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The Voter, March 2021

Toni Brammeier  | Published on 3/7/2021
The Voter
March 2021




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Upcoming Events
Upcoming Events




News & Stuff


Step Up To Leadership At LWVMC Annual Meeting
Submitted by Deb Tittle, LWVMC Member

With the arrival of Spring, the Leadership Team has started planning the annual LWVMC business meeting.  A summary of this past year’s activities, financial report and events for this coming year will be reviewed, with members voting on new officers, budget and program plan. Leadership decided to hold this year’s annual meeting via Zoom on May 13th at 7:00pm.  We are hoping that in person meetings can resume late 2021.  Watch for future reminders and events.

 Several officers will be stepping down from their positions in May, and now is the time for members to step up to leadership!  We need your fresh ideas, talents and energy in steering the direction and activities of our local League, or the group risks going dormant. Specifically, a President, Spokesperson, and Voter Services Coordinator are needed.  The Leadership Team also needs volunteers to help with bookkeeping/auditing, and someone with a skill-set to maintain the League’s online presence (Facebook; webpage) as Toni Brammeier is moving to the shores of Lake Superior. Toni has served the League in several capacities as Treasure and Chairperson of the Communications Committee.  We gratefully thank Toni for her dedication to the League, and more importantly her friendship.  If you are interested in being on the Leadership Team, please send an email to treasurer@lwvmesa.org.


State of the Air with Citizens for Clean Air
Submitted by Toni Brammeier, LWVMC Member

On February 18th, LWVMC was honored to partner with Citizens for Clean Air (CCA) to present their 8th annual forum.

We learned all about CCA's new project featuring biochar, a natural soil additive that "has the potential to enrich soils, sequester carbon, conserve water, and dispose of organic waste without burning it in the open air." CCA is actively recruiting volunteers to help with this project (home gardners are welcome!). If you are interested in volunteering, please reach out to CCA at citizensforcleanairgj@gmail.com.

Our audience was also treated to a showing of the short film "Unbreathable: The Fight for Healthy Air".



LWV Estes Park Presents "Election Security – Recent Past and Looking Forward"
Submitted by Toni Brammeier, LWVMC Member

LWV of Estes Park will be hosting a virtual talk about election security featuring CO Secretary of State Jena Griswold and Larimer County Clerk and Recorder Angela Myers on March 17th at 12PM. Here is a little more about this exciting event:

"Our speakers will explain how they ensure that our votes are secure and verifiable, and what plans they have to improve voter confidence in future elections.

Secretary of State Griswold has led one of the largest voting reform packages in the nation, by expanding access to voter registration, increasing polling locations and voter drop boxes across Colorado.  She is the youngest elected Secretary of State in the United States and the tenth woman to be elected to statewide office in Colorado’s history.

Larimer County Clerk Myers has been working to deliver accurate and verifiable elections for nearly eight years including two primary and general presidential elections. During that time she has modernized county records so that they are accurate, accessible and aligned with the needs of voters."

Registration is required. Please register online at lwv-estespark.org by March 16th to ensure your spot. All registered attendees will receive an email with the zoom login prior to the event.


Behavioral Health & Law Enforcement: Responding Together
Submitted by Toni Brammeier, LWVMC Member

On January 12, LWV Mesa County was honored to host a discussion with local law enforcement and behavioral health experts. The online event was advertised across Colorado Leagues and drew our biggest online audience ever.

A big thank you to our experts who took time out of their busy days to share with us how law enforcement and health professionals work together to peacefully resolve incidents. Joining the discussion were Felicia Romero, Crisis Response Operations Manager at Mind Springs Health, Deputy Chief Matt Smith, Chief of Operations at GJPD, and Captain Todd Sorenson, Mesa County Sheriff ‘s Law Operations Division.


Do You Qualify For the Vaccine?
Submitted by Toni Brammeier, LWVMC Member

Beginning February 8th, adults 65 and older as well as essential workers such as teachers, qualify to receive the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge in Mesa County.

If you are interested in receiving the vaccine, you can sign-up on the Mesa County Department of Public Health's COVID-19 Vaccine site.


Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash



LWV Supports Bipartisan DREAM Act of 2021
LWVUS Press Release Published 2/5/2021

[On February 4th], U.S. Senators Durbin and Graham introduced the latest immigration reform bill. The companion legislation led by Representatives Lofgren and Roybal-Allard was previously introduced in the U.S. House. League of Women Voters CEO Virginia Kase released the following statement in support of the bipartisan immigration reform bill:       

“Over the past four years, the Trump administration took steps to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and strip status from those with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). Individuals benefiting from these programs live in every state, territory, and congressional district. They are our neighbors, League members, teachers, healthcare workers, and employers — Americans in every way except their legal status. They have earned a path to citizenship.

“For decades, the League of Women Voters has supported a fair and equitable immigration system and a path to citizenship. Since the 111th Congress, the League has lobbied in support of the DREAM Act, including opposing its recission in the 115th Congress. The DREAM Act of 2021 would hold American families, communities, and economies together.

“There are many parts of the immigration system that urgently need fixing, but protecting DREAMers and beneficiaries of TPS and DED cannot wait. It is long past time to recognize that these individuals are part of the American family and merit protection from deportation, permanent status, and a path to eventual citizenship. Immigrant families and communities at long last deserve the peace of mind to build a better life, which so many of us born in this country take for granted.  

“The League of Women Voters strongly endorses this common-sense bipartisan legislation, and we stand ready to work with lawmakers to see it become law.”

Read the original statement here.


90 Years of History In One Volume
Submitted by Toni Brammeier, LWVMC Member

In celebration of LWV's 100 birthday, LWV Colorado published a revised history featuring the histories of many local Leagues as well as biographies of past League leaders.

You can order your own copy on Amazon for $15 plus tax! Just type “League of Women Voters of Colorado” into the search field.


A Tribute to Treasured Member, Marcia Ann Kepler-Bilbao
Submitted by Anita Pisciotte, LWVMC Member

In January we lost our League colleague Marcia.  Marcia was a Radiologist, who served as Chief Radiologist at the VA in Salt Lake City and later at the Grand Junction VA Medical Center before her retirement in 2002.  In her career she received 14 national and international awards in recognition of her authorship or co-authorship of 53 publications and for numerous presentations at U.S. and overseas conference sites.  Two awards were given in recognition of a diagnostic procedure she created, known as Needle-Breast Biopsy and for her co-invention of the Bilbao-Dotter Catheter. These tools and techniques are categorically still in use.

Marcia loved the mountains and proudly earned her membership in the American Alpine Club in 1973 after climbing 50 peaks and completing one first ascent.  In 1993 accompanied by her dog Mollie, Marcia backpacked 500 miles across Oregon at age 62 on the Pacific Crest Trail. After her marriage to David “Bill” Pilkenton in 1997, they spent summers backpacking and camping in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah mountain wildernesses until 2017. 

Marcia was known for being bold, courageous, adventurous, and resourceful.  She was an eager participant in hiking, yoga, and many activities.  A friend described Marcia as a scientist, through and through, always looking to build a better mousetrap.  She was an adventurer, poet, artist, writer, a great storyteller, loving mother, wife, and friend.  Above all she was kind and savored all of life. 

She gave generously of her time and resources to charitable causes, including the League of Women Voters. Marcia’s husband David Pilkenton has been an active member of the League, serving on the Board and the Leadership team, as well as serving as Program Chair and Membership and Leadership Development Liaison.  Marcia’s positive embrace of life and others will be remembered and missed.

Contributions in memory of Marcia may be made to the League of Women Voters of Mesa County Member Support Fund in order to establish a fund to provide CMU students complementary membership in the LWV.



Thank You For the Memories, Duane Carr
Submitted by Anita Pisciotte, LWVMC Member

This winter, we lost Duane Carr. Duane was an active member of the League of Women Voters of Mesa County. He and his late wife, Arleta, attended every event and sponsored the venue for the League presentations at the Unitarian Universalist Church. They were active members of the church, as well.

Duane attended Western Colorado University in Gunnison and Purdue University. He was a teacher, in as far-ranging areas as Coe College in Iowa and in Ethiopia. Some of his friends contributed thoughts on his Facebook page that we are pleased to share:

“Duane was a very unusual person—he loved humanity one person at a time. One of William Wordsworth’s poems describe Duane well, “the best portion of a good man’s life is his little nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love”;

“Duane lightened me with his all-inclusive humanistic life attitude: no judgment, no prejudices, but a genuine interest in the other and a strong helping hand and heart. I haven’t forgotten the walks …at their summer cabin. With fondness and with pride he talked about his environment—he seemed to know every little blade of grass, each little stone and most importantly the name of each wildflower and stone where he walked.";

“Duane and Arleta often took me for a walk in the woods. They taught me plants’ names like Jack-in-the-pulpit, May Apple, Columbine, Solomon’s Seals. They taught me how to enjoy little things.”

