Monday Morning News - February 11, 2019

The deadline for declaring as a candidate in the 2019 municipal and town elections has come and gone and once again we have a record number of women running for office. Below is the list for Monroe County of all Democratic women who have filed, which office they filed for, and underneath the women's names, their male opponents. All male opponents are Democrats unless otherwise noted. Stay tuned for upcoming events, trainings and endorsements. And as always, please volunteer to help these women run successful campaigns. Even a few hours can be a huge help.

Mayor

  • Amanda Barge
  •  John Hamilton

City Clerk

  • Nicole Bolden

City Council, District 1

  • Kate Rosenbarger          
  • Denise Valkyrie
  • Chris Sturbaum

City Council, District 2

  • Sue Sgambelluri            
  • Dorothy Granger  
  • Daniel Bingham
  • Andrew Guenther (Republican)

City Council, District 4

  • Miah Michaelsen
  • Dave Rollo

City Council, District 5

  • Isabel Piedmont-Smith    
  • Ryan Maloney

At-Large (three seats)

  • Jean Capler                    
  • Susan Sandberg                                                      
  • Matt Flaherty
  • Vauhxx Booker
  • Jim Sims
  • Andy Ruff

     
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Monday Morning News - February 4, 2019

At our monthly breakfast meeting at the Village Deli on Friday, our first order of business was to elect the Vice President of the DWC Steering Committee, a position that was vacated when Jennifer Crossley was elected Chair of the Monroe County Democratic Party. Congratulations to Karen Wrenbeck, who was resoundingly elected by acclamation. Following the election, our featured speaker took the floor. Dana Black, Indiana State Democratic Party Deputy Chair for Engagement and President of the Indiana Stonewall Democrats, gave an inspiring talk about her journey into politics and what prompted her to undertake public service. 

Dana cited the courageous African American women throughout our history who didn't ask permission but stepped up to lead despite facing horrendous prejudice and roadblocks because they happened to be both female and black. Among her personal sheroes are Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman,Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, Carol Mosely Brown, Kamala Harris, and in Indiana, Pamela Carter and Karen Freeman Wilson. Although she didn't state it as such, her own Mother was clearly a primary role model. She told Dana from a young age "never to allow others to change who you are"--a message for all of us to take to heart. Dana then talked about how even with a long history of African American women and men venturing down this  incredibly difficult path of public service, and despite African American men being granted the right to vote in 1870, and African American women in 1920 along with American women of all colors, we still have legislators nationally and in our state trying to keep "some kinds of people" (primarily people of color) from exercising their right to vote. We have a long long way to go to achieve the just and equitable society that we all want.
    
Her final words were to urge us not to "allow others to diminish who women of color are." She asked that we step up and tell the story of black womens' greatness. Women of all colors need to support each other. After all, we have more in common than we have differences.

During the question and answer period, Dana was asked why she ran--why does she care? She responded that she ran in 2016 against Brian Bosma originally because of RFRA and the aura of discrimination and backwardess that it cast on our state. As she canvassed, she realized that this wasn't the most pressing issue for the constituents she sought to represent, and that is one of the reasons she lost her race. The experience convinced her that the most important thing for a candidate with her profile to do (she is female, black and gay) is to find commonalities with the voters. Soon after her race, she encountered the case of a child in Indiana who had been poisoned by lead from a nearby factory and it was a revelation. All of us, regardless of our color, faith, gender orientation, or economic status, want our children to be healthy and to have a shot at a decent education. We all want a healthy economy so people can make a living that allows them to survive. Dana has an MBA, she is unabashedly pro-business, but she also believes that it is the government's job to make sure businesses don't harm people or the environment. Last session the Indiana legislature dragged our state back a century by eliminating net metering for alternative energy sources, a move supported  by the traditional energy sector and their lobbyists. "So who is the peoples' lobbyist?" Dana asked. "The American dream is that we can all lift ourselves up and be successful, but I can't lift myself up if you are poisoning me! I can't lift myself up if you're not educating me!" Her final, inspiring plea was that we think long and hard about the legacy we are leaving for our children. Our focus should be on how we can make lives better for the 6 million people in Indiana who need us.

Hear, hear, Dana! Thank you for giving us so many reasons to continue in public service!
    
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Monday Morning News 01/28/19

Join us for our monthly breakfast meeting at the Village Deli at 7:30am this coming Friday, February 1, as we kick off Black History Month in the city of Bloomington and at Indiana University. Our featured speaker will be Dana Black, Indiana State Democratic Party Deputy Chair for Engagement and President of the Indiana Stonewall Democrats.
Dana grew up in Indianapolis, where a childhood spent attending Beaulah Missionary Church instilled the values of charity and caring about members of the community. After graduating from North Central High School, she went on to receive a B.S. in Information Systems from Indiana Wesleyan University and an M.B.A. with an Information Technology focus from Southern New Hampshire University. In addition to her work with our state Democratic Party engaging communities, working with candidates and elected officials, and spreading the Democrat message to all 92 counties, Dana has volunteered for Minority Engineering Programs of Indianapolis (MEPI) for 8 years helping to prepare girls and other minority students for post-secondary education in the STEM fields.
She'll speak about her personal journey into political activity, developing and hosting "Turn Left" (Thursdays at 6:00 pm), traveling around the state, and visiting every single county. She has a powerful message about public service, and about women of color. And she'll probably take questions too!
We're fortunate to have Dana Black as our speaker. This is a breakfast not to be missed.

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Monday Morning News 01/21/19

News from the DWC --
Congratulations again to former DWC Steering Committee member Jennifer Crossley on her election to the role of Monroe County Democratic Party Chair. Jennifer has resigned from the Steering Committee, and in accordance with the bylaws, the Steering Committee will select a member to step in for the remainder of her term. This selection will be ratified by the membership at the earliest breakfast meeting date after that selection. Stay tuned for more news on that front.

One of the very best ways to prepare for running for office and SERVING in that office is to become involved in government affairs by way of Boards and Commissions. There are openings at the beginning of every year, and Monroe County Commissioner Julie Thomas (drjuliethomas@gmail.com) invites you to email her about openings for county boards or commissions.

Be inspired on this MLK Birthday at the 2019 City of Bloomington Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Birthday Celebration.
Buskirk-Chumley Theater, January 21 -- TODAY -- at 7 pm. There is also a reception that starts at 6 pm.
Keynote speaker is Janai S. Nelson, who is the Associate Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. This is bound to be a most inspiring presentation.

Deepest sympathies to Charlotte Zietlow and family as they mourn the passing of her grandson, Henry, last week. May your memories of him sustain you in these times, Charlotte.

