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Date: 1/4/2021
Subject: January 4, 2021 News Update
From: LWV of La Crosse

January 4, 2021 News Update

Happy New Year!
Most of us are more than ready to slam the door and burn the barn down on 2020--I know I am! However, if you look past COVID-19, quarantine, murder hornets, record heat, devastating fires, social unrest, and accusations of rigged elections, 2020 wasn’t that bad!

For one, it was easy to write…2020 (Yes, that is grasping a bit). But remember the fun we had at the February Lunch and Learn dressing up as suffragists and having cupcakes to celebrate the 100th birthday of the League? Or the car parades through La Crosse for the election? And Mayor Kabat presenting our League with a proclamation for the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment in 90 plus degree heat – complete with a sashed blue baby? Remember all the ways our community came together to promote voter registration and voting? And the number of masked volunteers down at City Hall and other locations helping prepare and organize ballots?

Not only that, but 2020 was also good for our brains! This old dog learned to Zoom and Webinar – programs I had never heard of before this year. I learned to color coordinate my mask with my outfits and breathe with one on. I learned to appreciate the simple things that I once took for granted. My friends, family, dog, music, the League, and time are even more precious. Never again will I take things like going to a movie, meeting a friend for coffee, or going to a Lunch and Learn at the Waterfront so casually.

So maybe 2020 wasn’t such an awful year after all. I, along with the League came through it, older, wiser, hopefully more tolerant, and infinitely grateful for all the wonderful people that make the League the great organization it is. So here we come 2021 – stronger and better than ever and even more determined in our work of defending democracy. As 2020 ends, I, along with the entire LWV board, wish all of you a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Mary L Nugent
LWV of the La Crosse Area President

LWVLA Thanks Teri Lehrke for Her Service to La Crosse Voters

The League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area would like to thank Teri Lehrke for her years of service and dedication to making democracy work in the City of La Crosse. Not only did Teri ensure that the elections in our city were efficiently, safely, and ethically run, but she also kept the public informed of the multitude of election changes throughout 2020. The League appreciates how Teri allowed us to partner with her office on registration and election activities. We made a good team. Thanks, too, for the many times she spoke to our membership and graciously answered a myriad of questions. The League is grateful for having the opportunity to work with Teri throughout her time as City Clerk. We wish her many years of healthy, relaxing retirement. She's earned them!
Upcoming League Events...
the who, what, where, when, and how to attend LWVLA events 
January Lunch & Learn
Tuesday, January 12
11:30 AM - 1 PM

Democracy Found: Nonpartisan Political Innovation in Wisconsin
Sara Eskrich, Executive Director of Democracy Found
Washington is broken. Nothing ever gets done. So, how can we fix our politics?

Many Americans are horrified about the dysfunction and abysmal results from Washington, D.C., but feel hopeless and disengaged. Democracy Found takes a unique approach—using the Gehl Porter Politics Industry Theory, which applies traditional tools of business analysis to politics and highlights the unhealthy system of political competition—to create a diverse, nonpartisan coalition of leaders committed to reinvigorating our democracy through open, top-five primaries and ranked choice voting in the general election (Final-Five Voting).

This presentation raises awareness of the underlying analysis and provides a nonpartisan call to action in Wisconsin, for the sake of our democracy. The talk is about politics, but it is not political.
Democracy Found is a Wisconsin-based initiative committed to revitalizing democracy. The organization is nonpartisan, with cross-partisan supporters.

By implementing a system wherein the top five candidates are selected from the primary ballot and ranked choice voting is used in the general election, we will ensure politicians are held accountable for delivering results. This, in turn, will renew each other’s belief that every vote counts and every voice is heard.

Register for our virtual Lunch & Learn through our new calendar system by clicking on the button. You will receive an email confirmation that includes the Zoom link for our meeting.
We hope you can join us for the February 9  Lunch & Learn. Courtney Hayward, Government Relations Specialist at Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, will speak about the state of reproductive policy in Wisconsin. Information about current LWVUS policy, pending legislation and other resources are available here.

Invitation to Study Ranked Choice Voting with the LWV of Dane County
The League of Women Voters of Dane County (LWVDC) will also be studying Ranked Choice Voting, one of the proposals for proportional representation that Sara Eskrich will be discussing at our January Lunch & Learn. LWVDC is inviting members of our League to share information and participate in events from their study of this issue. 
You may wish to attend a virtual Q&A sponsored by the LWVDC on Wednesday, January 25, at 5:30 p.m. with Sara and Kendra Hartman, an advisor to Democracy Found, to discuss the concepts introduced in "The Politics Industry" by Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter.  Kendra works for the Institute for Political Innovation, a nonprofit devoted to promoting Final Five Voting nationally. 
The virtual Q&A session is open to anyone, but registration is required.
To prepare for this meeting we suggest reading "The Politics Industry" by Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter.

Alternatively, you may want to watch an interview of the authors if you do not have time to read the book. There's one on C-SPAN from September 5, 2020 located here. 

Speaking of Democracy
Join the Conversation
LWVLA Book Club

Monday, January 25
6:30 - 8:00 pm


Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need to Know About Global Politics
by Tim Marshall
"In ten, up-to-date maps of each region, Marshall explains in clear and engaging prose the complex geo-political strategies of these key parts of the globe. What does it mean that Russia must have a navy, but also has frozen ports six months a year? How does this affect Putin’s treatment of Ukraine? How is China’s future constrained by its geography? Why will Europe never be united? Why will America never be invaded? Shining a light on the unavoidable physical realities that shape all of our aspirations and endeavors, Prisoners of Geography is the critical guide to one of the major (and most often overlooked) determining factors in world history."

Book Club is meeting virtually. The link below will take you to our Events calendar. Click on the Book Club entry for registration on the Event page. A Zoom link will be sent to you in your confirmation email.
The next book will be "Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants"  by Robin Wall Kimmerer. The Book Club will meet on Monday, February 22. Background information about this book and links to several online events with Ms. Kimmerer can be found here.

2021 Election News

The Wisconsin Public Education Network and the LWV of Wisconsin are sponsoring a virtual forum to give voters a chance to know the candidates for Wisconsin’s highest education office, hear where they stand on the issues that matter most for kids, and learn about their visions for our public schools, educational equity, the role of the state superintendent’s office. The forum is open to the public, but you must RSVP in advance to attend.

Spring Primary Election
February 16
You can get ahead by requesting your absentee ballots for all of the year's elections beginning on January 1 at
Check Us Out...
in each of the next few Updates, we'll focus on explaining or demonstrating some of the features of our new website and the Club Express system. 
The bottom row on each page provides six icons that link to our Voting pages. One of these, "Important Dates," will link to a calendar with all the dates related to the year's elections and voters' deadlines.
The current "Important Dates" calendar provides deadlines and dates for the 2021 Spring Elections.

LWVLA Featured in State League Spotlight
Our League was featured in the 12/12/20 LWVWI Spotlight as the first Wisconsin League chapter to transition to the Club Express management system recommended by LWVUS. Read the entire feature here.
For Your Consideration...
local events, virtual events, viewing and reading suggestions that reflect the League's mission and priorities. Please send us your recommendations.
IM Education Offers Community Civics Classes at Viterbo

In 2021 IM Education, an Onalaska-based nonprofit, in cooperation with Viterbo’s D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics and Leadership will be offering a series of community classes.
Sam Scinta, founder and president and also an associate lecturer in political science at UW La Crosse and an adjunct instructor at Viterbo University, said development of the programs has progressed over the past several months, but the current political climate has reinforced the need for such community programming.

Titled Rebuilding American Civics, the sessions will be free and open to the public. Four sessions will be offered in the spring, on February 3, February 17, March 3 and March 17; they will run from 6:30-8 p.m. and will initially be offered online via Zoom (in-person classes will be offered starting in the summer and fall).

Anyone interested will find more information and can sign up on the website of the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership.
--from The La Crosse Tribune, 12/16/20

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PO Box 363
La Crosse, WI 54602