President's Message Jan 2018

President's Message

Have you made a resolution for 2018?
The League has ideas for your consideration...

 

Madhu Sridhar, LWV San Antonio president 2017By MADHU SRIDHAR

First and foremost, I wish each of you a very happy 2018. A new year marks a new beginning. It is a time to make resolutions for self-betterment, finding time for causes you care about and giving back to society.

As we usher in 2018 with the holiday season behind us and the election primaries merely nine weeks away, do I dare guess if taking the time to vote in elections this year made it onto anyone’s list of resolutions. Of course, I am talking about non-Leaguers. I often wonder what combination of admonition and enticement will get folks not only to register to vote but actually turn out on Election Day.

If the lifeblood of democracy is participation, our political system is in critical condition, especially in Texas with an embarrassingly low turnout. As we look ahead, we have before us a tremendous challenge and a tremendous opportunity. The challenge is to break through the apathy and the anger to let people know their votes matter. The opportunity is to mobilize an electorate that is larger, more diverse and more representative of the city than ever before.

To meet this challenge and capitalize on this opportunity, we need YOU.

Now I ask you the Leaguers: Did volunteering for the League Board or committees get on your list of resolutions?

The League needs you because in this politically charged and divisive environment pervasive with lack of trust and respect (remember the not-so-civil discourse at the last Texas legislative session), the nonpartisan League plays an important and critical role.

We not only empower voters by providing information needed to make choices at election time   by publishing the Voters Guide, we educate them about their voting rights and responsibilities, keep them posted about important election dates and much more. We hold candidate debates giving citizens the opportunity to ask questions directly to the candidates running for elected office. The League is also engaging citizens in a dialogue on major public policy issues of concern to the community by holding forums throughout the year with experts in their field.

All this is done with the help of volunteer board and volunteer committees. We have seasoned experts on major is-

 

The Nominating Committee is holding an informational meeting on Jan. 20.  For information, click here.

sues and we also have rookies who learn fast and are getting ready to take the League to the next hundred years. We work together and learn from each other. There is work that can be done from home, thanks to technology. We hold meetings via conference call when feasible. Most of all, we have fun and build long-lasting friendships to engage in stimulating discussions on issues that matter.

The Nominating Committee is especially seeking expertise in social media, website, graphic design, database, digital marketing etc. We need your creative talent to write advocacy letters, public service announcements and op-eds. You can give as little or as much time as you want. Tell us your expertise and we will use it to advance the League’s mission of creating informed citizenry, better communities and a healthy democracy.

The Nominating Committee is searching for YOU if you are a member of the League of Women Voters. So check your search engines, set your sights on the year 2018 and get on board. Don’t sit on the sidelines and hope things will change with someone else doing the work. As Gandhi said, “Be the change that you want to see.”

Eleanor Roosevelt, one of our country’s greatest first ladies, served on the League Board. As the League’s Vice President of Legislative Affairs, she lobbied for reforms in Congress and worked tirelessly to strengthen women’s role in politics, helping mobilize women voters through the League’s nonpartisan training and lobbying work.

“I’ve always found that the best workers in a political party frequently are graduates of the League of Women Voters,” she wrote in 1953. “Members learn how to find out what they really want to know on a wide variety of subjects. The League…trains good citizens who have a sense of responsibility about what goes on in their locality, in their state and in their nation.”

Even after she resigned as League Vice President in 1924, she remained an active League member and continued to promote the League’s platforms and ideals, including regularly writing for the League of Women Voters of New York’s newsletter.

Many League board members all across the country ran for office after serving on the board and became elected officials. Share your skill set, your bold vision and enthusiasm and help create an informed citizenry. Together, we will close the “Participation Gap.”