The Voter, July, 2016 news from the  League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County'

League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County Officers and Directors
Rebecca Johnson, Co-President
Judy Hopkinson, Co-President
Allison Aurand, Vice-President
Susan Mancuso, Secretary
Donna Williams, Treasurer
Riley Abel
Kirsten Barron
 Jean Carmean
Amy Cloud
Caroline Correa
Janice Keller
Joy Monjure


Women's Economic Security
Continuing Conversation Group
July 13, 2016  
12:30 - 2:00 PM  
Whatcom Center for Philanthropy
Large Conference Room
1500 Cornwall Avenue
(Washington Federal Bank Bldg) 

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Continuing Conversation Group

Topic: Advance Care Planning & Palliative Care

July 18, 2016  
10:00 - 11:30 AM  
Community Co-op (Cordata)
 Roots Room
315 Westerly Road
Bellingham, 98226

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Commissioner of Public Lands
Candidate Forum

July 18, 2016  
6:30 - 8:00 PM  
Bellingham City Hall
Council Chambers
210 Lottie Street 

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Bellingham Pride Day
Join the Parade!

Come join League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom as we show our support for this annual event sponsored by Bellingham Pride.  
Sunday, July 10th
12:00 noon - 4:00 PM

Parade marchers gather no later than 11:45 on Sunday, July 10, at the intersection of Cornwall and Ohio Streets. The parade ends at the Festival at Depot Market Square (1100 Railroad) where the League will be registering voters.  
We need volunteers to help set up the registration table between 11:30 and 11:45, to help carry the “LWV Banner” in the parade, and to register voters after the parade.  Let us know what appeals to you!

For further information or to sign-up, please contact either:
Judy Hopkinson  
(360) 920-1728 
Donna Williams  
(360) 306-1914
Read more about Bellingham Pride & the Festival here. 

Primary Election News

The 2016 Primary Election Online Voters' Guide is available on the Whatcom Auditor's Website:

Voters will make their choices on a number of important State offices including the race for Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and Commissioner for Public Lands.

The May 25th OSPI Candidate forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters, Woodring College and the Bellingham School District was recorded & is available here

Psst...  Don't turn in your ballot until you've had a chance to evaluate the Candidates for Commissioner of Public Lands at our forum on July 18th!
See you there! 


To Our New Members  

We send a warm welcome to these women and men who have joined our League since the last issue of the Voter.

Barbara and Mel Davidson
Melinda Hardin
Ken & Kathy Hertz
Linda Kehoe
Gwen McEwen

It's great to have you!

If you haven't already done so now is the time to renew your League membership (for July 2016 through June 2017).

We value your membership and encourage you to renew today.  You won't want to miss this exciting election year with the League.

Easy to Renew
You can renew online using our website: 
Email and ask for a dues payment form with instructions for mailing.

Our League offers some scholarship help to those who wish to get involved. Information is on our website.   

** Note, If you joined our League after 1/31/2016, your dues are paid through June 2017.  


Upcoming Voter Registration Efforts Around Whatcom County

 Volunteers are greatly appreciated!

  We need to be present to register voters at these events.
  • July 9 – Blaine Saturday Market
  • July 10 – Pride Parade
  • August 6 – Bellingham Farmer's Market
  • August 27 – Ferndale Festival
  • August 31 – Bellingham Food Bank
And still to come, a Thursday at the Lynden Farmer's Market
Kudos to Voter Registration Coordinator, Carole Hanaway, and the other volunteers who have already been active at events this summer. We provide all the materials and excellent instructions to support our volunteers and provide this service to the community... and enjoy summer events.

Sign up today
Contact Carole to sign-up for a two-hour shift on the day of your choice. or 360-305-7771.


Programs, Programs, Programs
It takes a team!  

Join our team to plan some stimulating educational programs for the upcoming year.

Our September program will focus on issues concerning higher education.  Those interested in this topic are welcome to join in the planning process.  Please email Caroline Correa, Program Coordinator, at as soon as possible.   

Please let Caroline know if you'd like to help work on planning programs for other months of the year ahead. 

May 18, 2016 Annual Meeting     
Guest speaker, Marilyn Watkins - What's Behind the Wage Gap?

Video Recording 
July 2016

Primary Election Forum


Attend this lively forum to be sure that your vote is an informed vote.

On July 18th, the League has the honor of hosting a forum featuring the candidates running for the position of Commissioner of Public Lands. Seven candidates listed above are running to replace the current Commissioner, Peter Goldmark, who is retiring at the end of the year.

The Commissioner is the head of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and serves as the chair of the State Board of Natural Resources which sets policies for State trust lands. 

DNR and You
The Commissioner is responsible for millions of acres of publicly owned lands – DNR currently manages 5.6 million acres of forest, range, agricultural, aquatic, and commercial lands  The revenue generated from the sale of timber on public lands helps to support public schools and universities and correctional facilities in Washington. In 2015, the Department of Natural Resources distributed 65 million dollars for public services.