He posted magical photographs of nature on Facebook that he had taken, often with a poetic caption, for example. “Fall is in the air, in the beauty and clear water, endless hills and golden grasses.“

We will miss this kind, generous, thoughtful man of nature and his dedication to human rights.


A Voter Services Committee Update
By Robyn Parker, LWVMC Member & Voter Services Coordinator

League of Women Voters exists because of a conviction that voting empowers each of us to make change, regardless of our gender, race, religion, or economic circumstances. The 2020 elections, the failed insurrection attempt of 2021, and the impeachment of a president for “incitement of insurrection” proved the power of the ballot box in the United States. A fair and just government shall come, not from violence but from participation in our electoral process by all eligible voters.

With our right to vote, comes frequent elections and an obligation for voters to participate. The dust from the 2020 elections and their aftermath may have barely settled, but it’s already time for Grand Junction’s spring 2021 elections. Soon after that, there’ll be the fall 2021 elections featuring school board candidates and ballot questions.

This April 6, 2021, Grand Junction residents will vote in the Regular Municipal Election for City Council candidates and Ballot Questions. Ballots will be mailed to eligible voters March 15-22, 2021.

Grand Junction’s ballot is likely to create heated drama with its questions about marijuana and the wide-ranging views of candidates for city council. Medical marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2000 and recreational marijuana since 2012, but now in 2021, Grand Junction voters will vote on legalization and taxes.

Grand Junction Ballot Question 2A asks about a marijuana sales tax and Ballot Question 2B asks about legalizing marijuana sales within the city limits. Referred Measure 2C asks about an easement to connect a planned riverfront trail for the property located at 347 and 348 27 ½ Road and 2757 C ½ Road.

In addition to the ballot questions, Grand Junction voters will elect four new city councilors. Running for District A are Mark McCallister and Rick Taggart, for District D are Greg Haitz and Dennis Simpson, for District E are Jody Green and Abe Herman, and At-Large are Kraig Andrews and Randall Reitz.

More information about the election, candidates, and ballot question can be found here: https://www.gjcity.org/277/Election-Information.




LWV Call to Action

LWVUS Call to Action: Support the For the People Act
Submitted by Toni Brammeier, LWVMC Member

In February, LWVUS issued the following Action Alert encouraging LWV members and friends to contact members of Congress and encourage them to support the For the People Act:

The For the People Act is the democracy reform bill the American people want and deserve. This legislation will put power back into the hands of American voters by making voting easier and more accessible and by modernizing future elections. Over the last two years, we saw it pass the House or Representatives, but get stalled at the Senate. With the start of the 117th Congress it is imperative that the For the People Act once more become a top priority. The For the People Act addresses some of the most pressing issues facing our democracy because it will:
  •  Restore the Voting Rights Act
  •  Modernize our voter registration system
  •  Update the public financing of elections through small donor matching funds
  • Curb partisan gerrymandering, and
  • Make campaign contributions more transparent.
Contact your Representative TODAY through the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and tell them to pass the For The People Act. Put control of our government back where it belongs—into the hands of the people.

Contact your Members of Congress and tell them to support this important legislation! Locate your elected officials here.

Read the original Action Alert and view a sample letter to Congress here

LWVCO Call to Action: Support HB21-1071 Ranked Choice Voting In Nonpartisan Elections
Submitted by Toni Brammeier, LWVMC Member

In February, LWVCO issued the following Action Alert encouraging LWV members and friends to contact your local representatives (including County Clerks) and share your support of this important Colorado bill:

To all LWVCO members and supporters:
 
LWVCO urges you to support Ranked Choice Voting In Nonpartisan Elections, sponsored by Representative Kennedy, Representative Arndt and Senator Fenberg.  

