Upholding its long tradition, the League of Women Voters of Bucks County (LWVBC) has begun work on nonpartisan candidate forums ahead of the General Election on November 6. Six forums are currently planned in October for voters of Pennsylvania's 1st Congressional District, the 6th and 10th Pennsylvania State Senate Districts and the 143rd and 144th Pennsylvania House of Representatives Districts. Candidates running in those districts have received invitations and many have already committed to participate.
Judith Clarke, who recently stepped down after 15 years of coordinating candidate forums for LWVBC and who has moderated forums for 12 of those years, noted that "The League of Women Voters never supports nor opposes any candidate and insures that its' forums are conducted civilly. All candidates are given exactly the same questions and amount of time to present their positions on the issues so that voters are able to choose candidates they feel would best represent them." Trained League members living outside the legislative district in question moderate the League forums, adding another measure of impartiality. LWVBC member Connie Borichevsky, who has served as a moderator for more than fifteen years said, "Our candidate forums and debates are always nonpartisan. Questions are never given to candidates ahead of time and questions submitted by the audience are screened by League members for relevance, duplication and propriety." Other forum rules that encourage civility and nonpartisanship include requiring the audience to refrain from applause and outbursts and not allowing campaign or partisan material, posters, etc. to be displayed during the forum. Videotaping by the audience is not allowed, to reduce the risk of candidates' comments being taken out of context and misused.
Currently the LWVBC, one of more than 700 state and local leagues, is the second largest chapter in Pennsylvania. While working locally, the LWVBC is a chapter of the state and national League of Women Voters. Several members of the local League are headed to Chicago for the League of Women Voters' 53rd National Convention to be held June 28 to July 1. Men and women in Bucks County over the age of sixteen are welcome to join the League.
Please contact the League with any questions about this forum at (215) 230-9986 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Our League members in Bucks County are some of the most dedicated and committed individuals I know," said League co-president Peggy Dator. "They give countless hours to serving Bucks County each year engaging in a myriad of tasks to help ensure that our community is healthy, vibrant and strong. Their work has led to freer and fairer elections as well as a deeper understanding of the issues that impact our community, Pennsylvania and the nation."
The League is full of wonderful volunteers; volunteers who dedicate themselves to monitoring our government and making sure Bucks County voters have access to as much information as possible. One such dedicated volunteer is Sandra Karlberg. She has helped with production of the Voters Guide since 2008, coordinating the many League volunteers who put countless hours into preparing Guides for the public prior to the primary and general elections. Information is requested of all candidates. Candidate submitted biographies and questionnaire answers must then be typed and assembled; the finished product posted two weeks before the election "Voter participation increases when information about candidates is readily available," said League co-president Jan Hendershot, "With the help of many volunteers like Sandra, we are able to continue this service for Bucks County voters."
As a powerful national network that includes more than 750 state and local chapters across 50 states, the League of Women Voters empowers people every day to tackle the most important issues facing our communities and to improve local, state and federal government. "We could not have the impact that we do at the local, state and national levels without the hard work of our volunteers. I am extremely grateful for the efforts of our dedicated local volunteers and would welcome other members of the community to join us," added co-president Peggy Dator.
Membership in the League is open anyone age 16 and older. For more information about the League (including how to join) and to view the Primary Election Voters Guide, visit http://www.lwvbucks.org. The League's next event will be held on Wednesday, May 2nd
The program runs from 10:30 AM until noon, and ample time will be allowed for the public to ask questions of the speakers. Following a brief question and answer period, attendees can visit tables staffed by the speakers and gather information about local environmental issues and advocacy work being done on issues of concern.
Russ Zerbo, Advocacy Coordinator for the Clean Air Council, will represent this organization founded over fifty years ago. Lise Baxter of POWA-Protect Our Water & Air will share the experiences and continued work by this group of citizens who are fighting the location of a hazardous waste plant by Elcon in lower Bucks County. Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, will discuss the work now in its thirtieth year, of making the Delaware River and its tributary streams free-flowing, clean and healthy. Dave Meiser of Bucks Environmental Action (BEA) and Sierra Club will address the multiple contaminated sites across Bucks County. Water contamination by firefighting foam used at the Johnsville and Willow Grove Naval Air Stations will be the subject of Donna Elms' presentation. Elms is a member of the Warminster Environmental Advisory Council, the BEA, and Penn Environment.
