On Saturday, June 8, during the 2019 Convention of the League of Women Voters of Washington, the coveted Local League Awards were presented.
LWV-TC Coffee with the League was acknowledged with the LWVWA 2019 Effective Member Engagement and Recruitment Award.
Thurston League delegates, Mary Moore, Sandra Herndon, Sue Lean, Karen Verrill, Sue Bredensteiner, Carol Goss, Julie Frick, and Karen Fraser, congratulate Paula Holroyde, the driving force behind Coffee with the League, as she accepts the award.
The following nomination statement was read during the presentation.
“Born of a desire to protect and expand public policy issues supported by the League of Women Voters, Coffee with the League, sponsored by the Thurston County LWV, has been in operation for over two years. Every Tuesday morning, a dedicated group of LWV members and friends of the LWV (an average of 15-20 each meeting and a total of at least 100 different participants over the two years) gather to discuss current local, state, and national issues. Participants then write postcards to appropriate legislators.
“During the Washington State Legislative Session, bills being considered by the House or Senate are followed. The state LWV position is considered, and information from the Washington League of Women Voters Legislative Newsletter is presented. Lobby Team members, who often attend, and various community activists give updates and reasons why bills should be supported or opposed. After what are sometimes spirited discussions, participants contact their legislators by writing postcards, voicing their personal opinions of support or opposition. Pre-stamped postcards are supplied and paid for by donations from the group’s attendees. An average of 40-60 postcards are mailed each week.
“These meetings have encouraged members to be informed and engaged. They also provide a sense of community. Those of us who regularly attend these meetings feel a sense of commitment and involvement in issues affecting our daily lives. We feel engaged and needed. It is important to us to make our concerns known to our representatives at the local and state level as well as the national level. Often, we receive personal responses from our representatives. Some representatives have used our postcards in presentations to the community, and one used a postcard in a video to constituents.
“Empowered voters: The actual writing of an individual postcard, even though perhaps an antiquated means of communication, focuses one’s attention and thoughts about a single issue. It helps us, as concerned citizens and LWV members, understand complex issues. We can, through the interaction of other participants of Coffee with the League, clarify our own thoughts and feelings. This can lead to developing empathy and acceptance of opposing opinions and perspectives on critical issues and puts each participant in a more powerful position when sharing beliefs.
“Educated or informed voters: In addition to giving a means of making participants’ feelings known about political matters, Coffee with the League educates participants about current issues. At a recent Tuesday meeting, April 23 to be precise, nineteen people were in attendance, including two new LWV members and several visitors. As the meeting proceeded, issues that were highlighted included a proposed Thurston County Emergency Housing Ordinance Revision. Members were encouraged to attend the hearing on this issue and/or email comments to the Thurston County Board of Commissioners. Another topic was the proposed defunding of renewable energy federal research at six national laboratories, including Ames Laboratory (100% reduction) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (74% reduction). These cuts would terminate potentially thousands of jobs in the research and energy sectors as well as jeopardize the United States as a global leader in energy innovations.
“Build connections with other groups or individuals: In addition to those previously mentioned, several other community organizations have been represented at Coffee with the League. Just some of these include environmental protection groups such as Sierra Club and Grand Old Broads. Missing Middle Housing and homeless advocates have made presentations. Immigrant issues are often addressed, and CIELO representatives have spoken. Gun violence concerns are frequently discussed, including support of youth organizations such as the Parkland students’ Never Again movement. Mason County
Julie Frick and Paula Holroyde show off the Award.