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Council '87
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Council '87

"As the most powerful nonpartisan political organization in the country, we are in a unique position to influence how government responds to citizens," said Nancy Neuman to the 95 delegates and 19 visitors at the opening of the national council meeting of the league of Women Voters. Ms. Neuman's statements set the upbeat tone for Council '87.

Pat Shutt, Strategic Planning Committee Chair, and Hawaii delegate, maintained this message saying, "We are positioning ourselves well to not only ensure the survival of the League of Women Voters, but to avail ourselves of the opportunity to become the premier citizens organization of the 1990s." Two strategic planning issues were the focus of roundtable lunch discussions on "Testing the Waters for the League's Futures." Half of council participants brainstormed on membership growth and half on program planning, as a way to provide more grist for the mill as the Strategic Planning Committee considers these two League issues: making a difference on critical public policy issues and increasing the tide (or as Hawaiian Shutt called it, the "tsunami") of membership. ..

The Meeting Basic Human Needs Study Committee brought state League members up to date as the study enters its second phase. They reported that 694 Leagues -- 60 percent of the total -- participated in the community profile phase of the study. Leagues conducted a total of 6,200 interviews to get the picture of unmet needs in their communities.

One subject very much on the minds of League leaders at all levels is debates -- especially 1988 Presidential Debates. Nancy Neuman used the council forum to thank both state and local leagues for their invaluable role in getting the League message on presidential debates to the media and the public. The League's challenge is to preserve fair, nonpartisan sponsorship of the general election presidential debates, to consolidate the League's position as the debate sponsor and to strengthen the precedent of candidate acceptance of League debate invitations and cooperation in debate negotiation.

All League leaders are reminded that sponsorship of presidential debates is the jurisdiction of the national League, just as state Leagues have jurisdiction over statewide office debates and local Leagues over local debates. This is a long-standing League policy that governs what level of the organization is responsible for what activities. One additional caution: if Leagues are approached for assistance by another organization planning to sponsor a presidential debate, advise them that such information is proprietary. The reason is the same: widespread sharing of debates how-to information, however well-intended, has the effect of diluting the LWVEF's presidential debates efforts.

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