 

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Monday Morning News - January 14, 2018

The Monroe County Democratic Party held a caucus yesterday afternoon with two tasks before it. The first was electing a replacement for Lee Jones, who was sworn in this January as a County Commissioner, leaving her seat on the Monroe County Council vacant. Task two was to elect a replacement for Mark Fraley, who has stepped down as Party Chair after several years of incredible effort that has made the MCDP stronger than ever. The candidates for County Council were Trent Deckard, Richard Martin and Sam Ujdak. And two of the DWC's own Steering Committee members, Jennifer Crossley and Penny Githens, were the candidates for Party Chair (so proud of both of them for rising to this crucial occasion!!). Trent Deckard was elected to fill the vacancy on the County Council, and Jennifer Crossley was elected Party Chair. Huge congratulations to our two new office holders, and we thank all of the candidates for putting their hats in the ring. We are grateful for their willingness to serve the public. And to Mark Fraley, you have provided a steady hand and a clear head through elections, caucuses, training sessions, social events, and more and we can't thank you enough for your superb service.

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Monday Morning News 01/07/19

Congratulations are extended to those who were elected at the breakfast on Friday.

Carolyn VandeWiele was elected Chair for the next two years. We're proud of the fact that Carolyn is the first LGBTQ+ member to serve as Chair of this organization, certainly a milestone to be noted!

Karen Wrenbeck was re-elected Secretary after the shortest campaign speech ever as she was unopposed.

Steering Committee members elected were Amanda Barge, Penny Githens, Philippa Guthrie, Olivia Reed and Emily Salzmann.

Jillian Kinzie, Steering Committee member, reported on the progress of the Endorsement Policy review and revision. She noted that the committee was still taking comments and if you'd like to have your thoughts included, please answer these questions in an email to the dwcannouncements@gmail.com.

BIG QUESTIONS!: Should 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, but I'm intrigued

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?

Finally, Regina Moore noted that Nancy Pelosi was (for the SECOND TIME!) elected Speaker of the House of Representatives the day before. She told the group that Pelosi spoke at a Monroe County party dinner in the late 90s and for a second time in 2003, after she became the House Minority Leader. At that dinner Pelosi, who came to Bloomington at the invitation of her former congressional colleague and party chair, Frank McCloskey, talked about her new role and her personal "Aha!" moment.
Regina said that this point in women's history had been marked with a portion of the WomenSpeak Reader's Theater, written and produced by Susan Sandberg, performed by various DWC members, in the mid 2000's. Regina was proud to read the words of Nancy Pelosi.
You can read the passage here: https://www.oprah.com/spirit/nancy-pelosis-aha-moment

If you missed the Town Hall with Pelosi and Joy Reid, here's a clip! It was the most relaxing, hopeful hour of political talk in several years.
Pelosi Town Hall with Joy Reed Clip

Pelosi_Rosie_Capital.png

And, while our local women did not prevail in their races, the Indiana House Democrats has tweeted:
We are excited to start session with a caucus that is more than 50% female!
This is the first time in the history of #Indiana that women have made up the majority of a state caucus.
#INlegis #HERstory

House_Democrats.jpg

and.....

Making History Right Here in Monroe County
For the first time in Indiana's 200 year history, a county Board of Commissioners is comprised of three women!
We plan to celebrate this moment as Lee Jones takes her seat at the dais next to Commissioners Amanda Barge and Julie Thomas. Won't you join us if you can for this momentous occasion on Wednesday, January 9th at 10:00 am in the Nat U Hill Room, Courthouse.

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Monday Morning News 12/31/18

IT'S TIME TO RENEW YOUR DWC MEMBERSHIP...
Join online here: https://democraticwomenscaucus.nationbuilder.com/membership

IMPORTANT NOTICE: the new downtown parking regulations go into effect on January 2 - this means that the meters will start at 8am!! If you attend the breakfast you will need to feed the meter to prevent getting a ticket and paying a fine!!!!


IT'S BREAKFAST TIME AGAIN!!! Friday January 4, 2019 at 7:30am at the Village Deli

Steering Committee Elections:
The Nominating Committee has presented the following candidates to the membership for their consideration:

Chair: Amy Swain and Carolyn VandeWiele (you'll be voting for one)
Secretary: Karen Wrenbeck

Steering Committee Members: (you will vote for five)
     • Abby Ang
     • Amanda Barge
     • Penny Githens
     • Phillipa Guthrie
     • Olivia Reed
     • Emily Salzman

We will be voting on these positions at the January 4th Breakfast meeting.
To help you make your decisions we provide the following information:
Candidate questionnaires were included in the Dec. 24 MMN
they can also be accessed via this link: https://www.democraticwomenscaucus.org/mmn_12_24_18
Candidate Bios and head shots will be sent out to the MMN list on Wednesday
Ballots will be sent to all eligible voters (if you were a paid member in 2018 or have become a member in 2019 you are eligible to vote) with instructions on how to vote if you cannot attend the Friday meeting.
There will be a question and answer session at the Breakfast on Friday prior to voting.

If time allows we will also review input from the endorsement questionnaires and discussion at the breakfast as well as other issues pertinent to the mission of the DWC and the upcoming municipal elections.

HAPPY 2019!!

 

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Monday Morning News 12/24/18

Report from the Nominating Committee to the DWC Steering Committee --

(This report was submitted to the DWC Steering Committee and published to the membership on December 20, 2018.)
In keeping with theby-laws of the DWC-PAC, the Nominating Committee determines the nominees for Officers and Steering Committee Members at Large at least 15 days before the meeting at which elections for these positions will be held. Our election for the upcoming year is January 4th, the First Friday of January. Today is that 15th day.

The Nominating Committee members are:
Jennifer Crossley (SC), Regina Moore (SC), Pat Slabach (Member), Michelle Bright (Member), Adrienne Fernandez (Member)

Steering Committee Seats with expiring terms are:

Chair (currently Amy Swain)
Secretary (currently Karen Wrenbeck)
and steering committee member positions currently held by:

Vi Simpson
Regina Moore
Amanda Barge
Penny Githens
Philippa Guthrie
The Nominating Committee considered nominees from the December DWC Breakfast meeting, current incumbents, and those who individually answered the call for Steering Committee members.

Each person was contacted to provide a bio and picture, and then were sent a group of questions to help them figure out if the Steering Committee was something that would fit their passions and energy level.

The Nominating Committee has determined the following nominees for these positions:

Chair: Amy Swain and Carolyn VandeWiele (you'll be voting for one)
Secretary: Karen Wrenbeck

Steering Committee Members: (six nominees for five slots)

Abby Ang
Amanda Barge
Penny Githens
Phillipa Guthrie
Olivia Reed
Emily Salzman


Nicole Bolden was contacted as per her original intention to run, but she has withdrawn her name from consideration.
Two other nominees have indicated they are not available to run this year.

