Apr 152017
 

WOW Dems are everywhere these days.  The Pete Sessions Town Hall in Richardson received national coverage; it even made the Rachel Maddow show, and we were there. The Town Hall in Plano with Senator Van Taylor and Representative Matt Shaheen made the evening news, and we were there.  Many WOW Dems (but not all) appeared on the Channel 8 news video including John Stafford, Tarek Radjef (yes, WOW has male members), Prissy Wisnewski, Karen Beck, Barb Korman, Beverly Vasta, Barbara Oldenburg, Marcie King, Irene Slovin and yours truly Hazel Weathers.  We vocally and enthusiastically expressed our opinions. Our enthusiasm fell on deaf ears as both Senator Taylor and Representative Shaheen exhibited a chronic case of selective hearing loss and treated us as if we are not constituents whose concerns matter.

Voting in the May Municipal elections begins in just a few days.  Now we face the ultimate test.   Samantha Bee said it best (warning: this comic occasionally uses strong language which may be unsuitable for children).  The message is that it’s not enough to yell your opinions; protest is good, but in the end, your VOTE is the voice you must use! 
We’ve identified not one, not two, but 17 women who share our progressive values running for City Councils, School Boards, and Mayor in our neck of the woods. This includes the five women formally endorsed by WOW earlier this month. Plus there are six male candidates with like-minded values who are running for every position from Mayor on down.  These candidates are facing fierce and ugly competition in the Plano races.  We need to elect these brave, progressive candidates who’ve come forward to sacrifice sweat, money and precious family-time to run for office.
Turnout is abysmally low in municipal elections across the country.  In our area, the percent of voters in the last Mayoral races ranged from 3.9% in McKinney to 13% in Plano.  Pitiful! When so few people vote, a small fraction of residents have outsize influence in decisions about critical issues like schools, parks, housing, infrastructure, libraries, police, transportation and wages.
If you’re unsure who to support, we can guide you!  There have been numerous Candidate “Meet n’ Greets” and Forums, and we were there.  The candidates have held face-to-face discussions, and we were there and we talked to them, and read their survey responses.  If you don’t know who to vote for, read the League of Women Voters Guides or visit candidate’s websites.  Check for endorsements from political organizations you respect (See the WOW endorsements/suggestions link above).  On a personal note, I’ve developed a list of my choices (see sidebar top left).  Please forward this list to 10 friends and ask them to each share it with 10 more family members, neighbors and co-workers.
Turnout is everything! We need to have a mind-blowing turnout for the Municipal elections to empower candidates who can truly represent us.  Because if we don’t, we will continue to be patronized, discounted and ignored by the Pete Sessions’, Van Taylors’, and Matt Shaheens’ who think we are all “hot air and bluster” and don’t really matter.  We’ll continue to have discriminatory bathroom bills and “public education destroying” school voucher bills pushed in the Legislature.  But once they feel the tremor of a thundering herd of votes at the Municipal level, they’ll hear us and listen at the state and national levels too.
The ultimate resistance – the ultimate test – is the election!  We can win!  We must win!  We will win if we vote!  Early voting is from April 24th through May 2nd and election day is May 6th.  VOTE! And encourage every progressive voter you know to speak loudly and clearly through their vote too!
Hazel Weathers
President
Apr 152017
 

The Municipal elections are non-partisan and sometimes it’s hard to determine who to vote for if you don’t have time to attend Forums and research each candidate.  That’s one reason turnout is typically so low.  Yet, it is absolutely critical that we vote instead of ceding our power to a handful of voters to make decisions that affect our lives, families and communities.  I have personally met and talked to most of the candidates listed below and believe they support my values.  They care about public education and community.  They support human rights for all and see value in diversity.  They believe in fiscal responsibility, while appreciating the role government plays in improving our lives.  They support equal pay for equal work and a living wage.  They are progressive (or at least moderate) in their views.  In a partisan election, most of them would identify as Democrats, but some are moderate Republicans or Independents.

I recommend the candidates below.  In races where two progressives/moderates are competing, I’ve listed them both (and in some cases, indicated my preference with an *).  For races with no progressives/moderates running, I have NOT listed them and have no recommendations.

