Monday Morning News - December 10, 2018

Informative Discussion of DWC Elections and Steering Committee at Friday's Monthly Breakfast

For those of you who missed our monthly breakfast on Friday, the Steering Committee led an informative discussion on how the Steering Committee is organized and does its work, the DWC election process, and the offices that are open for the upcoming two- year terms. We include a brief recap here and encourage any of you who might be interested in running for the Steering Committee to send an email todwcannouncements@gmail.com as soon as possible so the nominating committee can begin formulating the slate for elections at our monthly breakfast meeting on Friday, January 4th. If you have questions about anything discussed at the meeting or in this newsletter, please contact Amy Swain amyswain1@gmail.com or any of the other Steering Committee members--we would be happy to help.

We began by explaining that the Steering Committee is the "board" of the DWC which sets the strategic direction of the organization and ensures that it is fulfilling its mission to Fund, Inspire, Recruit, Support and Train progressive Democratic women to run for election. In addition, as a Political Action Committee, the DWC raises funds to support its operations and fund endorsed candidates. The Steering Committee manages these obligations via monthly Saturday morning meetings, and through committees. The committees include the following:

Communications (manages the website, social media and the Monday Morning News weekly newsletter)

Endorsement (runs the process of preparing candidates interested in running for office for possible endorsement by the DWC)

Membership (steers the DWC's efforts to expand and diversify its membership)

Fundraising (spearheads the organization's fundraising efforts, including planning the annual fundraiser and other events with a fundraising component)

Nominating (prepares the slate for annual elections)

Programs (organizes the topics for monthly Friday breakfasts and plans other events and meetings)

Training (plans training programs put on by the DWC)

Steering Committee members who serve on several committees spoke about what it involves. Please note that many committees include DWC members who are not on the Steering Committee. So if any of these committees sound like they are right up your alley, please email dwcannouncements@gmail.com and let us know. We'd love to have more people involved!

We then discussed elections. There are four officers of the Steering Committee--Chair, Secretary, Vice Chair and Treasurer. Chair and Secretary are elected in even numbered years. Vice Chair and Treasurer are elected in odd numbered years. Every year, we also elect five at-large members of the DWC to serve two-year terms. So in January, we will elect a Chair, a Secretary and five at-large members. Several current Steering Committee members and other DWC members had already nominated themselves prior to Friday's breakfast, but at the breakfast, we took additional nominations from the floor. We are very pleased that a number of women are interested in serving on the Steering Committee and we hope any others with an interest will email us so we can make sure you are part of the nominating process. Between now and the election at the first monthly breakfast meeting in January, the nominating committee will contact all nominated candidates to make sure they understand what serving on the Steering Committee involves and to assess their interest in running for either of the offices, before recommending a slate for the election.

Our final topic of discussion was the endorsement process.  Our process for endorsing candidates can always be improved, and in fact, it has been formally re-evaluated five times since 2005, shortly after the DWC was founded. After this year's election, which featured a record number of DWC endorsed and supported candidates, we decided it was time once again to review the process. We interviewed all of the 2018 endorsed and supported candidates to get their thoughts on the experience. But we also want to hear the views of the general membership on this important topic. To that end, the Steering Committee posed the following questions and asked members at the breakfast to write down their responses. We would like any of you who could not attend the breakfast to have the same opportunity, so we include the questions below. 

Please email your answers to dwcannouncements@gmail.com by Wednesday, December 12.

We will review all comments we receive and consider them at our December Steering Committee meeting as we work to make our endorsement process better.

Big Question: Should the DWC PAC continue to endorse? If so, what should we improve? If not, should we redirect efforts to training, or create a new way to support candidates?

____ Yes, with some improvements

____ Yes, with major changes

____ No, it's not effective

____ No, we should try something new

____ I don't know

1. Reflect on why we endorse. Why have we endorsed candidates in the past? To what purpose? Does that purpose continue to have relevance today? If so, how do you think our endorsement process should change to reflect the current situation?

2. If we decide to continue to offer endorsements, on what basis/criteria should we do so?

3. How, or on what basis, should we distribute funding to candidates?

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Monday Morning News 11/26/18

After the frenetic pace of the last three or four months, with issues of the Monday Morning News featuring long lists of fundraisers, candidate forums, and opportunities to volunteer, the post-election political scene feels strangely quiet. And yet we know that just as farmers use the winter months to fix farm machinery and plan for the coming spring, now is the time to look ahead to 2019 and 2020 and to continue the work of repairing and strengthening the foundation of American democracy: the vote. From putting the teeth back in the Voting Rights Act and fighting voter suppression, to demanding redistricting reform, to ensuring the security and integrity of voting equipment and systems, we have our work cut out for us. But this year’s elections, even when they didn’t yield the results we hoped for, showed that the American people are awake and ready to fight for a country that stands for opportunity and justice for all its citizens. Together, in the words of Rosie the Riveter, we can do it!