Questions were sent to the nominees and their answers are below. Please read through these and consider who you might vote for. At the breakfast meeting there will be time for these women to introduce themselves and answer questions before balloting takes place.

Nominations for DWC Officers and Steering Committee Members

Chair: Amy Swain and Carolyn VandeWiele

---Amy Swain

Why do you want to be on the DWC Steering Committee?
It's my way of paying it forward. The DWC Endorsement Committee asked me, when I was running for Township Board the first time, how I would give back to the organization. My response was that I would help other women run for office, and I've done that in a variety of ways, one of which is serving on the Steering Committee...as a member, as Secretary and currently as Chair. I'd like to continue that involvement especially now that I've run for State Representative and have a whole new perspective on campaigning.

What has motivated you to put your name forward at this time?
I originally planned to step down, thinking that I would be serving in the Statehouse. I didn't want to wait until the last minute to search for a new Chair. Since I didn't get elected, I would like to continue on as Chair, especially knowing that we have a busy election year coming up.

Describe your political experience and politically related trainings that you've taken.
I've run twice at the township level, for board. The first time, eight years ago, we were in a hotly contested primary race...our full slate (Trustee and 3 board members) against a full slate, most of whom were incumbents. We were successful in the primary, and then ran against a full slate of Republicans in the fall. We ran a complete campaign with door knocking, public speaking engagements, yard signs, Facebook page, attending the DWC Circuit Training, asking for donations, going through the DWC Endorsement process, etc. Three of the four of us were successful, the fourth losing by just one vote. Every vote DOES count!
For our second term, we were unopposed and so I devoted my energies to helping my husband, Brad Swain, run for Monroe County Sheriff. I learned about running a county-wide campaign, serving as his Treasurer and P.R. manager. I created and managed his website, created his campaign Facebook page and helped co-manage it with Brad and a volunteer. I also created his marketing campaign, since my degree is in Marketing/Advertising and that's what I do for a living. His race was hotly contested in the primary with a former Sheriff, the current Chief Deputy (second in command) and a well-known local candidate who had a degree in Criminal Justice. Brad was successful in the primary, winning more than 50% of the vote in a four-way race. He also had a Republican opponent in the fall, and was again successful.
This year, as my second term on my township board was ending, I was asked to run for State Representative in a House district that covers parts of four counties...Monroe, Greene, Daviess and Martin, working with the Party Chairs and other candidates in those counties. I was aided by the Indiana Democratic Caucus, participating in several of their trainings. I also participated in a special training that Vi Simpson was able to pull together, using her political connections. It went deep into running a campaign for state rep, and was an excellent nuts-and-bolts training. It's a whole new level of campaigning. I met several of the current representatives, and received donations from individuals, Democratic/Progressive PACs, Labor Union PACs, Teacher PACs, the Indiana 8th District Democratic Party and others. I now have contacts throughout the state who are involved in the political process. A couple of the current female state representatives helped out this year's female candidates with additional trainings and networking opportunities.. My campaign budget was about $80,000. My opponent spent $100,000 in the previous election, so I was on target and was able to raise most of the money through donations. I worked with an ad agency for my campaign literature and another for digital ads. I still created both my website and Brad's (in case he was opposed or the Republicans caucused in someone to run) as well as our Facebook pages. I worked with a large team of volunteers for door to door, with a local Labor Union to help with yard signs, with a current state representative or two for fundraising. As I said, it's a whole new level of everything.

What other experiences and training do you have, not necessarily political, that might benefit the DWC?
I've been in leadership positions at the local, state and national level within my community service organization, the National Exchange. I've also served as a national trainer for the NEC. My degree, as I said, is in Marketing/Advertising, so I can and have helped with that part of the DWC Circuit Training. I have taken multiple trainings with the YMCA on Financial Management, Project Management, Engaging Members, etc. One of the best classes I ever took at IU was called Discussion and Group Methods. It taught me how to make sure all voices in a group are heard, and how people process information differently, so a multimedia approach is necessary in communications. As Chair of the DWC Steering Committee as well as at breakfast meetings and other DWC events, I have utilized these methods to that end.

Do you hold positions of leadership in other organizations within the Democratic Party Umbrella? Does that group endorse candidates? What is your role in that activity?
No

What do you think you bring to the DWC in its effort to carry out its mission of inspiring, recruiting, training, funding and supporting pro-choice progressive women to increase the numbers of women in the electoral process and in elected and appointed positions?
I have benefited from these five things myself, and have done the same in return for many other female candidates and campaign team members. I have experience and connections at various levels of government that can help our organization. I have served on the Monroe County Women's Commission, and understand the workings of Boards and Commissions and how it can be a stepping stone to elected office. I also worked on a project on boards and commissions during my time in the City Clerk's office, so I am familiar with both city and county groups and how members come to be on them, and where to find information on them. I have lived in Monroe County my entire adult life, and am invested in what happens here. I care about the people who live here and want the best for them, including responsive government.

Can you commit to monthly 2 hour meetings (morning time on 3rd Saturdays of the Month) and committee work outside that time frame?
Yes

Since the inception of the DWC, we've succeeded in getting more Democratic women elected to office than in almost any other time in recent history. Women of all ages are stepping up to run in record numbers in Monroe County.
So, with this in mind, what is the purpose of the DWC in 2019 and beyond?
Its mission remains the same, though we need to continue to evolve in how we do that. It would be wonderful to have more women involved in the DWC Committees that speak to their strengths and their interests. It would be great to identify women interested in running for office earlier in the process to better prepare them to run. I'd like us to look at how we can identify those wishing to learn more and help with campaigns, maybe as a first step to their own run (or not), so that they could benefit from the DWC Circuit Training...which is inspiring as well as instructional. We just scratched the surface with our Learning Academy where members can learn about each level of local government directly from someone who has served in the office, in a small group, where they can ask questions and get answers. Bottom line is that I'd like to see us...each and every member...become more proactive in participating in the process. That's the ideal.


---Carolyn VandeWiele

Why do you want to be on the DWC Steering Committee?
Working with the steering committee has been a rewarding, informative and constantly interesting experience and I would like to continue to help to contribute to the organization and its important mission in helping to guide the political nature of the Bloomington and Monroe County communities…

What has motivated you to put your name forward at this time?
While I have one more year left on my term as Vice Chair. With Amy Swain deciding not to run again it seems that this is an appropriate next step for the DWC. I would like to ensure that there is better communication between the Steering Committee executive and the SC membership as well as the DWC memberships as a whole.

