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Convention 2006: Meeting in the Middle.

The 2006 LWVUS Convention had one of its biggest turnouts in years. More than 1,000 League members, including nearly 800 voting delegates from 49 states and the District of Columbia, met in the middle!

From daybreak to long past sunset on June 9-13, the corridors of the Minneapolis Hilton buzzed with activity. At all hours, you could find League members networking with one another, learning about new issues, discussing important topics, deciding the League's course and, as always, having fun! Convention attendees had a variety of workshops, caucuses, forums, networking sessions and social activities on their schedules, making for a busy five days.

Delegates who arrived in Minneapolis a day early got a treat: a fantastic workshop, "Meeting in the Middle: Cross Cultural Conversations and Community Transformation," led by renowned trainer Vivian Jenkins Nelson. To top it off, League members were guests of Marshall Fields and Clinique (complete with Clinique makeovers!) at a reception in the beautiful Marshall Fields Sky Room.

DAY ONE

The opening plenary came to order early Saturday morning when attendees were engaged and entertained by Dr. Thomas Mann's lively presentation on "American Democracy in a Partisan Era." The League was lucky to have Dr. Mann, W. Averell Harriman Chair and senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, who missed part of his own family reunion just to attend Convention.

LWVUS Convention Planning Chair Marlys Robertson extended her greetings, and LWV of Minnesota President Helen Palmer welcomed everyone to Minneapolis. The delegates set to work immediately, adopting the amended rules and order of business.

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Outgoing LWVUS President Kay J. Maxwell addressed the Convention, sharing reflections on her tenure and the League's strengths and its challenges. After LWVUS Nominating Committee Chair Trudy Jarratt presented the Nominated Slate, there were two nominations from the floor for the LWVUS Board of Directors.

LWVUS Program Planning Chair Carolie Mullan presented the proposed 2006-2008 Program. On this first day of the three-day program adoption process, delegates gave notice of their intention to move not-recommended items to the floor for consideration on the second day. Notices included: an update of the apportionment position, as well as resolutions on health care reform, electronic voting systems, separation of powers, internet neutrality, energy and climate change, and more.

After energetic discussion and lively debate over the next two days, the amended 2006-2008 Program was adopted with the following Program additions:

1. Adoption by concurrence of the position "The LWVUS supports the abolition of the death penalty."

2. Adoption of a three-year study of immigration policies.

3. A resolution to elevate the System of Checks and Balances, and the Separation of Powers, to a top priority.

4. A resolution supporting voter-verifiable paper ballots and routine audits of election results.

5. A resolution supporting Internet neutrality.

DAY TWO

On the second day, LWVUS Budget Chair Judy Duffy presented the proposed FY 2006-2007 LWVUS/EF Budgets. In a visual presentation, LWVUS Executive Director Nancy Tate covered the functions of the LWVUS staff and the past year's work.

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Delegates had the opportunity to ask budget questions both during plenary and three Q&A sessions scheduled throughout Convention. On the final day of Convention, delegates approved a PMP rate of $26.30 for FY 2006-2007 and a PMP rate of $26.80 for FY 2007-2008. They increased NRM dues to $55.00 and added a $5 per NRM rebate to state Leagues. Delegates also approved the amended 2006-2007 Budget that included the Membership Recruitment Initiative for the development of messages and techniques to grow the League's membership among recently retired women.

DAY THREE

Day Three of Convention began with an amazing sight: 27 former national Board members, including 3 former national presidents, together on the stage! Many of these women had gathered for Monday night's posthumous presentation of the LWVUS Distinguished Leader Award to former national Board member Beverly K. McKinnell. In a touching tribute to this amazing woman, President Maxwell presented the award to Robert McKinnell, Beverly's husband.

Earlier in the day, delegates were treated to a spirited panel discussion about judicial selection, "Understanding the System to Defend the Courts." Experts from every sector of the judicial selection process were on the panel (see Education Fund section, p. 17).

That evening, attendees packed the ballroom to honor McKinnell and hear our special banquet speaker, Garrison Keillor. The renowned radio host, author and comedian entertained everyone with anecdotes of his youth and raising his children.

DAY FOUR

On the final day of Convention, delegates elected Mary G. Wilson to serve as the League's 17th president. Wilson's inaugural address encouraged Leagues to focus on "The Four M's: Message, Members, Media and Money." Delegates also elected the nominated slate.

Outgoing Board members Shirley Eberly, Jan Flapan, Jane Gross, Linda McDaniel and Olivia. Thorne were recognized for their service to the League (and serenaded by their home Leagues).

A highlight of each day was the roll call of states, when Leagues got the chance to spotlight their accomplishments. As a final touch, a troupe of parasol-twirlers invited everyone to the 2008 Convention in Portland, Oregon!

Note: For complete reports of Convention action please go to the members' section of the Web site.

* CONGRATULATIONS

The LWVs of Caddo-Bossier, LA; Berrien and Cass Counties, MI; Lee County, FL; Schenectady County, NY; and Westport, CT, were recognized for their membership growth. The LWV of New Orleans, LA, received a special commendation award for its support to the city's citizens during the 2006 mayoral election.

* PROGRAM AWARDS

Citizen Engagement: LWV of Montgomery County, IN

Voter Education: LWVs of Anchorage, AK, and California

Reform: LWV of Connecticut

Diversity: LWVs of Wichita-Metro, KS, and Charleston, SC

RELATED ARTICLE: Young LWV Members Find Their Voice

The League's first ever Youth Caucus, sponsored by the LWV of Alachua County/ Gainesville, FL, gave younger League members a chance to enjoy drinks and live music, while sharing their experiences, concerns and ideas about the League. Sponsoring League's President Crystal Goodison and Director Liz Reyes, and LWVUS Director Odetta MacLeish-White led a conversation about what brought them to the League, what keeps them involved, and what challenges being a young member poses. Some 50 delegates shared ideas and stories late into the night.

Caucus members will promote a network to support League activities nationwide and provide the LWVUS with ideas and recommendations for recruitment and mentorship. An e-mail list of almost 50 members now exists, and a Web site account on MySpace.com is in development. These communication outlets will allow younger members to stay in touch with one another as they develop their messages and support each other in growing the League.

Odetta MacLeish-White, LWVUS Board Pubic Relations chair, omw71@gru.net
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Title Annotation:LEAGUE MATTERS; League of Women Voters of the United States
Publication:National Voter
Geographic Code:1U5DC
Date:Oct 1, 2006
Words:1112
Previous Article:2006-2008 LWVUS officers, board members and nominating committee.
Next Article:Education fund.
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