The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy.
This past week along with other LWVN members, I heard renowned civil rights activist Harry Belafonte and historians Michael Beschloss, Annette Gordon-Reed, and Jon Meacham reflect on the legacy of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. I was particularly struck by their consensus that great social change, as embodied by this singular piece of legislation, is possible ONLY when grassroots social movements and political action align.
As the 109th Tennessee General Assembly prepares for its consideration of Governor Bill Haslam's proposed INSURE TENNESSEE plan, we should take the panel's voting rights message to heart. Each of our voices--as League members and as citizens--has weight. We need to be sure that our state legislators understand how very important Insure Tennessee is for all Tennesseans. If you have not contacted your state legislators about this issue, please do so now. If you have relatives and friends in other counties, urge them to do the same. (The Tennessee General Assembly website makes it very easy to ensure we have correct contact information for our representatives and senators at http://www.capitol.tn.gov/legislators/.)
We have our eye on local issues as well. Regardless of whether or not you have children in public schools, the future of public education in our community affects all of us. Please plan to attend the First Friday program February 6 when Lisa Wiltshire of Metro Public Schools talks about the expansion of prekindergarten classes in Nashville and what the potential impact can be for all students. For those of you with time to volunteer, we also will have information available about opportunities to tutor children who need a little extra help to succeed.
Although we face the seemingly endless gray clouds of January, we can look forward with anticipation to warm and sunny skies for a fun Afternoon Social in Centennial Park on Sunday, March 17 as League members and friends commemorate "Nashville's Parade for Women's Voting" that occurred there for the first time 100 years ago. Mark your calendars now! Our signed and numbered prints of that event are available for sale at http://lwvnashville.org/print_purchase.html. All proceeds support operating costs for LWVN.
If you are an Amazon shopper, you can give a little boost to our LWV Tennessee Education Fund by shopping through http://smile.amazon.com/. Use this link as your portal for Amazon on-line shopping and the Amazon Foundation will donate 0.05 percent of your purchase to the nonprofit of your choice. Select the Ed Fund from the list and proceed with your on-line shopping. Your small change will add up to dollars for our ongoing educational activities in the community!
LWVN is partnering with the Junior League of Nashville and the Women's Political Collaborative of Tennessee to host a public forum about Governor Haslam's Insure Tennessee plan that will provide health care for at least 200,000 working Tennesseans who are currently uninsured. The forum, which is open to the public, will be held Thursday, January 29 at 7:00 pm in the Junior League headquarters in Green Hills, 2202 Crestmoor Road, Nashville 37215. This is a wonderful opportunity to get in-depth information about the plan in the days before the Legislature considers it during their special session.
A few weeks later LWVN will partner with United Ways of Tennessee and the Tennessee Association for the Education of Young Children for a Day on the Hill on Wednesday, February 18. Our joint focus for the day will be: Advocacy for high academic standards in public education, funding for pre-kindergarten classrooms, and quality after-school programming. At 8:30 am we will meet in the state Capitol Senate Chamber to recognize some outstanding advocates for education and provide a bit of background on the focus areas. Participants can schedule meetings with their own legislators after 10:15 am if they wish to do so. As we get closer to the date, the League will also have information about legislative committee meetings that will be discussing topics aligned with LWVTN policy priorities.
Debby Gould, President League of Women Voters of Nashville
LWVN is gratified that Governor Bill Haslam announced on December 15 his administration's support for "Insure Tennessee"--a uniquely Tennessee plan "to provide health care coverage to more than 200,000 uninsured Tennesseans who earn less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) without creating new taxes for Tennesseans." In addition, he said that he has received verbal approval from the federal government for his Insure Tennessee Plan. See both a one-page description of the plan HERE and the slides used during the governor's announcement HERE.
Consistent Voter Services
League members can impact the election process by volunteering to help educate the citizens of the community and provide opportunities for voter registration. Voter education and voter registration opportunities are continuous but peak during election years. Get involved by:
League members can impact public policy by educating the public about issues important to good government and community well-being, and advocating for League positions on key issues. Because we live in the state capital, Nashville League members work on both local and state issues. We also answer calls to action from the LWVUS when issues are pending in Congress. Whatever your interests, you can get involved!
Specifically, the League advocates for access to health care; education to prepare students for responsible citizenry and the economy of the future; good stewardship of our natural resources; election processes that are fair and secure; and ethics and transparency in government. League members interested in issue advocacy can participate by: