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Study Committees

Study committees are the way the League arrives at new positions. The LWVBN has no new studies underway at the current time.

Action Committees

Action Committees work on established League positions. They promote action on League positions as defined in the Local League Program Focus.

Interest Groups

Interest Groups learn about issues, formulate and implement positive solutions with like-minded members.

Service Committees

Service Committees organize and sustain our League. Not all service committees are listed here -- for example, Budget, Bylaws, Nominating and more. There are many ad-hoc opportunities for volunteering besides the committees listed here.

Issues we are focusing on this year are in the
2021 Legislative Agenda in PDF format

Find NY State Positions in
2020 NYS Impact on Issues

National positions are in the
2020-2022 LVWUS Impact on Issues in PDF format

The work of the League is done through
Committees

Committees work to plan events, engage with voters, plan candidate forums, study issues of interest, take action on local issues, and so much more. Usually, any work or action proposed by a committee must be presented to the Board of Directors for its approval.

Committees are formed when there is interest or need. Their membership may include both League members and other members from the community with interest in their work. Our Committees are where the real work gets done.

Below is a detailed list of most of our committees; you can also see a quick overview of all committees.

Action Committees

Education

Chair: Susan Czyrny

The Education Committee has the following areas of focus:

  • Study and inform League members and the community about local efforts underway to improve equity, skills, and initiatives in WNY schools.
  • The state of universal pre-K in greater Buffalo communities and the NYS guidelines, their implementation, and oversight of such programs.
  • High stakes testing, Common Core Standards, and the changing methods for evaluation of teachers
  • Monitor compliance of New York Charter Schools Act and take action when necessary.
  • Discuss current actions related to education at the national, state and local levels.

Concerned about education in our community and want to get involved? We meet on the fourth Thursday of every month from September to June, at 1:30 p.m. at the League office.  We welcome new members from the League and from the community.

Recent Actions:

League Program: From the challenges of remote learning to the lack of sports, activities and socialization, The Effect of Covid-19 on Schools examined how the pandemic impacted our schools and our community (5/19/2021)

Resources:

Healthcare

Co-Chairs: Alberta Roman and Judy Huber

The Healthcare Committee is a source of education and empowerment on healthcare issues for League members and local residents.

  • Support State and National Healthcare positions.
  • Develop and inform members of Healthcare programs.
  • Support community Healthcare issues and activity.

We welcome new members. Join the LWVBN Healthcare Committee to strategize how we can educate everyone about the facts. We meet at 11:00 a.m. on the fourth Friday of the month.

Recent Actions

Consensus meeting

Resources:

Local Government

Chair: Marian Deutschman

The Local Government Committee encourages citizen participation and transparency in local government:

  • Monitor local government budgets
    • identify inequities and opportunities for better budget management (cost, quality, efficiency and citizen input)
    • Advocate for a fairer distribution of the Erie County sales tax
    • Support of criteria for intergovernmental relationships
    • Support of IDA (Industrial Development Agencies) reform
  • Education on sustainable regional land use planning
    • Education on the costs of sprawl
    • Education on municipal fragmentation
    • Review of progress to address vacant property in city
    • Support of local policies which combat climate change

If you're interested in local government issues, please join our committee. We meet on the second Wednesday of every month at 2:00 p.m. in the League office. There will be exceptions. Please call the League office at 716-986-4898 or e-mail lwvbn@lwvbn.org  to confirm the date of the next meeting.

Recent Actions

League Program: Panelists Mildred E. Warner, Gregory Raab, and Geoff Kelly focused on the Post-Pandemic Challenge for Local Governments. Scaling the Fiscal Cliff was moderated by Lisa K. Parshall (3/19/2021).

Money in Politics

Chair: Janet Massaro

The Money In Politics (MIP) Committee focuses on good government issues:

  • Study and update our understanding of critical issues including campaign finance reform, redistricting, and election law and advocate League-supported reforms at the national, state and local levels.
  • Recommendations regarding the Independent Commission on Reapportionment
  • LWVBN was one of 335 local leagues throughout the country that participated in the two-year Money In Politics study and consensus process.

For all those interested in seeking solutions to these ongoing government problems: welcome -- the MIP Committee has a place for you. The MIP Committee usually meets on the third Friday of the month at 1:00 p.m. at the League Office. Please email lwvbn@lwvbn.org to confirm the next meeting date. to confirm the next meeting date.

Recent Actions

League Testimony Margaret Meyer spoke on behalf of our League in front of New York State’s new Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) (08/12/2021)

League Testimony before the New York State Public Campaign Financing Commission in Word format, also available in PDF format (10/29/2019)

Resources:

Waterfront

Chair: Gladys Gifford

The LWVBN is actively involved in policies concerning transportation and our waterfront:

  • We support citizen access to the government agencies that make decisions regarding waterfront development along the shores of Lake Erie and the Niagara River
  • We encourage public transportation access to the Outer Harbor including various modes of public transit to provide access to park areas without attracting private automobiles
  • We monitor plans proposed by the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation concerning potential development on the Outer Harbor lands

Ensure your voice is heard and included and that these public lands be preserved for the public!