Describe your political experience and politically related trainings that you've taken.
I am currently finishing my second year on the Monroe County Election Board which has given me insight as to the political process in Indiana and as a Deputy to the Monroe County Democratic Party which has given me insight to the party workings within Monroe County.
Prior to joining the Election Board I worked as a judge in several elections and most recently as an Inspector for Jackson Creek. I have also worked early voting in the last few elections.
I have attended several trainings on election administration, campaign finance, campaign management etc. as well as most trainings that the DWC has held over the years.
I will be attending the Municipal Election Training that the Indiana Democratic Party in January
I have served on several campaign committees and done phone banking for several candidates

What other experiences and training do you have, not necessarily political, that might benefit the DWC?
Ran my own business successfully for 30 years
I served two terms on the Board of Directors at WFHB and attended quite a few non-profit trainings
I currently serve on the Monroe County Parks Board and as Secretary of the Monroe County Parks Foundation.

Do you hold positions of leadership in other organizations within the Democratic Party Umbrella? Does that group endorse candidates? What is your role in that activity?
I am a member of the Monroe County Black Democratic Caucus, DFMC and The League of Women Voters but do not hold a position of leadership in any of these groups. The League does not endorse candidates.
I am the current Democratic Appointee to the Monroe County Election Board and this also makes me a Deputy Chair of the Party in Monroe County. I will be Chair of the Election Board for 2019 Democratic and Republican members alternate years). I have confirmed with the Indiana Election Division that Chairing the DWC is not a conflict with my position on the MCEB and is allowed under the Indiana election code.

What do you think you bring to the DWC in its effort to carry out its mission of inspiring, recruiting, training, funding and supporting pro-choice progressive women to increase the numbers of women in the electoral process and in elected and appointed positions?
Interest and commitment, ability to work collaboratively
long term participation in the organization
Campaign finance training

Can you commit to monthly 2 hour meetings (morning time on 3rd Saturdays of the Month) and committee work outside that time frame?
yes. I have attended most of the Steering Committee Meetings this year, currently help write the MMN and have worked on several other projects over the year.

Since the inception of the DWC, we've succeeded in getting more Democratic women elected to office than in almost any other time in recent history. Women of all ages are stepping up to run in record numbers in Monroe County.
So, with this in mind, what is the purpose of the DWC in 2019 and beyond?
The DWC has had great success since its inception. That being said I don’t think that the mission of the organization has necessarily changed - we still need to identify the best women to run for office, help keep women informed on the requirements of political office, train women to run for office and to serve on political campaigns, etc. As a generation of women currently serving in elected office in the county start to retire they will need to be replaced with quality candidates.
The last election shows that the Republicans are becoming more active in Monroe County and have had some success in turning out voters… particularly in more rural areas of the county so we cannot rest on our laurels.
We also need to continue to keep our membership informed and involved in the political workings of the county beyond elected office - Boards and Commissions, civic engagement, etc. through trainings, MMN articles and breakfast programs.
I would also like to see if we can get the DWC membership more involved in DWC activities beyond attending breakfasts and donations.

 

Secretary: Karen Wrenbeck

Why do you want to be on the DWC Steering Committee?
I’ve really enjoyed this past year, being a part of the Steering Committee, and want to continue serving as the Secretary.

What has motivated you to put your name forward at this time?
I’m able and willing to continue in my current role, so I’m running again for Secretary.

Describe your political experience and politically related trainings that you've taken.
I helped Erika Oliphant with her campaign for prosecutor: I created and administered her Facebook page; I kept and updated her chart of contact information for all her supporters; I created a Google Map containing the locations of every Erika yard sign; I coordinated all her yard sign requests and assigned people to different neighborhoods to deliver signs and pick them up after the election.
I also helped Darcie Fawcett with her judge campaign with yard sign delivery and collection (similar to what I described above).
I attended the Emerge training in Indianapolis last year. I’ve also attended several DWC trainings (mock forums, candidate training, etc.).

What other experiences and training do you have, not necessarily political, that might benefit the DWC?
Three things come to mind: (1) I’m a Deputy Public Defender, so I have experience writing, public speaking, and dealing with all types of people. (2) I’m good at using Word, Excel, and Google Maps, which are all very helpful with campaigning. (3) I come from a big family (~25 first cousins), so I’m an expert at event planning for large groups.

Do you hold positions of leadership in other organizations within the Democratic Party Umbrella? Does that group endorse candidates? What is your role in that activity?
No.

What do you think you bring to the DWC in its effort to carry out its mission of inspiring, recruiting, training, funding and supporting pro-choice progressive women to increase the numbers of women in the electoral process and in elected and appointed positions?
Throughout Erika’s campaign, I created several great charts, maps, and tools for candidates, which I’d love to share with others.

Can you commit to monthly 2 hour meetings (morning time on 3rd Saturdays of the Month) and committee work outside that time frame?
Yes.

Since the inception of the DWC, we've succeeded in getting more Democratic women elected to office than in almost any other time in recent history. Women of all ages are stepping up to run in record numbers in Monroe County.
So, with this in mind, what is the purpose of the DWC in 2019 and beyond?
I subscribe to the Ruth Bader Ginsburg theory: there will not be enough women in positions of power until there are women in ALL positions of power. DWC should continue with the mission to recruit, support and train female candidates for all levels of elected office, because our work is not done.

 

Steering Committee Members: (six nominees for five slots)

---Abby Ang

Why do you want to be on the DWC Steering Committee?
My work for political campaigns, namely Amy Swain’s campaign for State Rep and the statewide coordinated campaign, impressed upon me the valuable work the DWC has done to identify, nurture, and support qualified women candidates for office. I’ve also found the breakfasts to be a wonderful experience in learning about what other women around Bloomington are doing to help give their communities a voice through elected office, as well as the resources available for women interested in running for office.
I have a lot of experience with activism and recently have volunteered for electoral politics. I want to not only bring my experience as an activist and perspective as a member of the IU community, but also expand my experience by working to help support qualified women for office.

What has motivated you to put your name forward at this time?
The 2020 elections. Aside from wanting to help support women for 2020, the timing works out well for me. I’ve lived in Bloomington for six years, but have been an outsider to the political scene until 2-3 years ago. I am in a good position to work on the Steering Committee because I have passed my qualifying exams and am ABD. I have a few more years to finish my dissertation and am currently on a fellowship where I don’t have teaching obligations, so my time is more flexible than if I were in coursework.
Much of the politics in Monroe County are led by truly amazing trailblazing women, and I’m excited to see where I can contribute as we go into 2020.