Collin College Board of Trustees:  Everyone in Collin County can vote for them.

  • Place 2 – Jeri Landfair Chambers*or Nancy Wurzman
  • Place 3 – Dr. Stacey Donald

PISD Board:  Everyone in Plano Independent School District can vote for them.

  • Place 1 – Carissa Picard
  • Place 2 –Sreedhar “Sree” Yedavalli
  • Place 6 –Marilyn Hinton or Trish Patterson (take your pick)

Plano City Council:

  • Place 2 – Ann Bacchus
  • Place 4 –Kayci Prince
  • Place 6(Mayor) – Harry LaRosiliere
  • Place 8 – Stirling Morris or David Downs (take your pick)

Allen City Council:

  • Place 2 –Tabassum Ahmad

Carrollton/Farmers Branch ISD Board

  • At-Large -Candace Valenzuela

Carrollton Mayoral Candidate

  • Michelle Beckley

Frisco City Council

  • Place 6 – K.D. Warach

Lewisville City Council

  • Place 3 – Elena K. Claros

Melissa City Council

  • Place 5 – Heather Martin

Melissa ISD Board

  • Place 1 – HeatherKurlinski

McKinney City Council

  • 3rdDistrict – Margaret Harsch* or Gavin Nicholson

Murphy City Council

  • Place 3 – Elizabeth Abraham

Richardson City Council:

  • Place 4 – Cory Montfort

Bond Referendums:

  • Vote Yes. Several communities have Bond issues on the ballot (Plano has 6).  In general, I support Bond issues because they are investments to improve infrastructure, enhance shared services, and keep our communities vibrant and strong.

These are my opinions.  Take them for what it’s worth.  Or do your own research.  But please vote!  In the last mayoral elections, turnout in these cities ranged from a low of 2.8% to a high of 13%.   If you share these recommendations (and I hope you will), please include the paragraphs at the top.  Help get these solid, qualified candidates elected!  Vote!

Hazel Weathers, President
WOW Dems

Apr 152017
 

WOW Dems formally endorsed five progressive female candidates in the upcoming May Municipal elections. Now it’s time to take the next step and help them get elected by volunteering to be a Poll Greeter. Poll Greeters distribute candidate flyers, hold a sign, or smile, greet, and thank voters outside the polling places. It’s surprising how many voters are influenced by this final gesture just before they vote. Election Day is Saturday, May 6th and Early Voting is April 24th through May 2nd. If you can spare a few hours for this important work (especially on Election Day), please contact [email protected]. We’ll coordinate dates, times and locations to ensure we can support our candidates with Poll Greeters at some of the major polling places. You can make a difference!  And our endorsed candidates sincerely appreciate your help:

  • Tabassum Ahmad, Allen City Council, Place 2
  • Stacey Donald, Collin College Board of Trustees, Place 3
  • Heather Kurlinski, Melissa ISD Board, Place 1
  • Ann Bacchus, Plano City Council, Place 2
  • Carissa Picard, Plano ISD Board, Place 1
 Posted by at 10:49 am
Mar 282017
 

The WOW Dems are hosting a family-friendly ‘fun’draiser on June 24 . Register today to join us for an afternoon of bowling, food and fun at the newly renovated Plano Super Bowl! For $25 you can enjoy two hours of bowling and shoes and children 12 and under can bowl for $15. Your support allows us to support progressive candidates in local elections to turn North Texas blue – one candidate and one election at a time.

The following sponsorship opportunities are available (and greatly appreciated). All $100, $200, and $300 sponsors will be recognized at the event.

$300 “Strike out Hate” Sponsor: Bowling and shoes for 5 and 5 free drink tickets

$200 “Spare Our Future” Sponsor: Bowling and shoes for 3 and 3 free drink tickets

$100 “Don’t Split our Country” Sponsor: Bowling and shoes for 2 and 2 free drink tickets

$20 “Gutter Ball” Sponsor: If you can’t bowl, come anyway, cheer your team on to victory and enjoy 1 free drink ticket.

Sign up to bowl or to donate at Super Bowl Saturday or download the flyer to post and share.

