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February 2019
Vol. 69 No. 9

In this issue:


Member survey results

Voter registration training

League Day at the Capitol


housing affordability in Johnson County

Saturday, February 2

9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Atonement Lutheran Church

Overland Park

After 14 months of research, the LWVJoCo Housing Affordability Study Committee is ready to present its findings about the supply of safe and affordable housing in Johnson County.

Committee members as well as area experts will discuss why affordable housing is vital to our community. This presentation and discussion will be moderated by Karen Wulfkuhle, co-chair of the study committee and past director of United Community Services of Johnson County.

Valorie Carson, Community Planning Director, United Community Services of Johnson County
Jennifer Creagar, Financial Care Program Director, United Methodist Church of the Resurrection
Maury Thompson, Deputy Manager, Johnson County Government

Following this presentation, you can participate in the conversation to create a LWVJoCo policy statement at one of three separate consensus meetings. 

One consensus meeting immediately follows the Feb. 2 presentation. Two additional consensus meetings have been scheduled to accommodate those members who cannot stay after the presentation. Consensus meetings:

  • Saturday, Feb. 2, immediately following League meeting
  • Tuesday, Feb. 5, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Carmack Room, Johnson County Central Library
  • Thursday, Feb. 7, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Carmack Room, Johnson County Central Library

Please RSVP to Peggy Neal with “League Consensus Meeting” as the subject line. Then provide the date of the meeting you plan to attend.

What you need to know about housing affordability

We Asked, You Answered—Profusely!

Who says Leaguers are a hands-off bunch, leaving it all to their board? Not so in Johnson County! In January, twice our members provided priceless input on our future.

On January 5, cold temps and ice didn’t deter folks from coming out to the annual planning session. Setting an attendance record, 89 of our 292 members:

  • Unanimously approved that the board study our “Reorganization for Agility and Action” plan. The annual meeting would move to March. Why? To have more time to help voters before the August primary election.
  • Enthusiastically brainstormed about ways to better empower voters in 2020.
  • Listed over 110 possible issues and topics for upcoming Saturday, nighttime and small-group events.

Currently, the board is digesting your comments. In May, the recommended reorganization plan will be up for a vote.

And just three days later, an online financial survey drew 93 responses! Findings include:

  • About 15 percent of respondents would raise dues by a maximum of $5 a year for more outreach tools, such as technology, bilingual banners and publicizing events. But another 52 percent would raise dues by $10 to $15 for those purposes.
  • 81 percent said that changing Saturday meetings from its current location at Atonement Lutheran Church wasn’t important. Of the 11 who wanted a non-church location, two-thirds would pay $10 a year more in dues.
  • 59 percent prefer keeping our monthly meetings the first Saturday morning of the month.

Primary suggestions from the 34 open-ended comments included:

  • Look at a variety of ways to raise money, not only by increasing dues.
  • Use a mix of days and times for meetings.
  • Offer more informal, small group meetings, such as in members’ homes.
  • Look for free locations for meetings.
  • Have more social, fun events.
  • Consider subsidized memberships for those on limited incomes.

Members, thanks so much for taking time to tell us what you think—whether in person or online. Your ideas are why this League is on the move!

Questions, concerns? Just let me know.

Ellen Miller, LWVJoCo president

ellen3147@gmail.com; 913-894-5232

State League Seeks Board Members

Ready for a statewide view of Leagueland? Consider serving on the LWV Kansas board. Help set legislative priorities. Find out what’s working for other Kansas Leagues. Share LWVJoCo actions and plans. If you are interested, by mid-February, contact co-presidents Cille King (cilleking@gmail.com or 785-766-6992) or Teresa Briggs (Teresa.briggs@outlook.com or 620-481-1197).

child on swing

Taking a Stance on Meeting Kansans’ Basic Needs


Sunday, Feb. 10

3:30-4:45 p.m. (note new time)

Carmack Room, Central Resource Library

The LWV Kansas requests our feedback on revising the position statement on Meeting Basic Human Needs with an emphasis on the Department for Families and Children (DCF).  Reps. Linda Gallagher and Jarrod Ousley, members of the Child Welfare System Task Force, will be sharing their passion and their expertise, and we will be using the task force’s 23 recommendations just finalized in January.