Describe your political experience and politically related trainings that you've taken.
Since Fall 2017, I’ve volunteered for a number of campaigns in the 9th district. I first volunteered for Dan Canon from around October 2017 to May 2018, phone banking, canvassing, and attending fundraisers and other events. In May 2018, I started volunteering as Amy Swain’s outreach director for her state house campaign. In addition to fundraising phone calls and door-to-door canvassing, I helped her set up house parties to introduce her to people in District 62. From October to November 2018, we joined the statewide Coordinated Campaign with the Indiana Democratic Party, and I was appointed staging location director to GOTV for the Monroe County Democratic Party. My duties included keeping track of walk packets in Monroe County, entering data, assigning volunteers to walk packets, and coordinating turf and volunteers with the Liz Watson campaign. I worked 15 hour days four days in a row towards the end of the cycle. I’m also currently a Vice Precinct Chair for Perry 28.
I’ve done GOTV training, and other types of training (canvassing, phonebanking, and fundraising). National Indivisible also hosts webinars to train canvassers and phonebankers.

What other experiences and training do you have, not necessarily political, that might benefit the DWC?
I’ve both attended and organized pedagogical workshops advocating for the needs of marginalized graduate students in the Indiana University Bloomington community. I’ve also attended and assisted with anti-bias training and sexual harassment seminars as an associate instructor at IU. Since 2016, I’ve mentored incoming graduate students in the department. My training and background with racial issues has made me keen to the issues facing young, queer women and nonbinary people of color on campus and in Bloomington more generally. I can liaise with on campus groups. Also, if needed, I can give valuable input for DWC programming and contribute thoughts on how to recruit membership on campus.

Do you hold positions of leadership in other organizations within the Democratic Party Umbrella? Does that group endorse candidates? What is your role in that activity?
Indivisible Bloomington is not necessarily associated with the Democratic Party umbrella, as it identifies as a bipartisan organization that more generally opposes Trump’s agenda. However, our group does endorse candidates and has done so in the past. Our leadership committee held a straw poll after the May primaries to endorse Liz Watson. With the other members of the leadership committee, I helped put together a questionnaire about issues facing the 9th district, and we sent it to Liz Watson’s and Trey Hollingsworth’s campaigns to hear their thoughts. After the questionnaire was returned (Trey Hollingsworth didn’t respond), we had a straw poll in person, inviting membership to a special meeting where we voted and endorsed Liz Watson. Later on, we helped get Liz Watson get a national endorsement by national Indivisible. National Indivisible had a separate process where they sent a link to us simply asking whether our membership would like to support Liz Watson, and we forwarded that link to our membership to vote.
We tried to put together an endorsement process for the state house but due to time constraints, we were unable to send it out in time. We have been focused more on the congressional campaign and the state house and I don’t anticipate that that will change.

What do you think you bring to the DWC in its effort to carry out its mission of inspiring, recruiting, training, funding and supporting pro-choice progressive women to increase the numbers of women in the electoral process and in elected and appointed positions?
I will bring to the table experience from my work on the leadership committee of Indivisible Bloomington, and on different graduate student advisory committees at Indiana University. My qualifications include organizing rallies, social events, and workshops with other organizations to bring attention to issues facing Hoosiers; notable ones include a vigil response to the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally, rallies and fundraisers to support families separated at the border, and pedagogical workshops advocating for the needs of marginalized graduate students on campus. I am currently organizing a coalition headed by Planned Parenthood and All Options to advocate for reproductive justice issues at the Indiana State House.
I’m good at building coalitions and identifying folks with expertise in different areas (social justice, racial justice, judicial issues, etc.). I know a lot of people who would be averse to electoral politics, and as a result of my activist work, I have experience building consensus with people on various ends of the political spectrum, from antifa to IU Dems. I can work to bring many of these individuals, who might be disillusioned by the Democratic Party, to feel a sense of agency in the electoral process and encourage them to run for positions.

Can you commit to monthly 2 hour meetings (morning time on 3rd Saturdays of the Month) and committee work outside that time frame?
Yes.

Since the inception of the DWC, we've succeeded in getting more Democratic women elected to office than in almost any other time in recent history. Women of all ages are stepping up to run in record numbers in Monroe County.
So, with this in mind, what is the purpose of the DWC in 2019 and beyond?
I believe with the 2020 election coming up, the purpose of DWC in 2019 and beyond is to recruit and support strong candidates going into the 2020 election, and to support those candidates with rigorous training, especially for areas outside Bloomington and in more rural areas. With more and more candidates in DWC reaching outside of Bloomington, it seems that there’s a need for progressive and pro-choice candidates to enhance outreach and messaging in rural areas.
DWC is very well respected and many people acknowledge what a powerhouse its leaders have developed as it has grown over the years. I’ve noticed that with a couple of exceptions, the attendees to meetings and breakfasts tend to be older white women. While the attendance could reflect the demographics of Bloomington more generally, I think that DWC could be doing more to recruit and train younger Democratic women, and maybe offer support and training for college students and young professional women. Maybe opening a Indiana University chapter of DWC or holding events on campus could be one way to expand membership.
I also think that it’s important to locate and identify women and nonbinary people of color specifically, not just in regard to age -- as a woman of color from out of state, I’ve experienced firsthand the struggle of trying to situate myself in the political community in Bloomington. I’ve been lucky to find a place to belong with Indivisible, but from my experience I recognize that many newcomers to Monroe County’s political scene might feel hesitant going to organizations that (acknowledging efforts to diversify) still appear to be largely white in leadership and membership.
In addition, DWC should continue to maintain a sense of community for Democratic women and nonbinary folks as we go into the 2020 election. DWC can be a valuable resource to mentor candidates running for office. Those networks can be used to build beyond 2020. There may need to be events other than the 7:30 AM breakfasts, such as evening social hours or coffee dates, to help network with women who wouldn’t normally be able to make those breakfasts.

 

--- Amanda Barge

Why do you want to be on the DWC Steering Committee?
I have served on the Steering Committee for six years. My current two-year term is up so I’m running to serve another term. During my past three terms, I have served on the Endorsement Committee, Nominating, Membership and Fundraising Committees. I have found a home in this group among likeminded women. I’ve gotten to learn how campaigns work from the ground up and it gave me the confidence to step up and run for office. I continue to want to give back but I also want to keep learning from the smart women around me!

What has motivated you to put your name forward at this time?
After 2016, we saw an influx of progressive women wanting to get involved with our organization, our government and in local campaigns. I don’t see that slowing down and I am excited about the challenges and opportunities that brings to the group and want to be a part of helping women all over the community realize their potential.
Part of my focus on the Steering Committee is making sure we continue to be of service to women in the best way possible both currently and in the future.
Also, I am constantly inspired by this group and will serve as long as the membership decides I’m helpful!
I’m very proud to be a member of this organization’s leadership. I feel a sense of responsibility to those who started this group to carry it forward in the best way possible.