What: WOW Dems Super BOWL Saturday

When: June 24, 2017 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Where: Plano Super Bowl, 2521 Avenue K, Plano 75075

 Posted by at 9:50 pm
Mar 282017
 

PRESS RELEASE:

Women Organizing Women Democrats Endorses Candidates for May Municipal Election 

 Plano, Texas – Mar. 29, 2017 – Women Organizing Women Democrats (WOW Dems), a political action committee dedicated to expanding the participation of women in politics, today announced endorsements of following candidates for election in the May 6, 2017 Municipal Elections for Collin County:

  • Tabassum Ahmad, Allen City Council, Place 2
  • Stacey Donald, Collin College Board of Trustees, Place 3
  • Heather Kurlinski, Melissa ISD Board, Place 1
  • Ann Bacchus, Plano City Council, Place 2
  • Carissa Picard, Plano ISD Board, Place 1

“These candidates are prepared to advance practical solutions to address the community’s challenges and to support its opportunities, and each is prepared to listen closely to residents to address their concerns for the future of Collin Co. We are proud to support this qualified field of candidates,” said Hazel Weathers, president of WOW Dems.

Each candidate was selected for endorsement after a review of written documents provided to us by their campaigns. WOW Dems may add additional endorsements prior to the May 6 election.

About Us

WOW Dems is a North Texas-based organization whose mission includes expanding the participation of women in politics by increasing their political engagement, raising awareness about women’s issues, and recruiting, supporting, and electing progressive women for partisan and non-partisan offices. We expand our awareness of relevant issues through our educational and related activities.

WOW Dems meet bi-monthly, on second Thursday evenings at the Plano Environmental Education Center.  Everyone is welcome to attend.

Contact:

Hazel Weathers, President

972-618-9291, [email protected]

Mar 182017
 

Are you ready to WOW the voters, make history, and secure our future on May 6?

Activism is up everywhere, with many activities led by WOW’s Legislative Committee.  We’ve phoned and met with our Representatives on ACA, EPA, Social Security, Planned Parenthood, Medicare/Medicaid, school vouchers, the “bathroom” bill and other bills moving through the 85th TX Legislative Session.  We’ve marched and protested against the Muslim ban and heartless ICE deportations that separate families.  We’ve demanded our Congressmen hold town halls, lobbied for “independent” investigation into ties to Russia, and pressed for the release of Trump’s tax returns.  And we’ll continue all those efforts.  Now it’s time to make our voices heard in a way that is the very underpinning of Democracy – our vote!

In the upcoming May election, many school boards, city councils, mayors and other local races will be decided.  We have an unprecedented number of progressive candidates running in Plano, McKinney, Allen, Melissa and other cities — highly qualified individuals who are sacrificing personal time, energy, and money.  We met six dynamic, talented, progressive, female candidates at our General Membership meeting in March (and there are many more out there).

Pictured here l-r top are Carissa Picard, Ann Bacchus, Heather Kurlinski, and l-r bottom Trish Patterson, Tabbasum Ahmad and Dr. Stacey Donald.  These women can’t succeed without you.  They need literally hundreds of volunteers to help block walk and phone bank.  They must raise thousands of dollars for road signs, yard signs, robocalls, and mailings.  They need your vote and for you to solicit others in your “sphere of influence” to vote for them too.

She wins; we win!  You have an opportunity to elect individuals who share your values for human rights and inclusiveness, quality public education, health care for all, appreciation of diversity, tax fairness, good government services, a living wage, a worker’s right to bargain, a strong middle class, and more.  When progressives win local races, we have representatives who actually work for us!

In the next few days, WOW Dems will publish a list of candidates we endorse.  Typically, the turnout is so low for municipal races that less than 9,000 votes equals a win.  If every person reading this note does SOMETHING to support these candidates, they will win.  Help them walk neighborhoods to reach voters. If you can’t do that, then make phone calls.  If that’s too much, then donate to the campaigns (no amount is too small).  Put up a yard sign.  And, finally….. vote!  Early voting is April 24th to May 2nd.  Election Day is Saturday, May 6th.  There is no time to waste.  We have only six weeks to do the work necessary to get them elected, and we are counting on you!  Bring your families and vote!  Bring your friends and vote!  Bring your neighbors and vote!  Turnout is everything!