Please come to work and gather inspiration and information on how to advocate for Kansas children!

Community members are welcome!

Background info:

LWV Kansas’ working copy of the proposed position statement

Child Welfare System Task Force recommendations and full report

League Day at the CapitolLeague Day at the Capitol: Tell Your Legislators What You Think

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Join the League of Women Voters of Johnson County in Topeka to experience democracy under the dome.

We have a plan!

  • Begin the day with presentations by Cille King, LWVK co-president, and Paul Johnson, legislative consultant, who will offer advocacy tips and an overview of current legislation.
  • Attend committee meetings or make appointments with your legislative representatives to discuss our legislative priorities. Remember, your participation has a direct impact.
  • LUNCH will be provided.

Legislative priorities
On League Day, we will advocate for three LWVK legislative priorities:

  • Election Day voter registration
  • Medicaid expansion
  • Legislation requiring bills to include the names of the lawmakers or committees sponsoring them (No more anonymous bills!)

New to advocacy?
No need to fear if you are new to advocacy at the Capitol or if you are unfamiliar with these legislative issues. We will help you to identify your legislative representatives, provide you with a script should you choose to call your legislator prior to League Day or set up an appointment to meet them (recommended), and provide talking points and resources for each legislative priority.

Here are several other answers to frequently asked questions about League Day.

The most effective way to advocate

“According to congressional staffers, in-person visits from constituents are the most influential way to communicate with a senator or representative who is undecided on an issue.”

2011 Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) report Perceptions of Citizen Advocacy on Capitol Hill

Sign up now!

In MemoriamJoan Olsen

Joan Olsen died on Jan. 4. Through her vocation and volunteer work, Joan contributed to several causes to improve the community in which she lived.

Joan joined LWV in 1960 when she moved with her family from Michigan to the Kansas City area. During her 58 years in the League, she contributed to a range of League initiatives.

She led a study group that analyzed census data and educational opportunities in what was then called the South Park area (now Merriam), which resulted in the creation of the Children’s Enrichment Service of Johnson County. This group, supported and staffed by League volunteers, received a federal grant that led to the establishment of Head Start in Johnson County.

She also participated in a LWVJoCo study group that led to the establishment of the Unified Shawnee Mission School District.

Joan’s commitment to the League was recognized at our holiday party in December along with 10 other Lifetime Members.

Read her full obituary.

Welcome, New Members

Four people joined LWVJoCo during the past month: Pam Sitton, Blair Johnson, Mary Bradley and Ruthe Goff. And as always, we remind members to renew their membership. Renew online—it’s fast and easy.

Photo of Karin LeacoxMember Spotlight

Karin Leacox 

If you’ve been at any of our monthly meetings in the past year, you’ve seen Karin Leacox—greeting people as they come in, helping people become members or making important announcements. Read how she furthers the League’s goals through her work as membership chair and by assisting the president with her responsibilities.

Observer Corps

A new mission statement for Johnson County Library system, development of new storage units and a senior independent living community in Overland Park, and making Johnson County board of commissioner races partisan were among the many issues public officials discussed in meetings this month. Read summaries created by several League members who attend these public meetings regularly.

Board and Committee Updates

Show Your LWV Spirit

Pick up one of these vibrant T-shirts, and wear them proudly! They are $15. Look for the merchandise table at the Feb. 2 meeting or contact Ann Norbury.

  • Voter registration training: Get ready for voter registration drives in high schools in Johnson and Wyandotte counties. Join us Wednesday, Jan. 30, from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Lackman Library. Please bring a smart phone, tablet or laptop with you so we can show you how to use KSVotes.org. 
  • Water quality remains the focus of the Natural Resources Committee, and it will be the topic of the April meeting.  Trump’s EPA has proposed limiting the federal government’s regulation of waterways under the Clean Water Act to major navigable waterways, their tributaries, and selected wetlands. The public still has time to comment. Here’s what you need to know about the waters of the United States.
  • LWVJoCo will host two Legislative Coffees in February. See the full schedule.
  • LWVJoCo board approved reserving Yardley Hall at Johnson County Community College for the LWV Centennial Celebration on Feb. 29, 2020. The centennial celebration planning committee has started fundraising and is still looking for a national speaker for the event. People can make donations on the new centennial celebration webpage.

Find out more about what the state League is doing.

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