Describe your political experience and politically related trainings that you've taken.
I was raised on politics and campaigning and as a young person would volunteer with my mom at the headquarters. In college, I was a Political Science and Gender Studies major and even designed my own class called “Women in Politics.” I’ve done lots of Democratic Party trainings and every DWC training that has been offered.
I serve currently as County Commissioner and was elected in 2016. I was endorsed by the DWC. I have worked on several local campaigns both as a volunteer and as a campaign officer. I was Treasurer for Isabel Piedmont-Smith for City Council and Chair for Kate Wiltz for County Council.
In 2000, I served as a Delegate to the National Convention for Al Gore and was also a State Delegate that year. And, in 2018 I was a State Delegate. I also serve as a Precinct Committee Person.

What other experiences and training do you have, not necessarily political, that might benefit the DWC?
Professionally, I have a license in clinical social work which means I have specific training in understanding macro level policy, assessing and understanding complex situations and systems and listening to problem solve. I have a lot of experience facilitating groups, speaking publicly and collaborating with different systems.
As a mom, I bring a good perspective of someone who is invested in leaving this community better than I found it and I have a lot of connections with progressive moms who want to get involved but don’t know how to manage multiple responsibilities. I have a keen interest in getting more moms involved locally because it’s good for our kids to see and teaches them to be activists and leaders!
Also, I love event planning, creative thinking and fundraising and bring all those passions to the Steering Committee. I am proud to be the founder of the DWC Karoake and Cocktail Night—we need to have fun while we’re saving the world!

Do you hold positions of leadership in other organizations within the Democratic Party Umbrella? Does that group endorse candidates? What is your role in that activity?
Precinct Committee Person-no we do not endorse.

What do you think you bring to the DWC in its effort to carry out it's mission of inspiring, recruiting, training, funding and supporting pro-choice progressive women to increase the numbers of women in the electoral process and in elected and appointed positions?
I have an excellent ability to connect and motivate people and I think it serves the DWC well. We constantly need to bring in new women to leadership roles and so we need SC members who can be out in the community noticing women who may not even see their own leadership skills, bring them into our organization and/or encourage them to get involved in campaigns and build their experience to potentially run for office someday.
As an elected official, I know what it takes to run a campaign, win and serve. I hope I can give back to other women who are just at the beginning of their political lives!

Can you commit to monthly 2 hour meetings (morning time on 3rd Saturdays of the Month) and committee work outside that time frame?
Yes

Since the inception of the DWC, we've succeeded in getting more Democratic women elected to office than in almost any other time in recent history. Women of all ages are stepping up to run in record numbers in Monroe County.
So, with this in mind, what is the purpose of the DWC in 2019 and beyond?
I think we have to focus heavily on inspiring and recruiting. I also think we have a responsibility to encourage marginalized women to get involved in the political process and in our organization as much as possible. I’d like us to consider our role in the 9th district congressional race—something our organization hasn’t formally done —and how we can better support women running for legislature statewide. I am committed to helping the DWC thrive however I can. I’m so thankful to this organization and what it’s given me as a person, as a candidate and how it’s allowed me to help other women.

 

---Penny Githens

Why do you want to be on the DWC Steering Committee?
Even with the local increase of women in government, we still are not at equity at the state or national level. And we need to remember that when women retire from elected positions, we want to have other viable candidates who can run to succeed them. It is women who are fighting for equal pay, access to birth control, affordable child care, and a host of other issues important to both men and women.

What has motivated you to put your name forward at this time?
Although I have been on the steering committee for 4 years, I still feel that there is more I can do, especially in regard to mentoring individuals who wish to run for office.

Describe your political experience and politically related trainings that you've taken.
I have run for state legislature twice and served on Isabel Piedmont-Smith's city council campaign committee. I have attended candidate trainings offered by Emerge America, 314 Action, the Indiana Democratic party, and the DWC circuit training.

What other experiences and training do you have, not necessarily political, that might benefit the DWC?
I am actively involved in the community and attend meetings of the Monroe County Democratic Club, Democracy for Monroe County, and Moms Demand Action. I am a member of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education - Monroe County, the Monroe County Black Caucus, the 9th District Latino Caucus, and Monroe County NOW. I continue to do volunteer work with special needs individuals and am a CASA volunteer. Earlier this year I was on the planning committee for the Pay Equity Day program which was held in August. I also attend meetings of the Morgan County Democratic Party.

Do you hold positions of leadership in other organizations within the Democratic Party Umbrella? Does that group endorse candidates? What is your role in that activity?
No.

What do you think you bring to the DWC in its effort to carry out it's mission of inspiring, recruiting, training, funding and supporting pro-choice progressive women to increase the numbers of women in the electoral process and in elected and appointed positions?
Although I was unsuccessful in my two runs for the Indiana House of Representatives, I learned a lot and have enlarged my "Democratic" network. I have also learned about the responsibilities of the various elected offices, from the coroner to the Governor. We need to start NOW to prepare candidates for the 2020 election. For example, if DWC members are thinking about running for County Council in 2020, they should start to attend County Council meetings. We also need to have breakfast (and lunch) programs where elected officials talk about their duties, the time commitment, and how they think they have made a difference. The DWC isn't just about getting women elected to office, it's about having women serve in office.

Can you commit to monthly 2 hour meetings (morning time on 3rd Saturdays of the Month) and committee work outside that time frame?
Yes.

Since the inception of the DWC, we've succeeded in getting more Democratic women elected to office than in almost any other time in recent history. Women of all ages are stepping up to run in record numbers in Monroe County.
So, with this in mind, what is the purpose of the DWC in 2019 and beyond?
We need to continue to elect women and provide a venue for women to openly seek support and advice from other women. We need to elect more women to positions within the city governments of Bloomington, Ellettsville, and Stinesville, and elect women to state government. We also need to continue to discuss issues of importance to women, from homelessness to Title IX definitions of sexual assault and harassment to the Lake Monroe watershed.

 

---Phillipa Guthrie

Why do you want to be on the DWC Steering Committee?
I have been on the Steering Committee for several terms and I am still as energized and excited about what the DWC does as I was when I joined the organization. I believe the Steering Committee’s role is crucial in directing the organization’s activities and engaging the members, and I want to continue to be a part of it. As noted below, I think have some important skills to bring to the table as well.

What has motivated you to put your name forward at this time?
I am an incumbent and my current two-year term is up.

