President's Message (Jim Koshi)|
94 National Convention Report (Sue Irvine)
Why Don't We Vote?
LWVHI Program, 1993-1995
Health Care Reform (Elizabeth Adams)
Politics in '94
Population - A Problem Everywhere
Law of the Sea
Recycling in Hawaii
Writing a Congressperson
Citizen's Guide to National Voter Registration
'94 National Convention Report
Health care reform was a major theme at Convention '94. Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke forcefully to the issue, promoting the White House package of reforms. In answer to a question from a league member, Ms. Clinton hit national news saying she and her husband, while supporting inclusion of reproductive health services, were open to compromise to enact health care reform legislation this year. (I was thrilled to stand within four feet of Ms. Clinton as she left our convention site.)
Convention defeated a motion requiring the league to support only those plans that ensure coverage for reproductive health services, including abortion, family planning, and contraceptive services. Also defeated was a motion to support only those plans which provide for a single payer system. Both of these motions were looked upon as being so restrictive that League would be sidelined in the health care debate.
Our last morning in Washington, the Hawaii delegation visited the Capitol where we stood on the steps in 100° weather ("heat factor" 120°) to hear a couple of rallying speeches on health care by Rep. Dingell (D-Michigan) and someone whose name I missed due to heat stroke or something similar.
We then entered the cool halls of the Rayburn Building where we met Hawaii Representative Patsy T. Mink at a hearing on drug pricing. In Senator Dan Inouye's office, in the somewhat modern Hart Building, we spoke at length with Patrick DeLeon, Inouye's administrative assistant in charge of health care. I was personally most impressed with his statement that Senator Dole controls what will be covered by any plan enacted as he has the votes (over 40) to prevent ending a filibuster on the subject, and he has stated that he must agree with any plan enacted. (I think we're seeing some softening of this stand presently.) DeLeon also indicated that the "liberal Democrats" are unwilling to pass a simple bill mandating insurance companies to cover everyone, a simple fix which might, according to DeLeon, solve enough of the health care crisis to make further steps unnecessary.
Aside from health care, League set the course for our organization over the next two years. There were no major debates on the budget as PMP remains at $19, although there was concern that national's direct mail drives cost lots for the meager donations received. The national board feels that the mailings have educational, as well as fundraising value.
League of Wo/Men Voters caught my eye as the most innovative suggestion for changing the name of the league at this convention.
League program was adopted with lots of discussion, and several concurrences, the latter which will allow League to address violence prevention in concurrence with a Minnesota study, "early intervention for children at risk," as well as "opening government to citizens." Aside from the Minnesota study, these concurrences are grouping present league positions under new headings. Local leagues felt they needed these concurrences to allow them to take decisive action against violence, for children, and for accessible government.
For me, the most impressive speaker at convention was Attorney General Janet Reno. She gave a low key, but forceful speech on the need to support our children and families when young-to prevent myriad problems later. So true!
I attended a preconvention workshop on "diversity" and came away with the feeling that the most important task of today's league is reaching out to others if we wish to survive. ("Others" means working women and men, people of color, anyone who isn't gray-haired, people who don't read, but might listen, etc.)
Addendum: Watch your next National Voter for full wording of LWVUS programs. Two non-recommended concurrences and a non-recommended item were added to the proposed issues for emphasis.
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