This issue includes: President's letter, Chair's Corner, Calendar of Events, and more!
March 2017
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President's Letter

We’re into March and we’re two months into a new Congress and a new administration.  Unfortunately, we see the same factions and fissures, making it difficult for bipartisanship to develop and flourish.
In the “old days” Congressional legislators got to know each other because while in Washington, they lived with each other, shared off-hours activities, recreated with each other’s families.  Now, not so much. We know the circumstances that over time created the deep differences that make compromise next to impossible. No need to repeat the litany.
But there is a bright spot! Cokie Roberts of NPR and ABC News points out in a recent editorial in America magazine that despite Congressional polarization, women legislators of both parties continue to meet regularly to get to know each other and build trust in order to advance legislation that affects all Americans. What a concept! We saw evidence of this cooperation in the recent confirmation hearings when two Republican women voted with their Democratic colleagues.  It wasn’t enough to sway the outcome, but it’s a start!
Currently, 19% of the House and 21% of the Senate are female – still far from the female majority of American population.   Yet, these women -- and their practice of communicating with each other -- offer hope that their influence and numbers are growing.  The solution to gridlock may well be to elect more women to Congress!

--Barbara Wysocki, League of Women Voters of Champaign County President

Community Conversations:

The stalemate continues and so does our conversation

Hard to believe! It’s now nearly two years since the state of Illinois enacted a budge!  The governor continues to schedule and address the legislature regarding the state budget, but he and the House Speaker haven’t spoken in over two months; a compromise supposedly worked out over the holidays was defeated even before it was proposed.
Meanwhile, in Champaign County, agencies that address the needs of citizens continue to struggle. On Wednesday, March 15th, and again on Wednesday, April 19th we will focus on MENTAL HEALTH and PHYSICAL HEALTH and their struggles with a state that offers no budget support.
Why two months devoted to health agencies?  In separate conversations with prospective panelists they all agreed and insisted that our community begin to think and talk about mental and physical health as inter-related. When the state defunds a critical program, drives an agency out of existence, or forces a merger, it definitely affects other health institutions and the general well-being of the community. No longer should physical nor mental health issues be thought to exist in a vacuum.
 To that end, our panel on Wednesday March 15th will include:
                 Jack Anderson, President, Champaign County Nursing Home Board
                 Dr. Susan Fowler, President, Champaign County Mental Health Board
                 Shelia Ferguson, Executive Director, Rosecranes

On Wednesday, April 19th, our panel will include:
                 Charlene Gundbrandsen, Executive Director, GROW of Illinois
                 Nancy Greenwalt,Executive Director, Promise Healthcare
                 Julie Pryde, Director, C-U Public Health District   
You don’t want to miss these presentations, so mark your calendar, call a friend, arrive early to get a good seat!  Both programs will begin at noon at the Urbana City Building.

There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music.”
– George Eliot

Looking for some relief?  In celebration of Women’s History month, the St. Pat’s Youth Orchestra will present a concert devoted to the works of women composers. The Orchestra is composed of students from area high schools who come together, despite very busy schedules and different religious backgrounds, to perform some of the best music you will ever hear. Their conductor this year is Renata Herrera, a senior at University High School. The students not only perform but also do the selecting and arrangements of program offerings, and determine their own rehearsal schedule. Adults provide the oversight, artistic advising, and support; St. Patrick’s Church provides the umbrella organization and the venue.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS – Sunday, March 12th at 6:30 in St. Patrick’s Church (708 W. Main, Urbana) – a free will donation is welcome!

Calendar of Events

We hope to see you there!

  • Monday 3/6/17 – Parkland Board Candidates Forum
    • 7:00 pm, Parkland Student Union
  • Wednesday 3/8/17 – Urbana Mayoral Candidates Forum
    • 7:00 pm, Urbana City Building
  • Wednesday 3/15/17 – LWVCC Monthly Meeting
    • Lack of a State Budget on Local Mental/Physical Health
    • 12:00 pm, Urbana City Building
  • Wednesday, 3/22/17 – LWVCC Board Meeting
    • 12:00 pm, Urbana Free Library

To stay updated on these events and more, connect with us on FaceBook or Twitter. 
Future Events
Saturday/Sunday – 6/10-11/17
  • LWVIL Convention
  • Des Plaines, Hilton Garden Inn
Thursday-Sunday – 6/28-7/1/18
  • LWVUS Convention
  • Chicago, Hilton Hotel

Chair's Corner

Recently, I sat down with League member Celeste Choate and President Wysocki to talk about ways to improve League’s presence on line.  As Director of the Urbana Free Library, Celeste had thought about ways that both League and the Library could strengthen their collaboration for the benefit of both organizations and the larger community.  So, we’re implementing two new features:
1) Our website will carry the Calendars of both the Urbana and Champaign libraries.  Community meetings, children’s activities, and other pertinent information will be found there.  Our job will be to publicize their presence on our FB.

2) Bienvenido al sitio web de LWVCC, et Bienvenue sur le site Web de LWVCC!  Our website is now available in Spanish and French! Google offers a free translation service in any number of languages.  We settled on French and Spanish because these are the official languages of our local schools and, subsequently, both local libraries.  Again, we will monitor usage over time; meanwhile we will continue to assess other local services that should be promoted on our website.
Krista Evensen, Communications Director/Chair

A Leaguer You Should Know

Kudos to Nicole Anderson-Cobb for the thoughtful, provocative plays that inspire audience discussion on gun violence in the 21st. century!
The plays are short – each about ten minutes long, each offering a perspective on guns in our culture.  The ten plays in this series were selected from two hundred submissions and focused on ordinary but significant impacts of guns in our midst.  Map of Chicago, for example, is about a chance encounter of two people – a black male, a white female – in a public park in Chicago. Initially aware of their differences, they struggle to communicate, only to realize at the end that each are mourning the loss of a child due to a random shooting.
The subsequent conversation among audience members got everyone out of their familiar comfort zones.  And that in itself was refreshing and challenging! Groups were small and everyone had to really listen to new and unfamiliar voices because no one knew what new perspectives there would be.  The discussion time passed quickly and there was a desire to hear and say more.
The next set of plays  -- focused on GUNS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT -- will be on Monday, March 27th @ 7:00 at the Station Theater.  Make the effort to expose yourself to a great experience!


The state League is gearing up for a study regarding the consolidation of taxing districts.  They have  already sent out preliminary surveys to local Leagues and promise that materials for a systematic study will be forthcoming. Probably more will be shared at the upcoming state convention in June.
Trisha Crowley has agreed to chair our effort.  So, if you’re interested in working on this issue, please contact Trisha  ( and offer your name. 


Raneem for  President!

Raneem Shamseldin, our secretary for the campus League, is running for student body president! Check out her website at to learn more about her uniting platform. LWVCC is proud to have such ambitious young women representing our cause at the campus level!

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 © 2017 League of Women Voters of Champaign County, All rights reserved.

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