Describe your political experience and politically related trainings that you've taken.
I have worked on several political campaigns, including as a campaign volunteer years ago in California for a state senate candidate, working on the first MCCSC referendum campaign as a volunteer canvasser and general HQ volunteer, canvassing for Obama in 2008 and 2012, serving as Treasurer for John Hamilton’s first campaign for Mayor in 2012, serving on the steering committee for the most recent MCCSC referendum to raise funds for our schools, serving as a member of Val Haughton’s campaign team during her last campaign for her judicial position, and running my own campaign for City Council in 2015, a race I lost by 85 votes. I have also helped a number of DWC endorsed and supported candidates over the years by canvassing, writing letters to the editor, and handing out DWC materials at the polls. I worked the polls for a number of elections over the past decade or more, including as a Poll Watcher, Judge and several times as an Inspector in charge of the polling place. I have also attended and/or acted as one of the trainers at a number of DWC training sessions.

What other experiences and training do you have, not necessarily political, that might benefit the DWC?
I am a lawyer and currently serve as Corporation Counsel for the City of Bloomington. My years of legal experience in a number of different settings, from for-profit to non-profit to local government, give me a really well-rounded perspective on the law and an ability to put my legal and analytical skills to work for the DWC when issues arise. In addition, my current position with the City has afforded me a chance to learn how local government works, which is helpful given that a fundamental piece of our mission is to encourage women to run for local government offices. Having Steering Committee members with insider knowledge of how local government works is incredibly important to the success of the DWC in preparing women to run and succeed in office once they are elected. I also believe that having Steering Committee members with ties to local and state government organizations and officials is very useful for the DWC in identifying resources that can help us accomplish our mission, for example, networks of contacts in local and state government can help identify fundraising opportunities as well as individuals who are willing to partner with us on educational and training programs. Finally, I have served on several non-profit boards over the years, beginning with Turning Point domestic violence shelter in Columbus, up to today when I serve on the Centerstone of America board (serving for more than a decade), Volunteers in Medicine (since 2011) and Cardinal Stage (since 2017). These experiences give me excellent experience in and knowledge of board and organizational governance that I believe is helpful to any not for profit, government or political organization.

Do you hold positions of leadership in other organizations within the Democratic Party Umbrella? Does that group endorse candidates? What is your role in that activity?
I do not serve in any leadership capacity in any organizations under the Democratic Party umbrella.

What do you think you bring to the DWC in its effort to carry out its mission of inspiring, recruiting, training, funding and supporting pro-choice progressive women to increase the numbers of women in the electoral process and in elected and appointed positions?
Having been a candidate myself, I know what it feels like to run a campaign and what it involves personally and professionally. The insight I gained from that experience is incredibly helpful for an organization that is focused on inspiring and recruiting women to run for elected office, and educating them on what it takes to run a successful campaign, regardless of the outcome.

Can you commit to monthly 2 hour meetings (morning time on 3rd Saturdays of the Month) and committee work outside that time frame?
Yes.

Since the inception of the DWC, we've succeeded in getting more Democratic women elected to office than in almost any other time in recent history. Women of all ages are stepping up to run in record numbers in Monroe County.
So, with this in mind, what is the purpose of the DWC in 2019 and beyond?
I do not think the fundamental purpose of the DWC warrants a change yet, certainly not in 2019. There is still a lot of work to do to inform women about the world of politics, encourage them to run for office, and then provide them with the resources and support to make a successful go of it. It is still difficult for many women to see themselves running for office when they already have so many demands on their time (job, family, education), they think they don’t know enough about the issues, and they haven’t encountered anyone who encouraged them to run and convinced them it was something they could succeed at. I don’t see these perceived barriers magically disappearing anytime soon. And that, in my mind, leads to one of the most important functions of the DWC, giving women the confidence to see themselves as candidates. This function is as essential now as it was when the DWC was founded.
Still, every organization with which I have been involved, whether through work or as a volunteer, has evolved as needs changed, and the DWC will need to evolve as well. I think the Steering Committee and the membership will know when it is time for a significant adjustment. We don’t currently have the situation that prompted the establishment of the DWC, namely few to no women serving as elected officials in local offices. So now that we have so many more women running for and winning local offices, I think we need to spend time in 2019 evaluating whether our procedures (e.g. what to do when more than one woman runs for a particular office) and our focus (do we spend more of our time and resources on training, recruiting or fundraising), rather than our essential mission, need to shift somewhat.

 

---Olivia Reed

Why do you want to be on the DWC Steering Committee?
I’m interested in serving on the DWC Steering Committee because I would like the opportunity to more closely engage with and provide more direct support to progressive female Democrats. I also believe that serving on this committee would provide me with a chance to learn more about the mechanics of local government and our role therein.

What has motivated you to put your name forward at this time?
Well, I must thank Penny for kindly nominating me for this position. That being said, I have been seeking opportunities to become more involved in local politics. With each new task I’ve taken on, be it canvassing, working directly on campaigns, or serving as a Vice Precinct Chair, I have left wanting to serve even more. I believe that serving on this committee would be an excellent way to channel my desire to serve my community.

Describe your political experience and politically related trainings that you've taken.
I will be the first to admit that I am a relative newcomer to local politics. I first became interested in becoming more engaged after attending the Women’s March on Washington. I left the march feeling like I needed to put action to my words, but I wasn’t sure where to start. My education and post-doctoral fellowship required frequent relocation (Indianapolis, Muncie, Lexington, & San Francisco all in one year!), and while I had the opportunity to experience a wide range of political environments, I was never in one place long enough to truly get involved.
In January of this year I returned to Bloomington to stay for good, and finally had the opportunity to begin establishing connections with the local party. In May, I was appointed Vice Precinct Chair of Perry 23. In August, I completed my first walk list, and continued to canvass nearly every weekend up to the election. In that time, I also met Kate Wiltz and joined her team by coordinating her lawn sign campaign. I am looking forward to furthering my experience and I am excited to take part in the trainings provided by the DWC.

What other experiences and training do you have, not necessarily political, that might benefit the DWC?
I believe that my experience as both a clinician and a scientist would provide a unique perspective to the DWC. Through my education as a clinician, I have learned how to effectively listen to and communicate with my patients to interpret their needs and concerns. I interact with dozens of patients each week, which often leads to the formation of close relationships. I have learned a great deal from my patients, and I believe that these interactions with such a diverse group of individuals has strengthened my compassion for and understanding of what members of our community are facing.
In my role as a scientist, I have learned the value of gathering all of the facts available prior to forming an opinion. I have also learned how to debate constructively and accept, with relative grace, when I have been proven wrong. I have also learned the value of constantly improving my skills and my knowledge. Science, like politics, is constantly changing, and you must always be willing to adapt and adjust your views as new information becomes available.

