Making Democracy Work

Because democracy is not a spectator sport

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging the informed and active participation of citizens in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy.

May 2016 Annual Meeting

Proposed Program Aug 2016-Dec 2017 As defined in our bylaws: The Program of the League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area shall consist of a) action to implement the Principles of the League of Women Voters of the United States, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, and the League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area, and b) those governmental issues chosen for concerted study and action.

We will be adopting a program at our annual meeting. Below is a list for your consideration. The tentative list below - a proposal looking for your recommendations on adding/removing items. You may wish to chime in either:  by email response to this message - or  in person at Annual Meeting Wed. May 18, 5:30 pm at Radisson

Topics for Lunch'n'Learn/other food-info-social events
1. Changes in campaign and voting laws in WI.
2. Open Government in WI
3. Environmental protection issues_DNR environmental review process in WI
4. Environmental protection issues_Energy need/production
5. Economic issues_Income growth and distribution in WI
6. Economic issues_Competing Incentives: Legislators, Business owners, Laborers
7. Education issues
8. Social justice issues
9. La Crosse regional transportation issues
10. August social gathering and marketing for member recruitment
11. Hot topic - one month set aside for topic that arises in need of education/discussion
12. Lunch program(s) set aside for LWVUS and LWVWI study recommendations
13. Team with "Feminism on Tap" for info-social evening (tap-snack-chat)
14. Field trips/evening events like #12 (social gatherings promoting league causes)
15. Award ceremony for advocacy on LWV policy-related issues

Other suggested activities of focus for our league: Voter Registration Drives: details arranged by Voter Services Committee Redistricting reform policy review/update before 2021 process Consensus Conferences: 1 per year allotted - study issues announced by LWVWI and/or LWVUS Legislative Breakfast March 2017 Co-sponsor International Women's Day in March 2017 Annual Meeting in May 2017

LWVWI (our state org) is recommending for State Proposed Program:
1. Focus on state budget priorities and how these impacts activities of local leagues
2. Coastal Management (Grant dependent - hire coordinator for presentations around state hosted by local leagues educating people on storm water runoff and flooding impacts)
3. Advocacy for redistricting, campaign finance, and voting rights reform
4. LWVWI assisting local leagues to focus on voter education and registration efforts

Notification of Election of Officers and Directors/Annual Meeting Nominating Committee Chair: Carolyn Mahlum-Jenkins

The League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Region will be having their annual meeting on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at the Radisson Hotel, 200 Harborview Plaza, La Crosse, Wisconsin. The annual meeting is scheduled as follows: 5:30 pm cocktails, 6:00 pm dinner, and 7:00 pm meeting. All members please consider joining the meeting. It is an evening of socialization, good food & spirits, and of course business.

Notice of Nominations One of the topics for the annual meeting is the nomination of Officers and Directors. It is required by Board policy that nominations are made public to the general membership one month prior to the annual meeting. Also any voting member may make nominations from the floor, on the night of the annual meeting provided the consent of the nominee shall have been secured.

2016-2017 Officers/Slate of Nominees President-Peter Nelson Vice President-Deb Lutjen

2016-2018 Officers/ Slate of Nominees Secretary-Maureen Kinney Treasurer-Dee Peacock

2016-2018 Board of Directors/Slate of Nominees Kathy Mulliner-Director-renewal Mary Nugent-Director-renewal Pam Knudtson-Director-new Hanorah Garland-Director-new 2017-2018 Nominating Committee/Slate of Nominees Nominating Chair- (to be appointed) League Members- Judy Swantz, Pam Thiel Board of Directors-Maureen Kinney & Sheila Hilke


The board addressed the question of a dues increase when we met March 2, 2016. Our dues, currently $60/person, cover the per member assessments for state and national league only. A per member assessment is how we fund the state and national league organizations and the services they provide for local leagues.

We have been notified that it is likely the per member assessment will be increased at the national convention in June. Our local league will then be collecting less as dues than what we are required to send to state and national.

It has been a number of years since we have raised dues and have relied on some members making an additional contribution to cover our expenses.

The board voted to increase dues effectively July 1, 2016, as follows:

Single membership $70 (an increases of $10)
Household membership $105 (an increase of $15)
New member $35 (an increase of $5)

We see these increases as fairly moderate and necessary to keep up with the per member assessments.

We will still need to rely on the generosity of members to do more if they are able to support our local league.

This recommendation is part of the budget and will be considered at the annual meeting when we review the budget.

Thank you.

Resources to Help You and Your Friends Get Ready to Vote: Message from Andrea

Dear Supporter,

Ninety-six years ago during the final push for women's suffrage, Carrie Chapman Catt + the League of Women Voters' founder + called upon our emerging organization to "finish the fight," the fight to ensure that our democracy is truly a government of, by and for all the people. In 2016, we will be continuing this charge by helping to register and educate millions of Americans in advance of Election Day + Tuesday, November 8.

In honor of our 96th anniversary as well as Presidents' Day, we are calling upon our supporters to help us in Making Democracy Work and bringing new voters into our electoral process this year.

To read more:

Facebook Page

The League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area is now on Facebook! Visit our page at If you have a Facebook account and want to receive notifications when the page is updated, click the "Like" button, and you will be automatically subscribed.