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Monday Morning News 11/19/18

“Hatred only breeds more hate and darkness in our heart
May we find compassion in a world so torn apart
A symphony of what could be says this is where we start.
We are not enemies there is no good in that
There are better angels that surround us all
And we’ll find a way through all our differences
Hear the better angels listen to their call.”
From “Better Angels” from the new Barbra Streisand album “Walls”
song written by Jay Landers, Jonas Myrin and Carole Bayer Sager

In the months leading up to the Nov. 6 Election and in the week or so since we have heard many calls for “civility”, “legality” and “compromise”… nice words, democratic words… The problem is that for many of the people who are promoting them “civility” means stifle your own voice so that ours can be heard, “legality” means following laws that are discriminatory and “compromise” means change your views so that you agree with us. This is true on both sides of the political spectrum… but it is by far more true on the right. If our nation is to survive, this is something that must be changed.
For our nation to be at it’s strongest, we need everyone to be engaged, we need all voices to be heard and respected. That doesn’t mean that we must all agree… it means that we must learn to disagree productively. It means moving away from politics based on fear of the other and towards policies that benefit everyone overall; from voting based on party to voting based on candidates and the issues; from directives based on “me” to decisions based on “me too.”
As Jill Long Thompson put it in a recent editorial in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:
“For our nation to be its strongest, we need everyone to be engaged. When children look at Congress today, they see both men and women leading. That can help them recognize their own potential, as well as the potential and strengths of others. The more we help children realize their potential, the greater the chance they will become productive, contributing members of a democratic society.”
and:
“Research shows that increased diversity, including gender diversity, can lead to better overall decision-making and leadership. Although people are generally more comfortable spending time with others who are like them, we are more likely to generate new ideas when we are part of a diverse group.”
When Congress convenes in January, one fourth of the members will be women and it will be a more diverse groups in regards to class, sex, race and gender identity. Sadly, the Ninth District will not be represented by a woman who I believe would have been a champion of the ideals put forth above, Indiana still has a long way to go towards achieving this goal. Yet, as we approach the end of this year let us give thanks for the progress we have made. The new year gives us all a chance to continue working towards a better future.

 

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Monday Morning News - November 12, 2018

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OUR ENDORSED CANDIDATES!!

Our endorsed candidates worked themselves to the bone during this election season and we are so proud of every last one of them. We weren't successful in every contest, but it was not for lack of effort, and most importantly, no one was a loser in our book!!! Politics is an unpredictable animal and the best candidate, in our humble opinion, doesn't always win. But next time--beware the female candidate with talent, persistence, campaign experience, name recognition and the backing of the DWC!

The following endorsed candidates take (or keep) office in January:

Michelle Bright, Benton Township Trustee

Nicole Brown, County Clerk

Darcie Fawcett, Monroe Circuit Court, Division 9, Seat 8

Christine Talley Haseman, Monroe Circuit Court, Division 2, Seat 2

Lee Jones, Monroe County Commissioner

Erika Oliphant, Prosecutor

Catherine Stafford, Monroe Circuit Court, Division 6, Seat 3

Kate Wiltz, County Council District 2*

Shelli Yoder, County Council District 1

*There is a recount for Kate's race of Perry 7-31 due to a ballot glitch. However, the County Clerk's office has indicated it is not expected to change the outcome of the race.

******************************************************************************************

To our other endorsed candidates: Thank you thank you thank you for stepping up and helping to change the face of elections in Monroe County to one with more female candidates than ever before. You all had tough districts to deal with and you fought the good fight. Your names are out there now and people will be watching, so don't count these fabulous women out in future races!!! 

Pam Cook, Bean Blossom Township Trustee

Rosemary Doherty, Indian Creek Township Board

Penny Githens, State Representative District 60

Beverly Himes, Indian Creek Township Trustee

Ashley Pirani, County Council District 3

Amy Swain, State Representative District 62

The DWC hosted a brunch on Tuesday--Election Day--at the Village Deli for any candidates and their supporters who could drop in. Spirits were high and attendees encouraged each other to push through to the end. There was lots of praise for our DWC  volunteers at the polls! We talked about the high voter turn out and how we had to keep printing more DWC flyers for our candidates… which was a great thing!

The DWC also hosted a lunch after the election on Friday, November 9th at Grazie to celebrate all of our candidates, poll workers and volunteers. There were about 40-50 women in attendance. It was a great way to celebrate, share stories and just be together. What an amazing election year in Monroe County, with a record turnout for a midterm election! Soooo many people pitched in to help on election day and leading up to it--you have all done the DWC and our communities proud.

And finally, a shout out to Liz Watson for her unbelievable effort to try and turn our District blue again. We can't be more heartbroken about the outcome. Liz, you have our hearts and our wallets set on your race in 2020!