Beginning in 2023, the bill allows a municipality to refer a municipal election using instant runoff voting to be conducted as part of a coordinated election.  This bill furthers the LWVCO position on voting methods, which supports authorizing and implementing alternatives to plurality voting that improves the election experience, encourages honest voting and considers ease of implementation.

HB21-1071 will be heard in the House State, Civic, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee on Monday February 22 at 1:30 pm.  Please contact your Representative today asking them to support this legislation.  In addition, support of the County Clerks will be essential in getting this important legislation passed.  We also ask that you contact your County Clerk & Recorder and share your perspective on why this bill is needed in your community!

Read the original Action Alert
here.



LWV Colorado News

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold awarded the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Medallion Award to LWVCO due to the League's significant contributions to the success of the 2020 General Election. Read more here and here.

Sign-up to receive LWV Colorado's newsletter at lwvcolorado.org
.



LWV National News

LWVUS has released its list of priorities for the new Biden administration focusing on progress, peace, prosperity, and unity. Read the complete list here.

The League's policy document, Impact on Issues 2020-2022, is now available on Amazon as a Kindle eBook for $5. Check it out! And stay tuned for the paperback print version to become available on Amazon soon.

LWVUS issued the following statement on the Biden administration's climate executive orders: "The latest executive orders clearly establish climate change as a major priority for our nation. Climate change is the most pressing global issue of our time, and the League recognizes that the federal government is best positioned to lead with climate policies that are consistent with the best available climate science. This executive order is an important step, which the League supports and hopes will be the first of many in the long and necessary effort to ensure a safe and improved climate system for future generations." Read the full press release here.

Juliana v. United States is a landmark case involving 21 young people’s constitutional challenge against the U.S. government for its role in causing the climate crisis. In February, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a rehearing with the entire circuit. Read more about the case in LWVUS's Climate Action Toolkit.

In January, LWVUS released a statement supporting the impeachment of former President Donald Trump. Read the full statement here.

LWVUS and LWV Rhode Island filed an amicus brief in the case of Cook v. Raimondo, in which twelve student plaintiffs are suing the state of Rhode Island to demand a right to an education adequate to prepare students to engage in civic society. Read more about the suit here.

LWVUS released a statement condeming the January 6th attack on our U.S. capital: "This is a dark day in the history of the United States of America. Today’s activity on Capitol Hill should have been a procedural exercise to finalize the 2020 election. Instead, our nation's Capitol was attacked by domestic terrorists seeking to invalidate the will of the people. The actions by these terrorists have no impact on the results of the election. This violent mob was encouraged by an outgoing president who lost re-election in a free and fair election..." Read the full statement here.

On January 4th, LWVUS released a statement on the certification of the presidential election. Read the full statement here.

In December, LWVUS joined Hecox v. Little, a lawsuit challenging Idaho’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act as an act of solidarity with all women and non-binary individuals. Read more about the lawsuit and LWVUS's involvement here.

Also in December, LWVUS board of directors took steps to withdraw recognition of the League of Women Voters of Nevada due to "multiple policy violations". Read the full statement from the board here.

LWVUS calls on the Biden administration to reinstate the moratorium on the death penalty. Read the League's letter to the administration here.



Clubs & Committees

LWV Mesa County is currently recruiting volunteers to serve on the following committees for our upcoming 2020-2021 season.

Voter Services Committee
If Voter Education is your thing, then the Voter Services Committee is where you need to be. Help us plan Voter Education Drives, Election Forums, and Get Out The Vote campaigns.

Program & Event Committee
Do you like entertaining? Do you have an idea for an activity or a speaker that will appeal to our LWV members and friends? Join the Program & Event Committee and help us see your idea to fruition.

Membership Committee
If meeting new people is your idea of the best time, then how about joining the Membership Committee?! Help us welcome new members and stay in touch with all of our friends.

Communications & Technology Committee
Do you spend an inordinate amount of time playing around on your device(s)? Why not channel some of that online energy to a worthy cause? Join our CommTech Committee and help us promote our mission over the Interweb.

Fundraising Committee
LWV Mesa County has an aggressive fundraising goal for the 2020-2021 season. Help us come up with some creative ways to meet that goal!

Leadership Committee
And if a little bit of all of the above sounds interesting, then the Leadership Committee wants you!


LWV Mesa County members must be logged in to sign-up for a committee. If you need help with your username please email us at tech@lwvmesa.org.



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