Wisconsin’s League of Women Voters met at UW-Marathon County in Wausau for its 2012 Annual Meeting on Friday-Saturday, June 1-2. Recalling her days as a member of the Fond Du Lac Chapter, Joan Hauer said that, “It is equally fun and rewarding to be part of this newly formed non-partisan LWV Northwoods Members-At-Large Group and ” its valuable non-partisan voter education services and programs.”
The Friday evening keynote speaker, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Kelly, spoke on “Maintaining a Fair and Independent Judiciary.” Saturday morning’s keynote Dr. Margaret Holt, Emeritus Professor at the University of Georgia, is also known for her expertise and work with the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS.)
Dr. Holt’s subtitle of “Recommendations for Bridging the Partisan Divide and Moving Wisconsin Forward” immediately caught every attendee’s attention. Although she opened with “These are the times that try people’s souls,” Dr. Holt clearly motivated League of Women Voter members and their various chapters throughout the state to be leaders in helping our state return civility to our political discussions and assisting the electorate to think more deeply on public policy issues.
By following the processes used in the National Issues Forums held across the country, she explained how the League’s local chapters can and must be the community force for real policy education instead of just endless sound bites. Since research shows that excessive polarization is dangerous for both mental and physical health, Dr. Holt suggested that various League chapters might want to take a look at their own County Health Ranking data just for starters in bringing various groups and leaders to the table.
The Northwoods Group has already held its first successful candidate forum this spring with Oneida County Circuit Court Judge candidates Patrick O’Melia and Michael Bloom. Members from the Greater Green Bay Area League said, “League organized candidate forums are a model for success because when you talk about civility, you get civility.”
For area women and men (yes, the League has male members) interested in becoming a part of this non-partisan LWV Northwoods Members-At-Large Group or helping with candidate forums and other voter/voting projects, email Jane Trotter at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the League’s website at lwvwi.org.
Meetings are currently rotating between Rhinelander and Minocqua, with the Thursday, June 21 meeting at 10 a.m. at the Oneida County Law Enforcement Center meeting room in Rhinelander, and the July 26 meeting at 10 a.m. at the Minocqua Public Library.