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Monday Morning News 11/08/18

To everyone who worked so hard on the 2018 campaigns - to our supporters and allies...

Thank_You.jpg

Come join us in celebrating the achievements of our slate
of amazing DWC- endorsed candidates,
and to show our appreciation for their strength, determination and grit
in stepping up to run for office in 2018!

Friday, November 9, 2018
11:30am - 1:00pm
Grazie Italiano! - 106 W. 6th St., Bloomington
Menu: Pasta (with vegetarian option) and salad, $10; 2$ tip; and $5 for wine, if ordered.

Please RSVP to rguglielmo.indiana@gmail.com,
so we can get a sense of whether we need to add tables.

details on our Facebook Page

Hope to see you there!

Paid for by DWPAC - Democratic Women's Political Action Committee

Democratic Women's Caucus
http://www.democraticwomenscaucus.org/

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Monday Morning News 10/29/18

It’s breakfast time again... join us at 7:30am at the Village Deli on Friday, Nov. 2 for our final breakfast before election day. Nicole Browne will give us an update on Early Voting in Monroe County and our endorsed candidates will share their final needs for the push up to election day.

THE DWC NEEDS YOUR HELP ON ELECTION DAY!! We’ve identified the eight traditionally busiest polls on election day and need your help passing out information on our endorsed candidates on Tuesday Nov. 6. Shifts are available from 6:00am - 9:00am, 11:00am - 1:00pm, 1:00pm - 3:00pm and 4:00pm - 6:00pm. Literature will be available at Democratic Headquarters, 116 S. Madison St., for you to pick up before your shift. Sign up at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c084eaca82ca3fd0-election.

It has been a difficult week - In Kokomo a 63 year old white woman toilet papered a house and left a racist note on the door because a white family with a black son purchased the house and the thought of a black (no that’s not the word she used) child moving in next door raised her blood pressure. Bombs in the mail. Racist and antisemitic shootings in Kentucky and Pittsburgh and the president’s solution is to put an armed guard at every church, meeting place and convenience store in the country. Is this the America we want to live in?
There are just a few days left - in many cases the polls are neck and neck. If you're angry about what has been going on, channel that anger into a positive action - every voice is important, every vote counts. Let’s get this done!

your_voice_your_vote.jpg

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Monday Morning News 10/22/18

Entering week 3 of early voting in Indiana, and "Voter Central" at 7th and Madison has been doing a brisk business. Last week's note from the editor remains fresh and relevant: We've heard from the candidates and now it's time to take action at the ballot box. Make sure everyone you know gets out to vote and votes Blue in 2018. Make sure they have the correct id, know what races are included in straight party voting and which are not.... better yet, consider and vote for each candidate on their merits and avoid the confusion.

And your candidates still need help to get their message out and get out the vote. Sign up to walk with or for a candidate, join a phone bank, help with a mailer and, yes, they still need donations. Give a voter a ride to the polls or help them get to the BMV for proper id. Sign up for a voter contact shift at Early Voting or at a precinct on Election Day. Give whatever time you can spare—the dust bunnies massing under the sofa will still be there on November 7. And as Al Franken quipped so memorably at the 2016 national convention: an eight-year-old can make dinner in the microwave. And the eight-year-old can teach the four-year-old how to microwave....

There are just a few weeks left - in many cases the polls are neck and neck. If you're angry about what has been going on, channel that anger into a positive action - every voice is important, every vote counts.

 

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Monday Morning News 10/15/18

Early voting has started in Indiana! Over 2500 people have already voted in Monroe County! We've heard from the candidates and now it's time to take action at the ballot box. Make sure everyone you know gets out to vote and votes Blue in 2018. Make sure they have the correct id, know what races are included in straight party voting and which are not.... better yet, consider and vote for each candidate on their merits and avoid the confusion.

And your candidates still need help to get their message out and get out the vote. Sign up to walk with or for a candidate, join a phone bank, help with a mailer and, yes, they still need donations. Give a voter a ride to the polls or help them get to the BMV for proper id. Sign up for a voter contact shift at Early Voting or at a precinct on Election Day.

There are just a few weeks left - in many cases the polls are neck and neck. If you're angry about what has been going on, channel that anger into a positive action - every voice is important, every vote counts.

 

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Monday Morning News - October 8, 2018

Friday Breakfast: A Call to Change!

Our guest speaker at Friday's breakfast was Liz Watson, Democratic Candidate for Indiana's 9th Congressional District. Liz is taking on Tennessee Trey, who just really, really needs to go. She spent a few minutes talking about how her campaign is going and why it is so important that we have her in Congress instead of the underperforming, invisible guy we have now.

