Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.

From the State President

I write this from outside Washington, DC where Judie Gorenstein (VP, Voter Services) and I are among the 1 or 2 delegates from each of 42 (!) states – from Alaska to Florida – that are here for the LWVUS Council. The whole 3-day event is devoted to transforming the League for our next century and builds on conversations started at Convention 2016 and continued at the Pocantico conference in January which involved 30 LWV members and staff (including Laura Bierman, Jane Park, and me from NY).

Judie and I talked non-stop on the drive down about our state Convention and the forward-looking themes it embodied and about the issues local Leagues as well as the state League are dealing with. We still have many topics left for the drive home and will be eager to share with you many of the insights we’ll glean here this weekend. The agenda is packed.

Meanwhile we are both so grateful to all of you who managed to get to Liverpool (Syracuse) earlier this month for the state Convention.  An evaluation form was sent to you recently and we hope you’ll respond. We always want to know how well we met your needs and what we can do better or just differently next time.

I could only attend the workshops that I was helping present, but the discussions that I heard there and in caucuses were very lively and always thoughtful, even when you had serious concerns to share. We know that hearing from one another is what you most love about Convention, so I hope you had plenty of opportunities for that and got many new ideas.

I also hope you enjoyed Sally Roesch-Wagner’s speech about dangerous women, about the influence of the Native American’s matriarchal culture on the suffragists, and about Matilda Joslyn Gage, who gets way too little credit for her brilliant contributions to the movement. We thank Humanities NY for sponsoring a talk that was full of surprises and challenges to us today.

The new board met only briefly after the Convention closed, with too little time to review all the “directions to the board,” but these will be the topic of our July meeting. We will consider all of them and share our responses as soon as possible.

Many of us went to Seneca Falls the day before Convention and were incensed that recent federal funding cuts made some spaces less accessible to us (and in this important year, no less) but I’m hearing that the inspirational comments by Elizabeth Cady Stanton (Melinda Grube) really eased the blow and I’ve let her know how much many of you said you appreciated her. She donated personal time to sit and answer questions with each table during our good dinner at the beautifully restored Gould Hotel, and I think she enjoyed it as much as many of you did.

We are also grateful to our very warm and engaging organizer and tour guide, Lynn “Spike” Herzig, and we’ve made him a member of the Geneva LWV in appreciation. I also know we were all interested to hear from Katie MacIntyre that the first president of our trip’s sponsor, Generations Bank, was a signer of the Declaration of Sentiments presented at the 1848 Convention there in Seneca Falls by Stanton et al. We thank Generations Bank for their good support of a great warm-up for our Convention.

I’m falling in love with Seneca Falls and will be heading back there for Convention Days July 14-16 which has an amazing assortment of lectures and other presentations. Melinda (Elizabeth Cady Stanton) says that the Frederick Douglass whom they’re bringing in from some distance away is especially impressive – come see her interact with him. And no, he’s NOT still alive – it’s reenactor Nathan Richardson. Let me know if YOU’ will be there. I’ll look for you.


Dare Thompson, President
League of Women Voters of NYS
darethompson@gmail.com; Tel: 518-465-4162
Facebook: League of Women Voters of NYS
Twitter: @LWVNYS

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