This issue includes: President's letter, Community Conversations, the Annual Report, and more!
December 2016 / January 2017
View this email in your browser

President's Letter

The 2016 election results are now official, and from a League perspective, there is good news:
 

  • The UIUC student vote was larger than ever – almost 10,000 votes were cast, and this number does not include those who voted absentee in their home counties. The student vote here tied the county-wide vote at 68% of eligible voters.
 
  • For those hoping to witness the election of the first U.S.  female president, there’s consolation in that Clinton received the larger popular vote nationwide (by at least two million)  and a 2-1 majority in Champaign County.
 
  • In Illinois, women won 16 of the 102 State’s Attorney Offices.  Four of those are in East Central Illinois counties – Champaign, Douglas, Piatt, and Vermilion. 
 
  • The Unit 4 school referendum (which LWVCC endorsed) passed by a 2-1 majority, despite the high price tag and the ambitious list of projects. 

 
Embedded in these results is citizen/voter participation – volunteering time and money, writing letters to the editor, talking to friends and strangers, registering new voters, working at the polls. Democracy demands these activities of us as citizens, and LWVCC has always promoted these kinds of civic engagement.
 
The bad news is that the rules have changed. Verifiable facts and accurate information meant little; name-calling replaced respect and common decency and overwhelmed a much-needed serious discussion of the issues; outright fake news became credible as their constant repetition on social media camouflaged them as true. These changes are subtle, insidious, hard to detect, and herein lies League’s challenges for the future. How does League encourage civil discourse? How do we insure that everyone is heard? How does League insist on a search for the truth?
 
–Barbara Wysocki, President

Upcoming Events

We hope to see you there!

 
  • Wednesday, 12/21/16 – Monthly Meeting: The Impact of the Lack of a State Budget on the Environment and Natural Resources
    • Urbana City Council Chambers, 12:00 pm
 
  • Friday, 1/13/17 – County-wide Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration
    • Parkland College, 4:00 pm
    • LWVCC is a sponsor
                                   
  • Tuesday, 1/24/17 – LWVCC Board Meeting
    • Urbana Free Library, 12:15 pm
 
  • Wednesday, 1/25/17 – Monthly Meeting: The Impact of the Lack of a State Budge on Public Schools.
    • Urbana City Council Chambers, 12:00 pm
 
  • Saturday, 1/28/17 – Jr. League Training Bootcamp
    • Champaign Public Library,         10:30 am-3:00 pm
    • LWVCC presentation at 2:00 pm
 
  • Tuesday, 4/4/17 – Equal Pay Day Rally in Chicago. More details later.
 
  • Saturday/Sunday, 6/10-11/17 – LWVIL State Convention
    • Hilton Garden Inn at the Chicago O'Hare Airport, Des Plaines, IL

To stay updated on these events and more, connect with us on FaceBook or Twitter. 

Still More Community Conversation...

 

Even though we’re moving into the holiday season, our conversations about the serious implications of living in a state with no budget continues.  On December 21st, we will focus on the impact of the environment and our natural resources.  How does the state perform its regulatory functions through such departments as IEPA, IDNR, and other agencies when they are not properly funded?  How will not-for-profits continue the work of protecting our waterways, acquiring land for future generations, instructing us in the lessons gleaned from our natural environment?  Helping us understand and discern the problems will be: Carol Hayes, Executive Dr. of Prairie Rivers Network, Steve Stierwalt, Champaign County Soil & Water District, and Scott Tess, Environmental Sustainability Director for the city of Urbana.

On January 25th, we will turn our attention toward public education.  Schools in our county at all levels are already working on 2017-2018 budgets, anticipating even less financial support from the state. The future of programs, faculty, and other school personnel will be under review and hard decisions will be necessary if their already-depressed budgets are to balance.

Our panelists will be Dr. Tom Ramage, President of Parkland College, Dr. Don Owen, Superintendent of Unit 116 in Urbana, and a representative of the Office of Regional Superintendent of Ford/Champaign County.

Both meetings will be held at the Urbana City Council Building and begin at 12 noon.  Bring your questions and concerns; bring a friend or two.

DID YOU KNOW?

The next edition of THE VOTER will be in early February.  In the meantime, have a good holiday, cherish your visits with family and friends, take opportunities to recharge your own interests and energies.

Annual Report

 
As one calendar year closes and another begins, let’s remember and celebrate our League’s activities these past twelve months.  Consider:
 
  • Candidate Forums in both the spring primaries and fall elections,
  • Voter registration almost continually throughout the year in both the county and on campus,
  • Public information meetings on four local referenda,
  • Petition drive for Redistricting of state legislative districts, and
  • Mock elections in eleven local high schools throughout Champaign County.

AND LWVCC...

  • Initiated a series of County/Community Conversations as we assessed the local impact of Illinois’ failure to approve a budget,
  • Sent four members to Washington for the League’s National Convention,
  • Continued to support our intern and her good work on the UIUC campus,
  • Interviewed members for the League’s growing oral history file,
  • Agreed to host the 2019 LWVIL convention.

Soon the Nominating Committee will be charged to identify new officers and board members; please offer your services for a two-year commitment. The Finance Committee will be looking for monetary contributions to sustain League’s presence and work in our community; please give generously. The Membership Committee is always inviting women and men to join League and build our membership for the challenges ahead; please encourage friends and family members to join. League membership is now open to non-citizens and those 16 and older.
Share
Tweet
Forward

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.  The LWCC influences public policy through education and advocacy, working on various issues at local and national levels. League members come from all walks of life – united by our shared understanding of the importance of political literacy, we celebrate being non-partisan and diverse in our identities, affiliations, and experiences.

Copyright © 2016 League of Women Voters of Champaign County, All rights reserved.