Liz first quoted Fanny Lou Hamer, who once famously said that she was "sick and tired of being sick and tired." Hear hear. Aren't we all. She then mentioned the litany of appalling things coming from Washington that erode our rights and affect our ability to live successful, healthy lives. These are issues she has spent her entire career trying to address or counteract and they are affecting all Hoosiers: immigration rights, reproductive rights for women, tax cuts for the rich, lack of childcare for working women and men, the astronomical cost of college education, lack of access to high speed broadband especially in rural areas, and hard working Hoosiers working for less and less money and fewer benefits. She wants to right the ship, and help restore an ethic where every individual is afforded respect and dignity. One thing we all know would help is, naturally, electing more women to Congress. It's just not acceptable that only 21% of the Senate and 19.3% of the House is composed of women.

Liz reminded us that there were only 32 days left until election day. Last time around, when Shelli Yoder ran against Trey, he flooded the airwaves with lies, and he is doing that again in his race against Liz. Obviously he has nothing to demonstrate about his performance in Congress, so lies it is. Liz's final comment before questions fielded by Rachel Guglielmo, was that she believes this is the election of our lifetimes and we need to get out there and make it happen.

Rachel posed a couple of questions to Liz. One was, "What has been uplifting about campaigning?" Liz said it was "people with slivers of time" knocking on doors and making phone calls. She knows how busy everyone is and people have been incredibly generous with their precious time. Her family has also been uplifting. Her daughter will come and sit on her lap while she is making calls at night to California. And her son and husband have been rocks.

Liz noted that Trey would like it if people like her didn't exist. He has received most of his $4.5 million in support from Wall Street. That's who he answers to. But we need "to answer to a whole lot of Main Street, not Wall Street." To that end, her campaign has focused partly on registering new voters. Of 35,000 new voters registered in the district, 37% of them support Liz. Now that's uplifting!

Liz's final plea was to volunteer and help her win. Victory is in sight--Liz's race is the only "Red to Blue" race in Indiana, that is, deemed likely to flip to Democrat. That is HUGE. But she needs our help in money and time to get there. There is still lots of work to be done in this last, crucial  month.

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Monday Morning News - September 10, 2018

Friday Breakfast Panel on Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Incredibly Informative

Since September is "Recovery Month", Friday's breakfast program featured a panel of women from our own local mental health treatment community who answered questions posed by Amanda Barge and DWC members in attendance. The panelists, several of whom are themselves in recovery, included:

  • Stacy Cary, Peer recovery Specialist at Centerstone
  • Jackie Daniels, Executive Director of Indiana Center for Recovery
  • Dr. Carrie Lawrence, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention at the IU School of Public Health
  • Emily Goodson, Indiana Recovery Alliance Board Member
  • Whitney Meeks, Indiana Recovery Alliance Board Member and volunteer
  • Amanda Adhami, Outpatient Counselor at Amethyst House

The panelists spoke first about two primary treatment approaches--"Harm Reduction" and "Abstinence Based Treatment."

Harm Reduction seeks to reduce the health, social and economic harm associated with drug or alcohol use, and to lessen usage of drugs or alcohol. Panelists described Harm Reduction as meeting people where they are for purposes of treatment and not where you expect them to be, focusing on positive change and the next step, embracing complexity and inclusiveness, and loving people no matter what. The Harm Reduction approach does not require abstinence. 

Abstinence Based Treatment involves the complete cessation of drug or alcohol use. Proponents of Abstinence Based Treatment are not necessarily opposed to treatment that includes the use of drugs such as vivitrol or methadone, and they are not opposed to Harm Reduction--these are all valid alternative treatment methodologies. Abstinence Based Treatment was described as empowering clients to "know that they can do this," getting at the root cause of addiction and helping clients figure out their own paths after treatment. They stressed that abstinence is used during treatment, but that it is not always necessary for people to be abstinent for the rest of their lives.

Panelists were asked about the effects of addiction and treatment specifically on women. They responded that women are often mothers and primary care-givers, and in-patient treatment poses obvious issues for them in finding help for their families while they are absent. In addition, while all individuals with mental health issues must deal with the stigma our society attaches to mental illness, women, and particularly those with children, can be subject to greater stigma. These issues do not go unrecognized in the industry. Amethyst House, for example, currently has a grant for a women-only therapy group.

A few other take-aways:

  • It is incredibly challenging to find accurate and complete data on mental health issues. It is crucial that we improve in this area or research on mental illness and advances in treatment will continue to lag behind other areas of our health system.
  • The stigma attached to mental illness and addiction is still a huge problem. We don't do enough to share the stories of people who are in recovery. These are not aliens among us--they are our friends, neighbors and family members. Their stories are about how lives are changed and people return to being active and productive members of the community.
  • Stigma could be reduced if we decriminalized addiction.

A huge thank you to the panelists for a very engaging and enlightening discussion, and to Amanda for facilitating it. We all have a ton more to learn about mental illness and addiction but this was a great introduction to some of the current issues.

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