As we learned from Indivisible, our Members of Congress care more about their own re-election than just about anything else.  When progressives launch successful races in their own backyards this will get the attention of our state and federal representatives and amplify our voices when we call, write, and protest (as we will continue to do).

What can you do?  Visit progressive candidates’ websites to learn more about their campaigns, volunteer, and make donations.  Follow WOW Dems on  Facebook and Twitter and visit WOWDems.org for up-to-date news and announcements on endorsements.  Let’s elect progressive candidates so we can keep our local communities financially strong, vibrant, welcoming places to live and work.  We’ll leverage those wins to achieve goals for 2018 and beyond.  Join me in building our Future by taking charge of the Present.  It’s in our hands.  Volunteer in ways that are right for you and VOTE!

Feb 202017
 

From coast to coast, the #Resistance is underway. Beginning with the Women’s March on January 21st, continuing to rallies at airports over the Muslim ban, and now, backlash from deportations, the protests have never stopped. Phone systems are “breaking” under the weight of calls to elected officials (1.5 million calls a day to the U.S. Senate). Visits to congressional offices, already occurring, will increase during the upcoming recess. It seems the Republican Party underestimated the one “branch” of government they don’t control – the people! And thankfully (so far), we’re even getting help from the courts.

WOW Dems are right in the middle of the good fight! Muriel Hamilton joined protestors at DFW airport the weekend Muslims were denied entry into the U.S. Renee Mitchell, our Legislative Committee chair, traveled to Austin with TexProtects and 100+ advocates to lobby for the protection of children in the foster system. WOW Fundraising co-chair Lori Kleinfield and member Carissa Picard met with aides at Senator Cornyn’s office and then joined 250 others to march outside in an attempt to influence his vote on the Betsy DeVos cabinet nomination. And several #WOWDems members found their way to the February 18 Presidents Day March and Rally to support all immigrants and refugees.

Countless calls, postcards, emails, letters, tweets, faxes (everything but carrier pigeons) have been used to reach our U.S. Senators over the deplorable cabinet nominations. We’re also closely tracking the 85th Texas Legislative session and calling Texas Senators and Representatives to express our opinions about bills being proposed on school vouchers, sanctuary cities, bathroom bills, union rights, and more. Some we’ll win and some we’ll lose, but regardless of the outcome, we won’t get discouraged, because we are in it for the long game. And we want our elected officials to know we are a force to be reckoned with (helpful tip: store your representative’s numbers in your phone for quick access).

We’re working with other organizations too. We’re proud of the protests and visits to the offices of elected officials organized by the Indivisible groups in the area, including Indivisible Liberty Tree TX 3. We’re encouraged that the Collin County Democratic Party is amassing a large cadre of volunteers to do grass-roots field work. And we’re pleased with the large number of progressive candidates who are filing to run in the upcoming Municipal elections on May 6.

For more information, please attend the next WOW Dems meeting on March 9th. Our speaker is Catherine McDonald, Managing Attorney for the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in American. Look forward to seeing you then.

In the meantime, keep up the calls and letters. Sign up for one of the upcoming Lobby Days in Austin. Visit local congressional offices or attend town halls. Support the campaign of a local candidate. For news and information, follow us on Twitter and visit the WOW Dems Facebook page. And don’t forget to join or renew your WOW Dems membership.

Hazel Weathers, President

Feb 152017
 

Photo at twitter.com/85thLegislature

Many of us are rediscovering the importance of civic engagement. Increasingly we are becoming active participants in our democracy to speak out against hate and injustice. From phone calls to elected officials and marches in solidarity to social media actions and organized protests, we are finding our voices and making them heard.

Direct action is a powerful part of an effective #Resistance playbook. Now that the 85th Texas Legislature is in session, it is time to add a page for Lobby Days. Hundreds of groups have scheduled Lobby Days during this session. A strong showing of grassroots support for organizations that are protecting progressive policies, supporting women’s rights and promoting social justice has never been more important.