Past Lunch and Learn Information: Transportation

Several individuals from the Department of Transportation presented the current status of the study known as the Coulee Region Transportation Study. The study process is referred to as the Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL), a collaborative approach to decision making involving a broad range of stakeholders in the area to include environmental, community and the economic future. The region included in the study is La Crosse, Onalaska, Holmen, West Salem, La Crescent and surrounding communities.

Andrew Winga as the primary presenter related that the DOT had conducted a large number of public meetings including the general public, with local officials, and other agency coordinators. The study has gone on primarily during the year 2015. The DOT has now come out with a series of 6 strategy packages, all of which would include both extensive widening of some roads and new roads. It is difficult to explain with any precision or brevity exactly where all these strategies are located. However, in general the 6 taken together (not each plan would include each of these ideas) would expand Highway 16 to 6 lines from I-90 to La Crosse Street and make La Crosse Street 4 lanes. The speed limit would not increase. Other packages include a new highway extending U.S. 53 South to connect to River Valley Drive which would be placing new road pavement in the marsh. The proposals vary a bit on how the traffic would get from River Valley Drive to downtown. Some connection would be a 4-lane road on St. Cloud or Gillette Street or a new road from St. James Street to Monitor Street using an old railroad corridor. The Department of Transportation has a summary which you can find on the website at

In approximately 1989 the League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area did study the use of the marsh and transportation issues that might impact the marsh. The full consensus positions can be read on the La Crosse League website but in summary the League supports the use of the marsh for water and air quality and purification, flood control, wildlife habitat and as an urban green space. The League supports alternative strategies to alleviate future traffic congestion and opposes any further industrial or commercial development in the marsh and a moratorium on further filling of the marsh.

It is important to continue to monitor the progress of the study as no final plans have been made and the DOT is continuing to study the various impacts including environmental impacts of its 6 strategy packages. There will be more public meetings.

Maureen L. Kinney

Past Lunch and Learn Information: Voter Registration and ID Update

Ginny Dankmeyer, LaCrosse County Clerk, gave an update of voting registration requirements and the new voter ID. New voters and any voter with a new address needs to register to vote in the district that they live. They will need to bring with them proof of residence. Examples of this are a current and valid WI Driver's License, a pay stub or an utility bill. For more complete registration information go to: On election day, all voters will be required to provide a valid photo voting ID, be able to state their full name and give their address (State It, Show It, Sign It). Examples of valid voting IDs include a WI Driver's License or ID (current or expired after Nov 4, 2014), Certificate of Naturalization or a Driver License receipt. More information on ID can be found at

Past Lunch and Learn Information: Whitewater Watershed Project

Clear and crisp on the 10th, so was the November noon presentation. At the Radisson Hotel, La Crosse, Sheila Harmes, project coordinator of Whitewater Watershed Organization described this pioneering pilot project, one of four such in Minnesota. Working closely with farmers in Whitewater River area, despite the difficulties of scheduling and coordinating activities of busy, weather-dependent farmers, the project demonstrates how cooperative competition and desire to leave a meaningful legacy can achieve measurable change in the landscape and the river running through it without eroding productivity.

Whitewater Watershed was named a pilot project area for new water quality program as one of four Minnesota watersheds selected. This voluntary program is the result of local, state and federal partnerships and recognizes the efforts of local producers. The program is designed to accelerate voluntary adoption of agricultural practices that enhance water quality, while maintaining Minnesota's productive agricultural economy. Under the certification program, farmers who implement and maintain approved conservation plans will be certified and in turn assured that their operations meet water quality goals and standards for 10 years. Check out the organizations work at and a related book recommendation from the presentation: Barnyards and Birkenstocks: Why Farmers and Environmentalists Need Each Other by Don Stuart.

LWVLA has joined in the Upper Mississippi ILO effort to promote improvement and maintenance of water quality in our area and downstream to the Gulf of Mexico. LWV policy thinks globally, works out locally.

Past Lunch and Learn Information: A Community Policing Approach

La Crosse Police Lt. Patrick Hogan discussed the Community Policing Program being used in three areas of the city of La Crosse. The program, provided through a federal grant, takes a different approach to police work by embedding officers into the community that they serve.

The philosophy is:

  • being part of the community
  • serving, not controlling
  • community shared decision making
  • addressing community concerns
  • being accountable for their actions

There are currently six Community Policing Officers in three neighborhoods: Viterbo, Northside, and Downtown.

Voter Services Committee

Interested in Voting Issues? Want to become active in educating the public about Voter Registration or Voter ID requirements? The Voter Services committee is active in providing these opportunities to the public. If interested in joining, contact Nancy Danou, chairperson,

Become a Special Registration Deputy (SRD)

SRDs are needed! If interested in becoming certified to help register prospective voters, you must be trained and sworn in. Contact Teri Lehrke, City of La Crosse Municipal Clerk, at 608.789.7510 for information on the next training session.

LWV/Upper Mississippi River Region Inter League Organization

Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Minnesota Leagues have joined in forming a single group to study and educate the public about Mississippi watershed water issues. Early focus of the group will be on contaminants to the River. Nancy Hill is our representative and Gretchen Benjamin is on the board. If interested, contact the League, Nancy or Gretchen.

For those interested in Water Issues: The Midwest Connection for Storm-water and Erosion Control Professionals Conference is July 26 - 28, 2016 at the La Crosse Center.

More information:

EcoMunicipality Issues

Good websites for anyone interested in what is happening in the La Crosse area:

Coulee Region Climate Alliance


Other Links of Interest