I have had the time of my life as President of the League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade these past two years! Thanks to our amazing volunteer board, my term continued the LWVMD tradition of leadership, advocacy, and innovation, educating voters and the greater community on the priority issues, and always working to protect our right to VOTE!
I stood on the shoulders of terrific former presidents Maribel Balbin, Annie Betancourt, and Dorrit Marks. In turn, I have worked hard to strengthen our board as we begin our new program year.
Our successes during this past year have been numerous. Among them:
We have increased the number of general membership meetings a year to connect our members to making a difference by being involved, including a Legislative Briefing and Brunch to prepare for State Session.
We have worked with several community partners as the “go to” organization for voting information with our online Voters Guides as well as dozens of Decode the Ballot workshops, Candidate Forums, Voter Registrations and GOTV programs, all to engage voters.
We have strengthened the LWVMD for future sustainability by establishing a funding source, The Ruth Shack Leadership Fund, for leadership development training for our Board and members.
We have created an amazing communications platform that includes a monthly newsletter, our widely read monthly Voters Digest, and our comprehensive, connected social media messaging with edgy, timely posts on every issue imaginable.
We launched a successful solar co-op initiative across Miami-Dade, with more than 100 homeowners powering up with solar energy contracts in partnership with Solar United Neighbors.
We established an online Pledge To Vote that sends voters a text message reminder of primary and general election days and includes a link to our Voter Guide.
We launched a Fellows Program for students to develop and implement innovative ways to get their peers to vote.
Our Voter Guide was instrumental in the long-shot passage of the $400 million City of Miami Forever Bond initiative, which was recognized as a successful advocacy effort by the LWV Florida.
We led the most successful Give Miami Day campaign in our history, which led us to being a finalist for LWVUS's innovative programming.
Our advocacy efforts secured a recommendation to change the citizens’ initiative process included in the County’s Charter Review Task Force recommendations.
We worked with our community partners to advance climate change and resiliency initiatives.
We spoke out against fracking and building more roads like the Kendall Parkway and advocated for saving the Pine Rocklands and holding the line on the Urban Development Boundary.
As I pass the baton to Marisol Zenteno, our next President, I know that LWVMD will continue its tradition of leadership, innovation, and advocacy in her hands. I am grateful for this wonderful opportunity to have served as President, and thank every single one of you who have supported our work for fair elections and engaged and informed voters! Keep it up—history is made by people who show up, and we are truly in an all-hands-on-deck historic moment in this election year.
ANNUAL MEETING - GET YOUR TICKET NOW BEFORE PRICES GO UP!
Our Annual Meeting will be Saturday, June 16, 10:30 a.m. at the beautiful Rusty Pelican, 3201 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne; you can purchase tickets here. Members will be voting on a talented Slate of Officers and Directors to serve on the Board as well as approving the 2018-2019 Program Priorities and Budget. Please review them in advance, as we will be holding votes on all the of these items.
Our featured speaker is Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, The Honorable Chief Judge Bertila Soto will fill us in on the state of the new courthouse. Be there and bring your friends to celebrate this year’s accomplishments, get involved for the 2018 Elections, and join the best organization for voter activism!
RUNOFF ELECTION - COUNTY COMMISSIONER DISTRICT 5
Calling District 5! Early voting begins June 9, and Election Day is June 19! If you know someone who lives in this district, be sure they VOTE! Learn about the candidates Zoraida Barreiro and Eileen Higgins as well as important election day information on our voter guide.
ELECTION ACTION TEAM - FULL STEAM AHEAD
Our calendar is filling up with activities as we get closer to the August Primary, scheduled for August 28! If you are concerned about the state of our democracy, join the team to make a positive difference. We need YOU to help with our Voter Guides, Pledge to Vote, Candidate Forums, Decode the Ballot discussions, Get Out Tthe Vote Parties, voter education on amendments including the vitally important Amendment 4 for Restoration of Voting Rights, and more. Contact Barbara Overton or Marisol Zenteno for more information.
The LWVMD has made a commitment to publish Voter Guides for every municipal election, as well as all state and county races. It has been said that “all politics are local,” as local city and county officials impact our daily lives. If your organization would like to become a community partner to share our non-partisan voter guide with your network contact us today.
CALLING ALL STUDENTS: BECOME A FELLOW FOR THIS ELECTION!
Through our new LWVMD Student Fellows Program, students have signed up to help make democracy work in Miami during this Mid-Term Election season! Fellows will help get more young people out to rock the vote! If you are interested or know a student who is, contact Morgan Anderson or Natalie Milian.
LET'S GET FLORIDA TO ADOPT THE POPULAR VOTE!
LWVUS has supported NPVIC and the direct election of the President for decades, and interest in the issue is skyrocketing. In a major development, Connecticut's legislature voted to join the NPVIC. Once the legislation is signed, Connecticut will join 10 other states and the District of Columbia, adding its seven electors to the NPVIC tally, for a total of 172 electoral votes. Only 98 more electoral votes are required to activate NPVIC to elect the President by the national popular vote. If this issue clicks with you, contact Marisol Zenteno, to help lead our local NPVIC effort for Florida!
PROUDLY PARTNERING WITH THE DISABILITY INDEPENDENCE GROUP
We are proud to announce a new partner, The Disability Independence Group (DIG), which works to expands opportunities for the disabled community. LWVMD will be working with DIG to engage and improve voter turnout within the disability community via voter registration, pledge to vote, voter guides, and VOTING! We are committed to listen and learn on how the League can help the disabled community become engaged voters! If you are interested in helping to lead this new effort, contact Susan Windmiller.
GO SOLAR & SAVE THE POLAR
Join us for a free information session Saturday, June 23, 2018, at 10:30 a.m. at the University of Miami Perez Architecture Center, Glasgow Lecture Hall, 1228 Theo Dickinson Drive, Coral Gables, FL, 33146. Learn about the benefits of solar energy as well as how the solar co-op simplifies the process of going solar while providing a discount through its bulk purchasing power.
In closing, my mother always told me, "Susan, the world isn't going to be handed to you on a silver platter; you have to make things happen yourself, and you can, so go do it!" I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to lead this wonderful organization for the past two years. I look forward to seeing all of you at our Annual Meeting.
UPCOMING EVENTS Sunday, June 10, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. | Government 101: A Refresher Course
Refresh your knowledge of Federal, state, and local government and how each one works for you. Our own Susan Windmiller will be presenting.
Location: Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 2750 McFarlane Road
Saturday, June 16, 10:30 am | LWVMD Annual Meeting Get your tickets now for this important and exciting gathering to weigh in on future directions, meet candidates, listen to inspiring speakers, and enjoy a delicious brunch! Location: Rusty Pelican, 3201 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne
Tuesday, June 19, 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. | Runoff for County Commissioner - District 5
D5 learn about the candidates on our voter guide. Location: Found your polling station here.
June 28 – July 1 LWV National Convention in Chicago!
Our LWV MD Delegation includes Annie Betancourt, Diane Lockwood, Marisol Zenteno, Rachel Federgreen, Barbara Pierce, Maria Sanchez, Krystina Francois and Susan Windmiller. We look forward to sharing our LWVMD experiences as well as learning what other leagues around the country are doing so we can better serve our members.