Do you hold positions of leadership in other organizations within the Democratic Party Umbrella? Does that group endorse candidates? What is your role in that activity?
I do not currently hold a position of leadership in other organizations.

What do you think you bring to the DWC in its effort to carry out it's mission of inspiring, recruiting, training, funding and supporting pro-choice progressive women to increase the numbers of women in the electoral process and in elected and appointed positions?
I bring a solid work ethic to every role I take on. If chosen for this position, I will put all of my effort into advancing the goals of the DWC.
Additionally, I believe I can bring a unique perspective to the table that is not currently represented on the DWC’s Steering Committee.

Can you commit to monthly 2 hour meetings (morning time on 3rd Saturdays of the Month) and committee work outside that time frame?
Absolutely! I occasionally pick up Saturday morning shifts in the School of Optometry’s clinic, but this will rarely amount to more that 3-4 Saturdays per semester. My work schedule is relatively flexible, and my colleagues are supportive and understanding of my desire to become more involved in the community.

Since the inception of the DWC, we've succeeded in getting more Democratic women elected to office than in almost any other time in recent history. Women of all ages are stepping up to run in record numbers in Monroe County. So, with this in mind, what is the purpose of the DWC in 2019 and beyond?
I think the DWC should strive to build up and begin preparing the next generation of progressive, female candidates and engaged citizens. We need to ensure that the younger generation feels that their views are being respected and represented. I also think we need to target increasing rural engagement. I think we did a much better job of this in 2018 than 2016, but we can always improve.


---Emily Salzman

Why do you want to be on the DWC Steering Committee?
I believe in the mission of the DWC and I feel like it is important to be a part of the organization and it’s work. It’s important to contribute myself as well as to learn from those that came before me and I feel that this is a good opportunity to do so.

What has motivated you to put your name forward at this time?
I just got back from maternity leave after having my second child. I have wanted to get more involved for quite some time but it didn’t make sense to do so prior to returning to work.

Describe your political experience and politically related trainings that you've taken.
I have been involved with the DWC by attending meetings since 2014 (I believe) and also I served on the endorsement committee this spring. I am a local attorney so I have consulted with different current or aspirational elected officials through my professional engagement for the past several years.

What other experiences and training do you have, not necessarily political, that might benefit the DWC?
I am involved in the local bar and have many colleagues and friends among the politically active elected officials in town. I feel that this gives me a natural connection to much of the membership of the DWC and it’s mission.

Do you hold positions of leadership in other organizations within the Democratic Party Umbrella? Does that group endorse candidates? What is your role in that activity?
I do not hold any positions with any other political organizations.

What do you think you bring to the DWC in its effort to carry out it's mission of inspiring, recruiting, training, funding and supporting pro-choice progressive women to increase the numbers of women in the electoral process and in elected and appointed positions?
I believe I am a bright, dedicated individual who believes in the message of the DWC. I believe that I try to successfully emulate the mission of the DWC and try to surround myself with highly intelligent, successful women who do the same. I have many colleagues among DWC members who have served and continue to serve the mission and I would like to join in their ranks.

Can you commit to monthly 2 hour meetings (morning time on 3rd Saturdays of the Month) and committee work outside that time frame? Yes.

Since the inception of the DWC, we've succeeded in getting more Democratic women elected to office than in almost any other time in recent history. Women of all ages are stepping up to run in record numbers in Monroe County.
So, with this in mind, what is the purpose of the DWC in 2019 and beyond?
I believe that the DWC should consider whether there are changes that need to be made to adapt our strategy to most effectuate the mission of our organization. Young up and coming members are integral to the continuing success of the organization. Those newer individuals are important to keeping the DWC effective and relevant as the political and social climate changes.

Again, We will be voting on these positions at the January 4th Breakfast meeting.

Homework!
At the December meeting the DWC Endorsement Process was discussed. Three questions were asked of members present. If you were not there, or if you took questions home to think about them, we are offering these questions below. Please cut and paste into an email, add your thoughts, and send your feedback to dwcannouncements@gmail.com.

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Reviewing DWC Endorsement Purpose, Practice and Policy

BIG QUESTIONS!: Should 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, but I'm intriqued

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?

Thanks for your thoughts on this. More discussions will follow, and feel free to contact a Steering Committee member for a personal discussion.

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Monday Morning News 12/17/18

Are you disgusted by the rancor in political life? Are you sick of watching smart, hard-working, dedicated candidates work their tails off only to be defeated by business-as-usual nonentities beholden to special interests and big money? Are you tired of politicians who don’t listen to their constituents? Do you ever feel like your vote doesn’t count? Blame the gerrymander!

By law, the maps of congressional and state legislative districts must be redrawn after each US census in order to account for population shifts and preserve the principle of "one person = one vote” that is the foundation of our democracy. In some states redistricting is carried out by an independent commission, but in most states—including ours—the party in control of the state legislature at the time of the census gets to redraw the maps. Human nature being what it is, both Republicans and Democrats have surrendered to the temptation to game the system, redrawing the maps to advantage their party or even particular incumbents. This partisan “legislative cartography” is known as gerrymandering, and it’s at least partially responsible for political polarization, voter apathy, and representatives who can’t be bothered to represent.

Although gerrymandered Indiana is the Frankenstein creation of the Republican Party, in other states the partisan mapmakers have been Democrats. At its base, redistricting reform is neither a Republican nor a Democratic issue but a matter of good government. By rigging the system to dilute the votes of one party’s supporters, gerrymandering undermines the democratic principle of “one person = one vote.” To put it bluntly, support for partisan gerrymandering is unpatriotic.

Here in Indiana, All IN for Democracy, a coalition of civic organizations and good government groups including Common Cause, the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, and the Indiana Farmers Union, has been working to persuade our legislators to create an independent, non-partisan redistricting commission. Legislation introduced during the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions failed to gain the needed support, but advocates of redistricting reform are not going to give up and go away. 2019 is a critical year. The census will be held in 2020, and the maps drawn in 2021 will be in effect for the next ten years.

So, what can you do? First, take a few minutes to send holiday cards to your representatives, key legislators, and Governor Holcomb, who has voiced his support for redistricting reform. (See action items below.) Second, consider scheduling an appointment with your representatives during League Day at the Indiana Statehouse. Third, stay informed. An excellent source of information on redistricting reform and other good government issues is the web site of the Brennan Center for Justice, http://www.brennancenter.org/. Finally, if you can, donate to the organizations that are fighting gerrymandering in the courts.

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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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