Climate Change Resolution, Living Wage Concurrence, Economic Inequality Study, Health Care national single payer campaign …our delegates to the LWVUS Convention in Dallas led caucuses, spoke often and eloquently on the floor during plenary sessions and strategized on effective action for five strenuous days. Delegates Janice Blumenkrantz, Diz Swift and Carol Stone collaborated with Delaware and other Leagues on getting a Climate Change resolution adopted; Li-hsia Wang caucused and planned for future action on League’s single payer position and Pat Kuhi and Nancy Bickel waged a strenuous fight to bring two proposals to the floor on Living Wage and Economic Inequality.
Energy was high, with a floor fight for the LWVUS presidency, a new position on human trafficking, a 3-part study and action plan to Power the Vote, a strong statement on climate change and some remarkable speakers.
Fight for the Presidency: LWV Florida President Deirdre MacNab challenged Elisabeth McNamara for the job of LWV president. Such challenges from the floor are rare events; generally, the nominating committee does a very systematic search and the recommended slate is elected. MacNab criticized the League decline in membership and pointed to the dramatic growth in membership in Florida and their vigorous challenge to the state’s voter suppression efforts. MacNab got lots of press attention for these fights—including an appearance on Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show.”
The nominating committee proposed MacNamara to serve a third two year term as president and MacNab to serve on the national board, a recognized stepping stone to president. MacNab resigned from the national board slate, choosing instead to run for president.
As MacNab’s campaign heated up in late spring, her supporters, including former US representative Pat Schroeder, now on the LWV-Florida board, and various state league presidents, sent frequent emails to delegates and invited them to on-line meetings to interact with their candidate.
The chair of the LWVUS nominating committee and others responded with support for MacNamara, pointing out that Florida’s member growth and legal challenges were heavily supported by national staff, board and programs. MacNamara has brought the League wider press attention as well, for example, with her regular column in the on-line Huffington Post.
A one hour debate at convention was followed by a secret ballot with MacNamara coming out on top. Amid enthusiastic applause, the two candidates embraced on the podium, but left us wondering whether McNab’s energy and eloquence will be harnessed in some way by the national League.
Concurrence with the Human Trafficking position of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey was recommended by the board and adopted by the delegates. It is: “We consider human trafficking to be a form of modern day slavery and believe that every measure should be taken and every effort should be made through legislation and changes in public policy to prevent human trafficking. Prosecution and penalization of traffickers and abusers should be established, and existing laws should be strictly enforced. Extensive essential services for victims should be applied where needed. Education and awareness programs on human trafficking should be established in our communities and in our schools”.
Power the Vote: As part of the League’s ongoing Power the Vote effort delegates adopted a three-part program focusing on key structures of American democracy, including campaign finance reform, the constitutional amendment process, and redistricting reform for the U.S. Congress. This will be carried out by task forces drawn from the League membership. The study of the constitutional amendment process will fill a gap in League positions and information and will enable the League to report and respond to the varying proposals around the country to start a movement for a constitutional amendment to control money in politics by, for example, saying that corporations are not people or money is not speech.
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