The right to vote - and to have your vote counted - is the most important civil right we have. Photo ID requirements are one of the greatest threats to fair and equal voting rights today. The government should be in the business of encouraging full participation of our citizenry, not developing ways to limit the right to vote.” 

    “The League of Women Voters will continue to fight against barriers to voting and work to ensure that all citizens have fair and equal access to the polls,” concluded Nelson.

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  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Martha Patzer
    February 11, 2010

    American Institution Turns 90

    League of Women Voters Celebrates Milestone Birthday

    Washington, D.C. – The League of Women Voters celebrates its 90th birthday on Sunday, February 14th. Known widely for its voter education efforts, this non-partisan, government watchdog group has been an American institution since 1920.

    "More than 850 state and local Leagues across the country will celebrate this milestone birthday throughout 2010," said Mary G. Wilson, national president of the League of Women Voters. "But most importantly, we’ll be doing what we always do: discussing the important issues, challenging the status quo and demanding accountability."

    In 1920, after a 72-year struggle, and when passage of the 19th amendment appeared to be imminent, members of the National American Woman Suffrage Association met to form the League of Women Voters. Carrie Chapman Catt first proposed the creation of a League to "finish the fight" and to work to end all discrimination against women. While initially concerned with the status and rights of women, the League of Women Voters gradually expanded its interests to include issues affecting the whole community. Today, the League works to effect change on a variety of issues including health care, climate change, election and campaign finance reforms, land use and education.

    "The women who fought for voting rights in the first part of the 20th century did not know if they would be successful," Wilson continued. "And yet they persevered – changing our democracy and society. Today we are equally committed to improving our democracy at all levels, making sure it represents the common good—not special interests and big money."

    "Because of our long-standing nonpartisan and unbiased approach to educating voters and reforming governmental systems, the League is a well-known and highly credible voice on reforms that affect the public. National polling data continues to show that the League of Women Voters is the most-trusted independent validator that proposed reforms are in the public interest."

    "Membership in the League is open to men and women of all ages," Wilson continued. "We have members that have been League activists for over 50 years and members who have just joined – inspired by a particular issue or after attending an event. If a particular issue attracts new members, they will keep coming back after meeting the wonderful people who are similarly dedicated to change in their communities.

    "For the last 90 years, the League of Women Voters has left its footprint on American history, and our democracy is stronger for it," Wilson concluded. "We look forward to continuing this work over the next 90 years."

    For more information, visit the League online at www.lwv.org and www.facebook.com/leagueofwomenvoters.


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    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kelly Ceballos
    February 3, 2010 202-263-1331


    “DOING NOTHING NOT AN OPTION"
    CONGRESS MUST ACT QUICKLY IN AFTERMATH OF CITIZENS UNITED DECISION

    Washington, D.C. – The League of Women Voters today testified before the Committee on House Administration in a hearing entitled Defining the Future of Campaign Finance in an Age of Supreme Court Activism. At the U.S. congressional hearing, Mary G. Wilson, the national League president, told committee members that they must pass legislation governing corporate and union spending quickly, in order for it to take effect for the 2010 elections.

    “The Court’s majority decision in Citizens United v. FEC was fundamentally wrong and a tragic mistake. But this is the decision of the Court,” said Wilson. “Congress needs to respond now, recognizing its own authority and responsibility to uphold the Constitution. Fair and clean elections, determined by the votes of American citizens, should be at the center of our democracy.”

    “The Court’s decision in Citizens United upends basic campaign finance law that has been in place for a century. It changes the foundation on which decades of congressional enactments on money in elections are built. Such a fundamental change requires a strong response from Congress and the Executive.” 

    The League supports numerous concepts moving forward in this post-Citizens United context; however, Wilson stressed the urgency in doing something now. “After Citizens United, we urgently need enhanced disclosure. This is the most basic step toward protecting the role of the voter in making decisions in elections,” stated Wilson. “It is now possible for corporations to secretly provide funds that another corporation uses to intervene in an election through independent expenditures. This is not acceptable. The League of Women Voters supports strong disclosure requirements for both those who receive election funds and those who provide such funds.”

    “After providing enhanced disclosure, the next most important step for Congress is to do no further harm. A decision as far-reaching in its implications as Citizens United will provoke a number of proposals that, we believe, could make our election system and government processes even worse,” Wilson argued. “We need fair elections, not greater involvement of big money in elections and government. Each of these steps – such as altering contribution limits to candidates and PACs or allowing corporation and unions to once again donate huge sums to political parties – would increase corruption or the appearance of corruption and further distort our political processes.”

    Wilson pointed to a number of other proposals – from new controls on foreign corporations to public financing – that Congress should consider in seeking to block corruption of American democracy.

    Reporters may contact Kelly Ceballos (
    kceballos@lwv.org or 202-263-1331) to set up media interviews with President Mary Wilson.

    ##


    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kelly Ceballos
    January 27, 2010 202-263-1331

    CONGRESS MUST FINISH HEALTH CARE LEGISLATION
    League Urges Quick Response to Nation's Health Care Crisis

    Washington, DC –The following is a statement by Mary G. Wilson, national president of the League of Women Voters, on the fight for health care reform legislation in America.

    “We have a health care crisis in America.  Too many citizens lack adequate health insurance coverage and rising costs threaten everyone.  The failure of Congress to act on these issues over decades has simply compounded the problems and undermined faith in government. 

    “The League of Women Voters urges our elected members of Congress to finish work on health care reform and send a bill quickly to the President for his signature.  While many of the provisions of the House bill are preferable to those in the Senate version, we believe that the House of Representatives should step forward and pass the Senate bill.

    “Both the House and Senate have now passed comprehensive health care legislation, and the bills share many essential elements:  they greatly expand health care coverage to include millions more Americans; they protect the coverage that currently delivers care to most; they contain essential elements to reduce costs over the long term; and they accomplish these goals at a reasonable cost. 

    “Opponents of health care reform, however, have been irresponsible in adopting a strategy of fear, delay and obfuscation.  They have misled and lied about the provisions of the legislation and have relied on the 60-vote rule of the Senate to block progress.  These fundamentally anti-democratic tactics cannot be allowed to prevail. 

    “Medicare was enacted over strong opposition from those who opposed “socialized medicine.”  Social Security was adopted despite loud and prolonged complaints.  Yet, both these systems are now sacrosanct.  Many other accomplishments, from civil rights to environmental protection, were controversial when first adopted but have proven to be critical steps forward.  Health care reform is part of that tradition. 

    “We understand that there may be a number of ways for health care reform to succeed.  None of these possibilities will accomplish all that needs to be done, and Congress will need to revisit many issues in coming years.  But any of these alternatives moves us toward successful health care reform and thus is better than the status quo.  Congress should not miss this historic opportunity to enact comprehensive health care reform legislation.”

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    The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

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