Watercolor of old LWVCT logo
2012 League of Women Voters of Weston Annual Meeting & Betty Hill Forum

At the Red Barn Restaurant, Westport
11 May 2012
Picture story, Betty Hill Forum 2012: 
Video of Patricia Russo's address, q&a: http://www.lwvweston.org/LWVAnnualMtg5-11-12.wmv

The Annual Meeting of the League of Women Voters of Weston was held from 10am until 11:30am.  In addition to the regular business at such a meeting, we were fortunate to have in attendance Cheryl Dunson, President of the League of Women Voters of Connecticut, who filled us in on issues on the table with the LWVUS. 

New ideas for the upcoming year regarding action on our local positions (League always studies subjects rigorously before taking "positions"):  Concern for Weston groundwater supply and quality.  One general way to do this is to monitor the Saugatuck Reservoir and how the drought looks there - as an indicator of what might be happening re:  rainfall.  Last studied in 1987, the position was amended in 2006 and has six major points but the one for action suggested at the Annual Meeting was:

"Education of local residents regarding their responsibility to safeguard the quality and the quantity of Weston's water supply"

NOTE:  Here is a link to a non-LWV webpage on this subject (not a part of Annual Meeting itself, inserted here on Wednesday, July 25, 2012).

After that, Leaguers adjourned to the Betty Hill Forum and lunch.

After lunch we heard from the President of the Women's Campaign School at Yale, Patricia Russo.  That organization, founded by Westporter Andree Brooks, is soon to be celebrating 20 years of producing women candidates and women campaign managers.  It is going strong! 

Is this the year worldwide for women candidates? 

Ms. Russo told a story about the students in the Yale School. (Some seats are reserved for women from abroad.) Those who have succeeded in running for office and winning in, for example, Cameroon ("I had to look at the map to find it") face different and additional barriers than we do in the U.S.A.  One Campaign School student called to say she would be coming late to her five-day session because she had been kidnapped by the opposition...

At lunch were two of the Women's Campaign School star pupils lately and locally.  Britta Lerner, Chairman of the Weston Republican Town Committee and elected member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, and First Selectman Gayle Weinstein of Weston (in her second term) made a pitch for the Campaign School at Yale. 


NOTE:  in the 1990's Diane Farrell of Westport, another graduate of the Women's Campaign School at Yale, shortly after she was elected to office as First Selectwoman of Westport, had spoken to the LWV of Weston on the subject..."What It Takes To Run, Win and Govern."

Before we heard from Patricia Russo (l)...and before lunch, there was a brief social half an hour...for remembering why Betty Hill cared about the League and its issues as well as world affairs.

Leaguers are always engaged in passionate discussions and most of the time these conversations rekindle memories of why we all care so much about non-partisanship.

People come from all professions and many different special interests to find a comfortable home at an event like the League's Betty Hill Forum this year. 

At the "head table (l)" speaker Patricia Russo of the Women's Campaign School at Yale listens to First Selectman Gayle Weinstein - next door (r) the talk was intense, too!

Engaging a guest from Ridgefield in conversation, we can bet that this was a lively exchange!  And it was good to see old friends again - and new ones!

So what we figure was the best thing about this Betty Hill Forum was a comment we'd heard before, but it resonates - and some in the audience might have been upset to hear it - but Ms. Russo made the observation that women, when pondering running for office, first think, "Am I qualified?  Do I know enough?  Can I do the job?" and hold back, while men immediately go out campaigning!  But you know, if you don't get out there, you don't get to know your potential constituents!