Based on studies and consensus meetings of the now more than 700 local League chapters, state and the national League of Women Voters arrived at the following position on natural resources. The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that natural resources should be managed as interrelated parts of life-supporting ecosystems. Resources should be conserved and protected to assure their future availability. Pollution of these resources should be controlled in order to preserve the physical, chemical and biological integrity of ecosystems and to protect public health. League of Women Voters' complete position is available here - Impact on Issues 2016-2018 Natural Resources.
The public is invited to this free Environmental Expo on Saturday, May 5th to learn about the current state of our environment.
The program will be offered again on Wed. March 28 at 6:30 PM at Warminster Township Free Library, in conjunction with the library.
People interested in having the program presented to organizations they belong to are encouraged to contact the League at 215-230-9986 or email@example.com
"Ninety-eight years after the League's founding, members of the League in Bucks County are proud of the great progress it has made empowering voters and defending our democracy," said Peggy Dator and Jan Hendershot, co-presidents of the League of Women Voters of Bucks County. "The League in Bucks County has promoted civic engagement in countless ways, including voter registration, voter education and facilitating and moderating candidate forums for local and state offices.
Today's barriers to the ballot certainly look different than they did when the League was founded nearly a century ago, but they remain threats to the political franchise at all levels of our government all the same," Hendershot said. "Our efforts to protect the power of the vote continue today with advocacy and education about nonpartisan, independent redistricting processes and advocacy for voting machines that are secure and accurate."
"We continue, as we have for decades, to provide educational opportunities for our members and the public in Bucks County to learn about issues that affect us as a county and a state," Dator said. "Natural resources, education, child health and welfare, voting rights, fiscal policy and criminal justice are just some of the issues we have engaged with. Meanwhile, the national League has played widely acclaimed roles in nationwide efforts, including the creation of the United Nations and the protection of our civil liberties from the 1950s on.
"As we look to a vibrant future, we're excited by the fact that we are seeing growth in our membership and that our dedicated members in Bucks County are energized and excited about expanding our efforts into the future" said Dator. "Together, we will continue to fight for the individual voter and ensure that our elections are fair, free and accessible. The League's historic commitment to register, educate and mobilize voters is not only stronger, but more effective than ever, utilizing such tools as VOTE411.org, a cutting-edge election information website utilized by millions of voters each election cycle."
"Today, as we mark the League's 98th anniversary, and see our 100th birthday quickly approaching, we celebrate our many accomplishments," concluded Hendershot. "League members throughout Bucks County are as committed as ever to work for a free, fair and accessible system for all eligible voters; continuing the campaign to make democracy work."
A special thanks to the First National Bank & Trust Company of Newtown for again donating the printing costs for this publication.
Contestants will create 30 second video Public Service Announcements that answer the question "What makes democracy work?" and that invite participation in every election and encourage attention to local, less-publicized races.
There are no limits to the number of students on a team, nor the number of teams that may enter per school
The top prize will be $1,000. Contest submissions must be uploaded to YouTube and forms received by email before midnight, March 1, 2018.
More information about the contest, as well as access to past winning videos, is available at the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania website http://www.palwv.org/events/videocontest/ .
Questions can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
There is also a local Bucks County group already formed. Follow their activities on their Facebook page
One of the speakers, Cheryl Peterson-Jacquez, was once an inmate but now helps other women who struggle with addiction and re-entry.
When she tried that first line of cocaine, at the age of 42, she was married, a mother of two sons, and was employed as an accountant. After a while she started selling crack cocaine to fund her habit, she was arrested for possession for intent to deliver and received a 3 to 6 year state prison sentence.
After serving 2 years in prison, Peterson-Jacquez was selected as one of 2 females to start a work release program for state female inmates . Not only did Peterson-Jacquez "learn her lesson" while incarcerated she also witnessed first hand the number of women who received very little support, are under educated and have experienced various forms of trauma. Many of these women have really struggled to remain in recovery or to stay out of prison. After 9 years in sobriety she found herself with a heartfelt experience -driven desire to help women in addiction and/or in prison who are struggling to recover or stay out of prison.