The DNR policies determine how the State balances our competing needs for quality habitat, clean water, fire management, clear cuts, timber sales and the forestry jobs that help support Washington families. Hence our quality of life and local economy can be impacted by the Commissioner of Public Land's decisions.  

A recent DNR decision recommending that the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal, proposed at the Port of Vancouver, should be denied state approval illustrates the importance of DNR and it’s elected Commissioner. 

Read more about DNR:  

Join us on July 18th from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Bellingham City Council Chambers.   

We are hosting this forum in partnership with The League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund, the City of Bellingham and the Washington Association of Land Trusts. The Bellingham Herald is our media partner.

Co-Presidents Judy Hopkinson and Rebecca Johnson Look at the Year Ahead

Remember the Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times”?  Well, here we are! 

Our democracy is at a crossroads, our habitat is in peril, our legislature is in contempt of court over school funding, and intolerance threatens to overwhelm our national character. What better time to review league mission and values? This is the organization we are committed to being/becoming:

Vision, Beliefs and Intentions:
The goal of the League of Women Voters is to empower citizens to shape better communities worldwide.
We believe in:

  • respect for individuals
  • the value of diversity
  • the empowerment of the grassroots, both within the League and in communities
  • the power of collective decision-making for the common good

We will:

  • act with trust, integrity and professionalism
  • operate in an open and effective manner to meet the needs of those we serve
  • take the initiative in seeking diversity in membership
  • acknowledge our heritage as we seek our path to the future

This is League. This is why and how we work together. Our members have always been ready and willing to do whatever it takes to build the future our children and grandchildren deserve. Fortunately, we have the vision and the values that enable us not only to be effective but also to bring out the very best in each of us as we work together.  So let’s get started!  

Summer Activities & Opportunities for Members
The summer season for the League begins with the Bellingham Pride Parade on July 10th. Come and join in the march, register voters, and demonstrate by your presence that the League respects and protects the rights of all people. Next up, will be our election forum on July 18 for Commissioner of Public Lands. On August 22, we will once again monitor elections for the Washington Square Residents Council. And on multiple occasions in Bellingham, Ferndale, Lynden, and Blaine, we will register voters and encourage residents to use their power to vote to create the communities they want.  And this is just summer – when we generally “slow down!” 

It is going to be an exciting year, and we look forward to working with each and every one of you.
In League,  Judy and Rebecca


Above: Delegates from the Leagues of Washington State who attended the recent LWV National Convention in Washington DC.  Bellingham/Whatcom County League Co-President, Rebecca Johnson (second from left in the back row) and Vice- President, Allison Aurand (front row center) represented our League.

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2016 National LWV Convention Update from Rebecca Johnson

The convention was an exhilarating experience and the LWV 2016-2018 Program will be challenging and exciting.

Allison Aurand and I enjoyed a tour of the capital led by Congressman Rick Larsen's Legislative Director and brief meetings with the Congressman outside of House Chambers in his t
wo-minute breaks between votes. With others in our LWVWA delegation, we met Senator Murray outside of the Senate Chambers, and Senator Cantwell in her office. We are proud that our national representatives have signed onto the Voting Rights Advancement Act, the top legislative priority of LWVUS.

Last but not least was watching the LWVUS parliamentarian in action as we voted to change League membership age and citizenship requirements. As a result, members may join at age 16, and are no longer required to be US citizens.

It was a busy, exhausting 5 days of meetings from 7:30 AM to 9:45 PM. I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

Follow the Youtube link below for some outstanding convention presentations.

Martha Burns

Carrie Chapman Catt Award
Each year the LWVBWC honors a member who has shown a strong and enduring commitment to our League.   This year's honoree was Martha Burns.

When announcing the award at our Annual Meeting on May 18th, Co-President Judy Hopkinson stated that Martha "was a gentle force of nature - and very efficient... She quietly shows up when she is needed, works hard and smart, makes it all seem effortless, and leaves behind smiling faces."

Many of you have no doubt seen Martha working at voter registration events or checking in candidates at our election forums - where her manner invariably puts the candidates at ease.

Because she was traveling at the time of our annual meeting, Martha actually received the award a little later. She was delighted to be honored but reminded us that many others also deserve to be remembered.  

Martha served as president of our board for 4 years in the 1990's. During that time, she appreciated the support and work of other dedicated Leaguers. When she was League President, the Bellingham/Whatcom County League took bold action to put the brakes on a project to expand the pier and construct off-shore drilling platforms at Cherry Point. After leaving the League board, Martha has generously given her support and counsel in numerous ways and has been especially active with voter service work.

Kudos to Martha Burns and the many others who have worked to improve this community through the League of Women Voters.

Meet a Member
Amy Cloud

Amy Cloud is a true Whatcom County native. Born in Bellingham, Amy has long known about the work of the League because she and her three sisters were encouraged to watch the forums hosted by the League so they'd know “what was going on.”