Plan to attend at least one Lobby Day during this legislative session to let your representatives know you stand for progress. These tips from Lori Kleinfeld, WOW Dems Fundraising Committee co-chair and veteran Lobby Day-goer, will help you prepare. Read “Planning a Successful Lobby Day” for more information.

Before You Go:

  • Arrange meetings ahead of time with your legislators. Usually sponsoring groups, such as Planned Parenthood, will do this for you.
  • Familiarize yourself with the issues affecting the sponsoring group and how your representative is likely to vote.
  • Know the name and number of the Bill for which you are lobbying. You are there to persuade your representative to vote favorably for your cause.
  • Prepare for the day. Jot down a few key points you want to make about each issue you are there to discuss.

While You’re There:

  • Bring a positive, friendly attitude and be respectful.
  • Dress in business casual (no jeans) but wear comfortable shoes. You will be walking a lot!
  • Capitol security will inspect your purses, backpacks, and other personal items, so be prepared.
  • Expect to meet with either your representative or legislative aide. Don’t be disappointed if you meet with the legislative aide. They often have more time to listen to you—they may even agree with you. Hopefully they can persuade your representative.
  • Bring written information to leave with the office. Leave-behinds should include relevant and persuasive facts and figures, and may be provided by the organization sponsoring the Lobby Day. Be sure to include your name, contact information and a WOW Dems brochure or card.
  • Food is available in the Capitol cafeteria, but you may want to pack your own. Groups including the organizers of Blue Ribbon Lobby Day, may provide a box lunch.
  • Often there will be great speakers at the steps of the Capitol, so be sure to listen.
  • Spread the word! Take pictures and post updates on social media. Remember to tag the group that organized the day.

Most importantly have fun and remember that you are doing your civic duty!

Jan 252017
 

Like most of you, I felt a sense of dread and despair after the election in November and again on Inauguration Day, January 20th.  But what got me out of the “fetal position” then, and what keeps me going now, is organizing to take action.

Throughout history, women have played essential roles in every battle for human rights.  And on January 21st, the Women’s March on Washington and its 600+ “sister marches” worldwide showed the Trump administration that we will vigorously resist actions that endanger our Democracy and destroy civil rights. Millions of women marched in support of human rights and solidarity in opposition to the Trump agenda.  It was inspiring and exhilarating to see huge, diverse crowds gathered in every major city in the US and around the world!  WOW Dems chartered a bus to Austin and marched alongside 50,000 Texas women, and members also participated in marches in Dallas, McKinney, and D.C.

And, this is just the beginning.  We also plan to support upcoming Lobby Days to influence TX Representatives during the 85th Legislative Session.  I encourage everyone to read “Indivisible, a Practical Guide to Resisting the Trump Agenda.”

As President of WOW Dems, I can assure you that our newly installed leadership team will enact many of the recommended actions and we will support other organizations that are fighting for common objectives.  But, we need all hands on deck.  No one can afford to just sit back and complain – not now.  We must all get involved in our important role as citizens of this great country to keep it a great country – a Democracy that honors women’s rights and human rights and civil rights and economic rights for all, not just the wealthiest.

The WOW Dems’ mission is to expand women’s political engagement, raise awareness about women’s issues, and recruit, support and elect women for partisan and non-partisan office.  Members pay annual dues each year in January.  If you haven’t yet joined or renewed your membership, please do so now.  Your dues enable us to operate and support progressive candidates.

As President Obama often says “Democracy is hard work.”  So, join a committee and help us do the work.  Be knowledgeable and prepare to speak out loudly and clearly to let our Representatives know where we stand on the issues; we must remind them that they work for us and if they don’t support us (their constituents), they will be replaced.  Amp up your technical game – get on Facebook and Twitter so we can rapidly and effectively communicate and respond.  Finally, support local progressive candidates.  And consider running yourself; check out Annie’s List “Ready to Run” for upcoming classes.

Never again will we simply cede local and state politics to people who don’t support our values.  We are not giving up; we will not be silent; we must fight back using tools and techniques that are effective in today’s world.  The battle has just begun!  Join us!

