2017-18 Program Action Groups
How the League decides on a program
The annual program for action arises from the suggestions of members. A local League’s “action” or advocacy program is determined by members at its annual meeting; state and national programs are voted on by delegates at state and national League conventions.
The League’s program consists of those governmental issues that the League has chosen for focused study and action at the national, state or local level. It is our disciplined, nonpartisan work on today’s issues that has earned our local League a strong reputation as change agents and won us awards, including the Gardner Beckett Civil Liberties Award.
In the course of the program adoption discussion, League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area members often give suggestions on scope of inquiry, timing, emphasis, and ways to handle the study and/or action phases. Attendees at our annual program planning meeting assess current program components and also consider new advocacy or study project suggestions for inclusion into the next year’s plan. Formal adoption of the program occurs at an annual meeting in late April.
Initiatives for Education and/or Advocacy
Education Action Groups
- Voter Service, led by Raechel Garafalo: focus on providing voter registration and education through conduct of candidate forums and informational seminars, as well as publication of the League’s online voter guide. This group also works to get out the vote (GOTV).
- International Relations, led by Judy McSwine: focus on meetings.
- Social Justice, led by Julie Kessel: focus on bringing films to screen and organizing panel discussions to promote public awareness of topics including poverty and the death penalty.
Advocacy Action Groups
Meet regularly to influence public policy through education and advocacy. These groups collect information, engage in discussion and strategy, promote events and awareness.
- Campaign Finance Reform, led by Julie Kessel and Karen Lieberman: educate elected officials and the general public on the influence big campaign donors and allies have on public policy.
- Education, led by Robin Jones and Iris Yetter: focus on the five challenged schools in South St. Petersburg, understanding the issues and actions being taken.
- Gun Safety, led by Sharon Winters: focus on surveying legislation as it arises, educating the public on gun safety, and preparing to squash bad bills in the next session.
- Health Care, led by Julie Kessel: educate people about the issues of uninsured in Florida, focus to collect personal stories about the burden of gaps in care, prepare for action.
- Immigration, led by Karen Coale and Lydia Castle: focus on surveying legislation, crafting messaging, preparing for action to squash punitive bills.
- Reproductive Rights, led by Amy Weintraub: focus on surveying legislation as it arises, educating the public on the value of equal and safe access to the full range of reproductive health care – from abortion to birth control to evidence-based sex education, and preparing to squash bad bills in the next session.
- Sustainability, led by Claire Karas, Lisa Vanover, and Susan Tuite: focus on development, likely to align to State focus on establishing solar coops in St. Petersburg to bring down pricing, pushing for cost friendly legislation, and working with local municipalities to support solar.
- Voter Protection, led by Stephanie Owens: focus on ensuring that citizens have opportunity and information to exercise their right to vote via proactive reforms such as expanded early voting and online voter registration, protecting existing pro-voter laws, and challenging efforts to limit voter access to the polls.
Other LWSPA Groups/Committees
- Communications, led by Julie Kessel, is made up of Board Members and the Promotion Chair to ensure best practices are being used as we communicate about our work and our mission.
- Fundraising and Event Coordination, led by Michelene Everett and Erin Cody: focus on supplementing dues income with fundraisers. We send out annual appeal letters and hold special events.
- Member Services, led by Jamie Dixon: focus on creating a positive and seamless experience for new and sustaining members, tapping into members’ interests and utilizing their talents.
- Promotion, led by Amy Weintraub: works to promote the League and its events to our members and the greater community via the LWVSPA website, social media, print and email communications, and the traditional media.