Making Democracy Work


Photos Copyright Tom Loughlin Jr, Utica, N.Y.

At our January 2019 meeting Stephanie Eghigian outlined the issues that led to the merger of WERC and The Peacemaker Program to form Empowered Pathways.

On November 17, 2018, Barbara Bartoletti, past Legislative Director for LWVNY for almost 30 years spoke to us about her years in Albany and the changes in the way the new media has affected lobbying and getting to know legislators.

Candidates Dennis Bova, Jr.(R)and Marianne Buttenshon (D) debated for the 119th Assembly Seat on October 30, 2018 at the Oneida County History Center. The forum was co-sponsored with the local chapter of the NAACP and the Mohawk Valley Latino Assoc.(MVLA).

Richard Kimball, co-founder and President of Vote Smart stopped on his FACTS MATTER national tour and spoke to us at MVCC concerning the importance of sorting through facts and fiction in the political landscape. An important tool is the Vote Smart website,

One of the September 2018 Naturalization ceremony was held at Fort Stanwix in Rome NY. Besides the new citizens and their families the ceremony was attended by fourth grade classes from the Rome school district.

Clinton School Board asked our League to moderate their well attended debate.

LWV Utica/Rome visits "Votes for Women: Celebrating New York's Suffrage Centennial" exhibit in the NYS Museum in Albany, April 14, 2018.

Congratulations to our Voter Services Chair, Karen McBride Karen was one of 6 local women to receive the 2018 Women of the Year Award, presented by the Mohawk Valley Chapter of New York State, Inc.
On Saturday, March 24, the League hosted a discussion with local community groups on how to conduct an effective voter registration drive at the Utica Public Library. The panelists shared their ideas on what they are doing and how we can coordinate our efforts. A lively discussion followed.

2017 and 2018 Naturalization ceremonies
Women's Suffrage material from times past and present was put on display on the Main Floor of the Utica Public Library including the headline in the Utica Daily Press announcing the vote for suffrage had passed in the November 1917 election.

Also on display was a poster for the movie Iron Jawed Angels which will play at the Utica Public Library on November 20th.

The Levitt AMP Utica Music Series returns for the second year to Kopernik Park--a green space within walking distance of the city's community gardens, the Utica Public Library and the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees--to fuel the city's social, physical and financial resurgence by bringing together its diverse local and refugee residents to re-energize an underutilized gathering space.

June 17, 2017 was World Refugee Day in Utica and League members were present to help new citizens register to vote. After the ceremony the public was treated to a fashion show of their native clothing, songs and dances.

Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees

Success stories of our local refugees

On May 20, 2017, our Annual Meeting was held at Harts Hill Inn. Dare Thompson, current LWVNY President and former President of our local league was our guest speaker. Nakiesha Newton, this year's SIA was also our guest.

2017 Student Inside Albany with Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi
This photo is courtesy of Senator Gillibrand's office.
Every month members of our League help new citizens register to vote at the Naturalization Ceremonies held at either the U.S. Federal Building, the Oneida County Office Building, MVCC in Utica or Fort Stanwix in Rome. There are between 40-60 new citizens at each ceremony.

Debra Richardson, Environmental Change Educator from Cornell Cooperative Extension spoke at our General Meeting on January 28, 2017, held at the Radisson Hotel-Utica Centre. Through her work with the Mohawk Valley Food Action Network, Debra shared the emerging vision of engaging Oneida County agencies and residents of the surrounding region to create a healthy and secure future based on a productive, resilient food system where affordable, healthy and nutritious food is accessable to all.

A lively discussion was held at our General Meeting, Saturday, November 19, 2016 at Raspberries Cafe. The topic was Recycling in the Mohawk Valley. We had 2 speakers, Emily Albright of the Oneida/Herkimer Solid Waste Authority and Jim Zecca from Madison County Solid Waste Authority. Managing the waste our region generates is everyone's responsibility. Preserving the environment through recovery and disposal is the mission of these authorities.

The Oneida County Public Market is open every Saturday during the summer at Union Station in Downtown Utica's historic Bagg Square neighborhood and our League is there ready to register voters and organ donors.

Our Annual Meeting held at Harts Hill Inn on May 21, 2016, featured Utica Common Councilwomen Samantha Colosimo-Testa and Maria McNiel. We were enlightened and learned of their experiences being women serving their constituents in the City of Utica, including the process of running for office.

In April 2016, League members spoke to the BOCES New Visions students in Mrs. Jury's class. They said "it was reassuring to hear someone inform us that the voter registration process is a lot easier than most of us thought".

League members spent quite a few days in March 2016 registering new voters at MVCC and Utica College. They will all be eligible to vote in the April 19th Presidential Primary election.

A presentation with many questions and answers was made by Jordan Karp(D) and Cathy Dumka(R) from the Oneida County Board of Elections at the General Meeting on March 19, 2016 held at the Radisson Hotel in Utica. Also in attendance was Jordyn Beach, one of our two Students Inside Albany winners that will be going to Albany in May.

December 10, 2015, we welcomed new citizens in a Federal Naturalization ceremony.

On November 21, 2015, LWVUR hosted a Raise the Age presentation by District Attorney Scott McNamara and Investigator Patrick Johnson at the Radisson Hotel.

LWV Utica/Rome Metro Area hosted a debate between the Utica Mayoral candidates on October 6th at the DeSales Center on Genesee Street. It was co-sponsored with the MV Latino Association and the local chapter of the NAACP.

Thought provoking questions from Kristine Bellino, WIBX 950 Radio and Dave Dudajek, Observer Dispatch sparked a lively discussion which set the tone for the evening. Representatives of local media outlets were in attendence including WKTV

LWVU/R sponsored a candidate's forum for the 5 candidates running in the Rome Mayor race. More than 500 interested citizens packed the Capital Theater in Rome on Sept 2 to hear the views of those on the primary ballot. Thank you to the Capital Theater for donating their facility.

Shop local, buy local, support local at the Oneida County Public Market!

We have been registering voters most Saturday mornings at the Market this summer.

A Federal Naturalization Ceremony was held July 24, 2015 in the Federal Bldg. on Broad Street. 3 League members were present to welcome the new citizens.

Ethics Reform in NYS was the topic at the May 16, 2015 Annual Meeting held at Harts Hill Inn. The guest speaker was Blair Horner, Legislative Director of NYPIRG.

April 9, 2015 another Naturalization Ceremony was held at the U.S. Federal Building. 19 new citizens were registered to vote.

Brian Thomas, Commissioner/Director of Urban Planning, City of Utica and Jake DiBari, Director of Community & Economic Development, City of Rome spoke to League members and the general public about the Master Plans of the City of Utica and the City of Rome at a General Meeting on March 21, 2015 at the Radisson Hotel. We also met our representative to LWVNY Students Inside Albany.

Naturalization ceremony at the Oneida County Office Building on February 6, 2015. 34 new citizens were registered to vote.

On January 24, 2015, at the Radisson Hotel, Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi spoke to a large crowd about the Career and Technical Education Diploma that was recently passed by the Board of Regents.

A Naturalization ceremony was held at the U.S. Federal Building on December 11, 2014.

The November 22 General meeting was a working luncheon held at the Radisson Hotel. Members arrived at Consensus on the topics of Ballot Access and Term Limits. Consensus is not a vote; rather, consensus is mutual agreement of League members arrived at through discussion.