After graduating from Sehome High School, Amy felt the need to get-outta-town and headed to Walla Walla where she earned a BA in English, with a minor in Political Science at Whitman College. After graduation and a stint in Seattle, Amy had a couple career-defining internships. The first, with the Women's Equity Action League in Washington DC, launched her involvement with the National Women’s Political Caucus where she spent 12 years on the NWPC national steering committee. Later Amy interned in Knoxville, Tennessee with 13-30, a national publication company owned by the creators of Channel One (which had a mission to encourage students to be informed, digital-savvy global citizens). During this internship, one of her fondest and most enduring memories in professional communication came  when she interviewed PBS-TV's "Mr. Rogers" who she described as being "just as sweet and kind as he was on TV".

Amy was called back home to Bellingham and spent nearly 20 years at KVOS-TV. There she created and covered local legislative and political news and produced award-winning public affairs shows. Next, she was hired as News Bureau Coordinator for University Communications at WWU, during which time she also earned a Master's degree in Adult Education.

She spent seven years working for PeaceHealth as Communications Officer for St. Joseph, United General and Peace Island medical centers and recently she took a communications position with the City of Bellingham Public Works Department.

Amy is the mother of a 19-year-old daughter. Her love of our community is evident and she enjoys sharing her memories of the people and places she has come to know over her many years here.

Amy was honored to join the Board of the League this year because she is inspired by the smart, capable, thoughtful, caring people that are having a real impact in our community. Among the many issues she is concerned about are economic and social equity. She believes the League has a unique role in researching these issues and empowering people to act.

The League’s work aligns with Amy's life-long interests and passion for both politics and communications and we are lucky to have her as an active member.



The Good News  

While the Incarceration Prevention & Reduction Task Force has been busy at work sifting through massive amounts of information, listening to different points of view and otherwise performing the duties as directed by the County Council, the City of Bellingham has moved forward with many changes.  These changes are intended to help reduce their portion of the inmate population in the Whatcom County Jail.  Changes began in late February and had immediate and positive effects.  
Electronic Home Monitoring
The City entered into a contract with Friendship Diversion Services, a private agency to provide necessary services.  It has been reported that in the first quarter (February 23 through May 2016) the Municipal Court permitted 85 defendants to serve their sentences on electronic home detention. This represented 1,376 days that would likely otherwise have been served in the Whatcom County Jail.   During this period,  48 defendants successfully served their sentences representing a total of 384 ‘jail’ days. The cost to the City of Bellingham was $1,473.82.  If those defendants had served their sentences inside of  the Whatcom County Jail, the cost would have been $40,272.00.  

The City has made other changes to their protocol including the use of electronic home monitoring for defendants awaiting trial, and early screening for the program. For those inmates not eligible for electronic home monitoring, the City is sending a portion of their inmate population to a jail facility in Yakima.  It is anticipated that these programs will bring some relief to the overcrowded Whatcom County Jail  -   All Good News!

Read more about the Task Force here.
 Jill Bernstein, Task Force Co-Chair

Healthcare Updates

Our Healthcare Committee continues to monitor healthcare issues, legislation, and policies.  The committee also  proposes education and advocacy actions to our League Board. Since our Mental Health program in March, we have had interesting speakers meet with us at our monthly meetings.  

Representatives from WAHA talked about community dental care, a representative from the Washington State Insurance Commissioners Office came from Olympia to meet with us and a representative from the Opportunity Council explained their "Housing First" program,  and a representative supporting advanced healthcare directives and palliative care visited us. 

Palliative Care & Hospice Education
Although this measure has not been endorsed by the LWVUS,  Healthcare Committee members have contacted their representatives in support of the HR 3119 – The Palliative Care & Hospice Education Training Act.  

This act allows more funding for healthcare workers to be trained to discuss palliative care and work with patients to set up their advanced directives. People on palliative care often live as long or longer than patients aggressively treated and are able to enjoy their final years without healthcare interventions.  

Read more about HR-3119  here  

There are now 183 co-sponsors including Representative Susan DelBene; Representative Rick Larsen has not signed on.

For more information, contact Sheri Lambert 360 398-2064 or
Board Briefs

Newly elected and continuing members of the LWVBWC Board had a productive retreat in June to kick off the year.

Tentative Schedule of Programs for Fall 2016 is as follows:  
September – Educational program topic:  Higher Education
October – Candidate forums 
November – Member Meeting with Cookies and Conversation
December – Elected officials reception

League wrote a letter expressing support for Carl Weimer’s water proposal to the County.  This advocacy aligns with our local League position on water resources in Whatcom County.

Voter Registration of youth has gone well.  74 Sehome high school students were registered in the spring. The school would like us to do this again next year.

Jean Carmean accepted a one-year appointment as Director on the Board and she will continue to work on advocacy.
Susan Mancuso, Secretary
The VOTER,  Summer Issue - July 2016 
Newsletter Editors, Annette Holcomb & Joy Monjure
Our mailing address is:
League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County
P.O. Box 4041, Bellingham, WA 98227
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