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

The Leadership Team model continued to be the method our League used, sharing responsibilities in members' areas of strengths.

Our 2018 - 2019 organizational year was busy with the various activities related to registering voters at several Mohawk Valley locations and the almost monthly Naturalization Services held in Federal or Oneida County facilities, including historic Fort Stanwix in Rome.

In addition to voter registration activities, the selection of a student for the League's Students Inside Albany endeavor; member Dianne DiMeo, received a YWCA Mohawk Valley Salute to Outstanding Women Award in the area of Healthcare and Shirley Hilts-Adams received the Civic and Humanitarian Award from the NYS Women, Inc.

Our general meetings, held every two months, covered the following topics:

  • The Refugee and Immigrant Experience in the Mohawk Valley
  • Affecting Reform in Albany: How Times Have Changed
  • Empowered Pathways: A Tale of Two Non-Profits
  • Teaching High School Students How to Engage in Government
  • New York State Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon was our 2019 Annual Meeting speaker addressing Activities in Albany: The Perspectives of a Freshman Assembly Member.

Annual Reports

Voter Services

Since May 2018, our League held a total of 18 voter registration drives at 10 different sites and registered to vote (173) members of the public. Drives were conducted in June 2018 at the New Hartford Senior High School, at the International World Refugee Day celebration at Hanna Park, at the St. John's Day Festival at the Masonic Care Community campus, at the downtown Utica Summerfest, and on August 1st at Rome's Jarvis Public Library during their book sale. The majority of new or updated voter registrations resulted from drives conducted at fairs and festivals along with those at the colleges: Mohawk Valley Community College, Herkimer College, and Utica College.

A 50-minute presentation Wednesday, October 24th was attended by about 75 students, staff and League members when "Vote Smart Facts Matter" came to MVCC at the League's request, armed with their 2018 Voter's Self-Defense Manual entitled, Our Darkest Hour--a 100-page sampling of data on candidates and elected officials including biographies, voting records, issue positions, special interest ratings and contributors--all geared to educate the voter.

We were successful in scheduling two debates this past election season for candidates vying for NYS Assembly seats--one for the 118th District Assembly held (9/25/18) in Johnstown, and the other for the 119th District Assembly held (10/30/18) at the Oneida County History Center (OCHC). A debate of the Utica School Board Candidates (5/9/19) was also held at OCHC. The Mohawk Valley Latino Association and the Oneida County Branch of the NAACP co-sponsored the school board debate.

Contact the Voter Services committee at Voter_Services@lwvuticarome.org.

Youth

This year Students Inside Albany (SIA) Conference selection was so competitive and we had 8 phenomenal students. It was difficult for the committee to rally around one particular candidate. These individuals ranked in the top 1% of their high school class, were varsity athletes and invested in several community service projects simultaneously. Candidates from this pool were truly the movers and shakers of the Mohawk Valley region.

The League of Women Voters, Utica/Rome Metro Area chapter chose Annie Le for this year's Students inside Albany program. Currently a junior at Thomas R. Proctor High School, Annie, is a NJROTC Battalion Logistics Commander. In this position, Annie is responsible for over $150,000 in inventory. She directs the action of 12 platoon supply petty officers, and is proficient with the NJROTC inventory tracking system. She is a well-rounded individual with a black belt in Taekwondo, plays varsity sports, and is a talented musician. As a violinist, Annie was chosen to be first chair of the symphony orchestra. In addition, she is President of the Junior class, and Mock Trial Debate President. Despite her rigorous schedule, Annie finds the time to volunteer in the community and is an active member of her church. Her career goal is to become a Civil Rights Attorney.

Publicity

News items/press releases and calendar items were submitted to local newspapers and TV stations. Michelle Laguerre and Karen McBride appeared on WKTV's Live @ Five Talk Show on May 10 to discuss the local League Annual Meeting on May 18. Lu Blanchard and Lorrie Wasielewski were guests on Radio Phoenix, 95.5 MHz, discussing civic involvement studies at the high school level.

Several Letters to the Editor were submitted by League members and printed in the Utica Observer-Dispatch (O-D) over the last several months. The O-D also printed an OP-ED article by Lu Blanchard on the Equal Pay issue. A Publicity Plan for the coming year is under development.

Our Local Program of Interest

Local Program - SMART GROWTH
Our league has a long history of interest in clean water issues going back to study and then support for the 1965 referendum creating the Part County Sewer District. In the early 2000's our study of SMART GROWTH in Oneida County identified water quality as a key component.

Projects at the Water Pollution Control Plant itself starting in 2017 marked the beginning of a 4 year upgrade at its location. Completion in 2021 of the projects now well underway will meet the goal of increasing wet weather capacity from 55 million gallons daily (MGD) to the regulatory mandated 111 MGD. Other outcomes there will include capacity increased pumping station and screens, aerobic digesters with energy recovery of gas, provision to accept source-separated food waste from the Oneida County Recycling Center and rehab of buildings and process equipment.

Newsletter

Five editions of the "VOTER" Newsletter were prepared and distributed during the 2018-19 year. In addition, it is posted to our website for wider viewership and archival purposes. Since most members are able to receive the newsletter by email, printing/mailing costs have continued to decline. To help off-set the expenses of the newsletter, we have advertisements from local businesses. We ended the year with a total of 9 advertisers.