Hazel Weathers, President

 Posted by at 7:44 am
Jan 152017
 

IMG_9802On Thursday, January 12, WOW Dems gathered for the January meeting and heard a great presentation by Ramiro Luna and Clay Arnold from State Representative Victoria Neave’s campaign. Ramiro and Clay gave us all of the details on how they ran the campaign that resulted in Victoria Neave’s election. The importance of organization and voter contact were emphasized as well as the details on exactly how much time, money and hard work is involved in an election. This information was timely with the filing periods for local elections coming soon! Thank you to Ramiro and Clay for sharing with our group.

This was the largest meeting every hosted by WOW Dems and we were excited to welcome many new members and guests. It was an engaged and interested crowd and we look forward to working with everyone in 2017 and beyond!

IMG_9803 IMG_9804

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the presentation, the new WOW Dems officers for 2017 /2018 were elected and the new board was introduced by president Hazel Weathers. A list of board members and contact information can be found on the Officers & Committees tab. As the committees are forming for the coming year, please take a look at the descriptions and join a committee that best fits your interests and abilities. We need everyone to be involved to bring your ideas, take action to make a difference and accomplish our mission.

IMG_9807IMG_9822
WOW Dems Officers and Board Members

 Posted by at 11:51 am
Feb 272017
 

Fundraising:

The WOW Dems Fundraising Committee continues to work on new FUNdraisers including a family event on Saturday, June 24. Save the date to attend the WOW Super Bowl Saturday for a day of bowling for a great cause. We will be renting out the newly renovated Super Bowl Plano. Get your team ready – there will be prizes and more. Also in the works is an Oktoberfest Beer and Food event and the not-be-missed WOW Dems big Gala will be held in February 2018.

Legislative:

The Texas legislature is in session and we are watching.  The Texas legislature meets for only 140 days (from Jan 10 thru May 29) every other year, which means a great deal of activity in a very short period of time.  If we want to affect legislation in Texas, the time to act is now!  The Legislative committee is tracking bills related to abortion access, immigration, education funding and vouchers, child protection, religious liberty, bathroom access, property taxes, and more.  But we aren’t just tracking bills.  We are also attending Lobby Days in Austin, visiting our elected officials, attending marches, rallies, protests, and writing letters.

We want you to join us! Mark your calendar for Planned Parenthood Lobby Day on April 5 and Blue Ribbon Lobby Day on April 10.

Follow WOW Dems on Facebook, Twitter  and MeetUp to get the latest news about protests, rallies, and other action items. Schedule a visit with your elected officials.  Not sure how to get a visit, or what to say once you do?  The Legislative committee is here to help.  Any questions or ideas for activism can be addressed to [email protected]. Join us in making your voice heard!

 Posted by at 11:49 pm
Feb 202017
 

The WOW Dems Mar. 9 meeting features an update from the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America (CLCMA). Ms. Catherine McDonald, Managing Attorney and Immigration Attorney Ms. Sehla Ashai will present “Where Are We Now? The Trump Administration and Immigration.”

Ms. McDonald and Ms. Ashai will discuss what is happening now and how CLCMA is protecting the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution.

Ms. McDonald obtained her undergraduate degree in International Studies from the University of Washington. She graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 1994. Over her 22 years of legal practice in high volume criminal defense, Ms. McDonald has moved her practice from State criminal matters to a National Security practice in Federal Courts. In addition to handling a criminal caseload, Ms. McDonald is often the first point of legal contact for most clients seeking assistance from the law center.

Ms. Ashai is an immigration attorney with a background in human rights advocacy. She was a Beneficial-Hodson Scholar at Johns Hopkins University who pursued her passion for human rights at University of Michigan Law School. Ms. Ashai received a Henry Bates and Clara Belfield Travel Fellowship after graduation to conduct research on gender discrimination and citizenship law in Indian Administered Kashmir. She has worked as a federal judicial law clerk, a labor organizer for taxi drivers in Chicago, a legal aid attorney for victims of violence, a consultant for relief projects in post-earthquake Haiti, and a specialist in nonprofit program development.

The WOW Dems meeting will be on Thursday, March 9, 2017 at 6:30pm, at the Environmental Education Center, 4116 W Plano Pkwy, Plano, TX.