Approximately 8 months ago Peterson-Jacquez created and directs a mentoring program inside the York County Prison and within her community. To date, approximately 65 women have voluntarily participated in the program. There are plans to expand the program to an easily accessible location within her community in the very near future. The goal is to include free employment clothing and workshops, GED studies and tutoring, yoga, meditation, general computer skills, community service and art therapy.
Cheryl Peterson-Jacquez believes that the difference between relapse or re-offending and a successful future can come down to having one person who believes in you.
We anticipate several other speakers joining Ms. Peterson-Jacquez as well.
In addition to teaching and research, Professor Appel produced a TEDx presentation in April 2016 entitled Internet Voting? Really? . He also testified before the House Subcommittee on Information Technology hearing on "Cybersecurity: Ensuring the Integrity of the Ballot Box" on September 28, 2016. Appel was invited to participate in a panel discussion, along with other computer scientists with expertise on election voting data security at the second meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in New Hampshire on September 12, 2017.
Prior to joining the Commonwealth, Ms. Schneider was a Senior Attorney at Advancement Project, a national, non-partisan, non-profit civil rights and racial justice organization based in Washington, DC. She served as the lead attorney in Advancement Project's Voter Protection Program in Pennsylvania and Virginia working to remove barriers to voting for voters of color. Ms. Schneider has been working on election and voting rights issues since 2005.
This presentation will take place in the Gallagher Room of the Charles E. Rollins Center . There is no charge for admission however registration is required. Visit the College's website to register.
The League of Women Voters of Bucks County and Fair Districts PA + Bucks are hosting Reclaim Our Democracy: A Discussion on Gerrymandering with former Congressman Jim Greenwood and Fair Districts PA Wednesday, September 20 at 7 p.m. in the Community Room of Wesley Enhanced Living Doylestown, 200 Veterans Lane, Doylestown, PA.
This will be a rare and engaging opportunity to hear from one of Bucks County's respected elected officials on an issue which he and many consider to be one of the most crucial issues facing our government and democracy. Six-term GOP Congressman Jim Greenwood represented the 8th Congressional District of Pennsylvania in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2005. Prior to his election to Congress, Greenwood served six years in the Pennsylvania General Assembly (1981-86) and six years in the Pennsylvania Senate (1987-1992). Greenwood is currently President and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) in Washington, DC.
Greenwood will be joined by a representative of Fair Districts PA, a non-partisan volunteer organization working to pass an amendment to the Pennsylvania constitution to end gerrymandering. Ardith Talbott of Fair Districts PA will explain the current status of the proposed constitutional amendment, how redistricting would be done under the new system, and the timeline of what legislators and citizens must do to pass the constitutional amendment before the 2020 redistricting cycle.
Fair Districts PA + Bucks is one of dozens of local chapters that have organized across Pennsylvania to advocate and educate about the measures Fair Districts Pa supports in order to stop partisan gerrymandering in Pennsylvania by 2021. For more information, visit Fair Districts or facebook FD.
The League of Women Voters of Buck County is a non-partisan political organization dedicated to encouraging informed and active participation in government. Membership is open to men and women sixteen and older. For more information, call 215-230-9986 or email email@example.com.
League leaders will participate in regular radio segments to discuss voting rights, public policy issues and advocacy.
"The League looks forward to reaching a diverse new audience of listeners across the country," said Chris Carson, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States. "The Labor community has a strong record in elections and we embrace the opportunity to have thoughtful discussions about issues that impact American voters."
The Union Edge is a 4 hour daily live radio program out of Pittsburgh, PA, syndicated on 33 stations nationwide, and available by webstream, mobile apps, and podcast. You can download the free app at http://www.theunionedge.com.
"We are excited to partner with the League of Women Voters for their strong commitment to voter engagement, voter protection and education," said Charles Showalter, host and founder of The Union Edge. "Union members are Democrats, Republicans and Independents; all should have the unimpeded chance to vote their conscience. As a non-partisan organization, the League always brings a fresh perspective on the critical issues facing working people across the country."
The League segments will start January 3rd and air every first and third Tuesday of the month at 1:30pm ET/ 10:30 am PT.