December 2010/January 2011

2010 Candidate Forums

By KC Miller

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This mid-term election year, the LWVKA made plans to sponsor two candidate forums with six other local agencies including Disability Network of Southwest Michigan, Great Start Collaborative (KRESA), Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy and Action in the Community (ISAAC), Kalamazoo County Advocates for Senior Issues (KCASI), Kalamazoo Environmental Council (KEC), and Regional Interagency Consumer Committee (RICC).

At KRESA, on October 21, the six candidates for the State House of Representatives in Districts 60, 61, and 63 participated in a forum with a somewhat nontraditional format. Each candidate spoke to the audience for two minutes, explaining their background and why they were running for office. The candidates then went to tables situated around the room where constituents could talk with them one-on-one and pick up campaign material. Thank you to League members Norma Clack, Terry Hluchyj, Ken Manley, Paula Manley, and Michele McGowen for making this forum a success.

Unfortunately, the 20th District State Senate forum scheduled for October 18 was cancelled when Robert B. Jones passed away on October 17. The LWVKA’s attempt to reschedule that forum with the new candidate was unsuccessful.


“Kazoo Women Voters Quiz Candidates”

By Terry Hluchyj

For 90 years the Voter Guide has provided “intelligent knowledge” for voters.

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That title of a Kalamazoo Gazette article in October 1920 referred to what was likely the first Voter Guide produced by our League. “We members of the League feel that the voters should have an intelligent knowledge of the people whom they are electing to office,” said President Nellie Clark. The list of 33 candidates for that City Commission election included familiar names – W.E. Upjohn, among others. They were asked about their background and qualifications, as well as their attitude on municipal ownership of public utilities and whether they own stock in a public utility.

While the issues may have changed, we again produced a Voter Guide to provide voters with “intelligent knowledge” of candidates and ballot proposals in the November election, and distributed 24,000 copies to more than 200 locations throughout Kalamazoo County and an online version available three weeks and a day before the election. Like the primary Guide, this was a collaborative effort with the LWV of Michigan. The State League collected responses from all but the County Commission so they could post Guides for the entire state on the LWVMI website. The Guide was already delivered to many sites when Robert Jones died, so we and LWVMI posted notices on our websites regarding new absentee ballots and provided information about Bobby Hopewell, as the new State Senate candidate.

Well before the delivery operation, the production process started with the thoughtful contributions of Diane Worden, Kay Perry and Connie Ferguson who weighed alternative questions for the candidates. Tamara Carpenter again designed both the print and online Guides to make them appealing and easy to read.

Thanks are also due to our army of delivery volunteers and to Ann Perry who contacted community organizations to confirm numbers for their use and Kay Anderson who coordinated with high school teachers who receive Guides for classroom use. Members of our stalwart delivery crew were: Amy Anderson, April Woodward-Slack, Charlotte Russell, Cheryl Lyon-Jenness, Connie Wood, Diane Worden, Dolores Hayden, Elaine Jayne, Gail Walter, Janet Jones, Janet Hanson, Jennifer Parsons, Karen Eddy, Kate Ferraro, Kay and Rick Anderson, KC Miller, Lorene Cook, Mabel and Jochanan Stenesh, Michele McGowen, Norma Clack, Paula Manley, Paula Presler, Rochelle Habeck, Ruth Caputo, Sara Wick, Sue Nelmes, Tanya Potter and Yolanda Mitts – along with spouses, fiancés, nieces and nephews!

As editor, I often hear expressions of appreciation from candidates and voters for the work of the League. One caller in October, anxious to know when the Voter Guide would be available, was relieved to know that it would soon be delivered to her housing unit. “It’s the only publication I trust,” she said. Such a comment is meant for all of us. Thanks for a great job!


LWVKA Michigan Con-Con Forum

By Diane Worden

The Forum clarified constitutional convention issues.

Because citizen education about election ballot issues is a core mission of the League of Women Voters, LWVKA sponsored an October 19 forum with pro and con speakers on this November general election item:

PROPOSAL 1. Shall a convention of elected delegates be convened in 2011 to draft a general revision of the State Constitution for presentation to the state’s voters for their approval or rejection?


Former three-term mayor of Grand Rapids, John H. Logie, spoke in favor of it, while David Bertram, representing the Michigan Townships Association and Coalition of Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution, spoke against it at a People’s Church of Kalamazoo venue. Each speaker gave a 20-minute opening statement, responded to each other’s persuasive points for 10 minutes, and answered written questions from the audience. LWVKA members Ken Manley moderated and KC Miller kept time.

Publicity for this forum included paid graphic ads in the Kalamazoo Gazette on two Sundays, with a week-long follow-up notice in its print and online Jottings section indicating that the complete audio was accessible from Tamara Carpenter uploaded an MP3 digital recording of the forum the next day. Attendance was good – mostly LWVKA members, a troop of Boy Scouts, and a half-dozen other citizens – due to email coverage a few days beforehand when it became obvious the Gazette was not going to print our advance notice about the program.

The forum clarified the issues for many attendees who left to spread their conclusions to other friends and colleagues. It was easy to arrange the miked venue, knowledgeable speakers, digital recording, and its uploading to the website. Thanks to all participants.