Making Democracy Work

About LWV Utica-Rome Metro Area

Local league activities pattern themselves after the League of Women Voters NYS and League of Women Voters US. Local programming is additionally formulated to reflect issues and concerns of our local communities and region. Among recent activities:

General Membership Meetings and Educational Programs

As the first year of our shared Leadership model comes to an end, the members of the team shared their expertise and knowledge in planning and carrying out chapter responsibilities along with a great Board of Directors, smoothly and with graciousness. Lorrie Wasielewski, Nancy Agen, Barbara Gibbs, Karen McBride, and Shirley Hilts-Adams, aided by Carole Torok-Huxtable undertook the task of this new League model with interest and commitment.

We've had a busy, interesting year with several informative speakers on topics related to our community. In addition to monthly voter registration activities at federal and county Citizenship Ceremonies; Mayoral candidate forums in Rome and in Utica; the selection of two students from local schools to participate in Students inside Albany; and members Mary Chapin, Lucretia Hunt, and Dawn Laguerre receiving community recognition awards, four general meetings were held on:

  • women in the Mohawk Valley that had been omitted from history books, including the mother of General Nicholas Herkimer;
  • the many facets of raising the age for the incarceration of juveniles, 16-18 years of age, in adult prisons.
  • a timely address on Money and Politics; and
  • information on local and state elections, as well as the State Constitution.

Our Annual Meeting speakers, Utica City Council Members Samantha Colosimo-Testa and Maria McNiel rounded out the year sharing their experiences with our membership.

Workshops by the LWV NYS were held in 4 locations across the state during March and April. Over 150 people attended the sessions, representing 39 local Leagues and the 3ILO's. The LWV of the Utica/ Rome Metro Area was represented at the training in Liverpool by Nancy Agen, Donna Goodwin, Shirley Hilts-Adams, Mary Monaco, Elizabeth Norman, Carole Torok-Huxtable, and Lorrie Wasielewski. Karen McBride attended the training in Round Lake in March. Handouts can be obtained or viewed at

Voter Services

Our Voter Services Committee is pleased with the results of our efforts since last year's Annual Meeting held May 16, 2015. Since that time, we conducted 23 voter registration drives and registered to vote a total of 288 people + 61 of whom also registered to donate tissue and organs via the tear-off section on the NYS voter registration form.

We conducted voter registration drives with student groups from Mohawk Valley Community College, Utica College, Herkimer College and Pratt at MWPI. Again this year, we staffed a voter registration table at the Oneida County Public Market at Union Station on Saturdays from August 15 to September 26, 2015. On May 2, 2016 we were at Utica's City Hall registering people to vote as they filed by to pay their first city property tax installment. Through a series of 11 county- and federal-sponsored naturalization ceremonies, we registered to vote a total of 233 new citizens.

At the invitation of the League of Women Voters of NY State, (LWVNY), we partnered with the New York Alliance for Donation to help bring awareness to the general public of the dire need for human tissue and organs for transplant. We called attention to the "tear-off" section on the voter registration form, where one can register to be an organ donor at the same time they register to vote. We continue to incorporate this organ donation "awareness campaign" in each of our voter registration drives.

At the request of the Rome Capitol Theater, on September 2, we conducted a "pre-primary" debate for the (5) candidates for the Mayor of Rome position, which drew an "SRO" crowd of 500 people! On October 6, 2015, we conducted, with the Mohawk Valley Latino Association, (MVLA) and the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, (NAACP), a debate for the (3) Mayor of Utica candidates, which was held at the DeSales Center in Utica.

In addition, we promptly accepted an invitation to give a presentation on the importance of registering and voting, along with the history of voting in the United States, to two classes of students in the "New Visions Program" of the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES on April 8. 2016. As a result, we registered 25 new voters! Our League is grateful for the opportunity to be of service to the community to promote good citizenship and extend the franchise.

Contact the Voter Services committee at


We have selected two excellent candidates from a field of seven applicants for this year's Students Inside Albany conference sponsored by the LWVNYS Education Foundation. The conference will take place May 22-25 and includes high school students from across New York State.

The students that have been selected to represent LWV Utica/Rome this year are:

  • Jordyn Keeck - Beach - a senior from New York Mills High School. Her activities include: Student Council Executive Historian, Yearbook Editor, Drama Club Treasurer, Rotary Youth Service Committee and played the lead role in her school play (Hairspray).
  • Daileny Guerrero - a Proctor High School senior and a member of the Utica Youth Bureau. She is also a member of the Navy Jr. Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC), Young Scholars, Mohawk Valley Jr. Frontiers, Art Club, and the Speech & Debate team.

We are excited about the talents that these two young adults will bring to Albany as they represent the Mohawk Valley.

Our 2016 Students with Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi and Speaker Carl Heastie.


Monthly news releases were sent to all local newspaper and TV stations. There was follow up on debates, such as the one in the Rome Capitol Theater when the media was called. Although the stories in the outlying newspapers were not seen in Utica, people did remark that they had read them. The Utica Observer-Dispatch used the articles as submitted. They were usually put in the middle of the page which is a good placement for viewing.

Are you on Facebook? LWVUR now has its own page! Search for and "Join" League of Women Voters Utica/Rome to receive timely notices of our activities that you can share with your Friends.

Our Local Program of Interest

Local Program - Smart Growth 2015-16

Support of measures to reduce pollution in order to protect surface water, groundwater and drinking water has been a League issue at all levels for decades.

After our local study, LWVU/R supported the 1965 referendum creating the Part County Sewer District. In 2006 County legislation formed an expanded district of 13 municipalities plus 2 from Herkimer County.
An aspect of our local Smart Growth study (adopted (2002) is post-study monitoring (adopted 2008) of the Oneida County Sewer District Permit Compliance and Abatement Project to be completed in 2021.
  • Sanitary Sewer Manhole Rehab completed and closed in 2014.
  • Sewer Separation Village of New York Mills completed and closed in 11/2014.
  • Sanitary Mainline Rehab

    -Phase 1 - Villages of Yorkville, Whitesboro and New York Mills completed and closed in 2014.

    -Phase 2, 3 and 4 - Town of New Hartford (Kellogg, Oxford), Town of Whitestown (Glen Haven) all partially completed through 6/2015. City of Utica contracted directly for work under Genesee Street.

    -Phase 5 - Village of Whitesboro (Henderson, Clinton) planned completion by 12/2015.

    -Phase 6 - Towns of New Hartford, Washington Mills (Chapman, Higby, Mohawk) to begin Spring 2016.

    -Phase 7 - Village of New York Mills, Yorkville and Oriskany.
  • Flow monitoring measurement fully implemented and analysis underway.
Detailed quarterly progress reports to DEC prepared by O'Brien & Gere Engineers can be found at Oneida County Dept. of Water Quality and Water Pollution Control