Recent Actions

The League of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara has joined a petition versus the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) and the City of Buffalo. More information in the Summer Voter, page 3.

League Program: Claiming Our Outer Harbor Park via Zoom featured Sam Magavern of the Partnership for the Public Good and the PPG report Buffalo’s Outer Harbor: the Right Place for a World-Class Park (PDF format, 4/21/2021)

Resources:

Interest Groups

Discussion Group

Chair:

Discussion Group meets to discuss current issues

  • Not just books! Selections range from magazine articles to podcasts and more, with a focus on deep understanding
  • To start solving all the world's problems, you have to understand them first.

We welcome new members, new perspectives, and new reading and discussion recommendations.

Great Decisions

Chair: Fran Holmes

Great Decisions is America's largest discussion program on world affairs. Discussion Groups across the country meet to discuss the most critical global issues facing America today. Many Leagues nationwide subscribe to this annual program, and our League does, too.

  • The Foreign Policy Association, the national sponsor of Great Decisions, chooses eight foreign policy topics for their Great Decisions Briefing Book each year.
  • The program provides background information and policy options for discussion

Don't pass up this opportunity to delve into world matters through a substantive, guided discussion. At LWVBN, the Great Decisions Discussion Group meets at 10:00 a.m. on the first Thursday of every month from February through November -- currently via Zoom.

Resources:

Service Committees

Communications

Chair:

The Communications Committee maintains a professional and contemporary brand image for LWVBN. We keep League members and the general public informed of our activities and produce helpful publications for the general public.

  • Write, produce, and edit the VOTER Newsletter
  • Craft and distribute Press Releases and other Public Relations activities
  • Manage LWVBN's Internet presence including the website and social media
  • Produce publications including the TRY brochure, membership brochure, and other printed matter

Donate your Talents! Communications directly contributes to the vitality and sustainability of the League.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Chair: Liz Zausmer

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are three principles that we, the League of Women Voters, strive to keep in mind in all our work. The DEI Committee:

  • Works to help the League maintain a presence and relevance in a wide variety of communities
  • Equips League members with information and experiences around DEI
  • Actively seeks out and partners with other civic organizations to utilize their experiences and expertise while collaborating to provide services within the Buffalo and Niagara communities

We welcome anyone who is interested in working to help the League be more diverse, equitable, and inclusive in its membership and work. The DEI Committee meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month to plan activities and develop LWVBN’s understanding and implementation of DEI principles.

Recent Actions

League Program: In partnership with the NAACP and SANYS, LWVBN will hold an informational webinar called 'Our Future is on the Ballot' about the statewide ballot measures at 7:00 p.m. on October 14, 2021. Webinar link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89555215303

League Program: In partnership with the NAACP and SANYS, Fighting for Our Vote 1.0 focused on facilitating and protecting the right to vote for all (02/23/2021)

League Program : In partnership with the NAACP and SANYS, Fighting for Our Vote 2.0 focused on what happens to our ballots once they are cast, and how voting is made accessible to all (05/13/2021)

Resources:

Election Service

Chair: Al Dozoretz

This committee holds elections, primarily serving the residents of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority (BMHA)

  • We conduct the Resident Commissioners Elections for the BMHA Board of Commissioners every even-numbered year.
  • We conduct nominations, Meet the Candidates events, and Resident Council Elections at each BMHA community as needed
  • Related activities requiring a high degree of integrity and trust -- such as holding random drawings (lottery) for entry to charter schools and similar -- also fall under the remit of this committee

Volunteers are always needed: Resident Council elections are held frequently, and generally require the holding of an envelope-stuffing party where many hands make light work of the snacks as well as the envelopes. As well, nominating and election events always require several dedicated volunteers. We meet on an ad-hoc basis as needed to conduct these activities.

Membership

Co-Chairs: Mary Ann Turkla and

A grassroots organization like the League is nothing without its members

  • Welcome, orient, mentor and retain new members
  • Engage and maintain our membership and hold new member orientation sessions
  • Develop and implement innovative membership drives
  • Hospitality: greet members and the public at in-person League events

Members are the League’s most valuable asset. Outreach and community building are essential to a grassroots organization like the League, and it's fun, too!

Program, Issues and Events

Chair: Marian Deutschman

The role of the Program, Issues and Events (PIE) Committee is to discuss and recommend approval of program events and actions proposed by committees or League members.

  • We review the local League Program and manage the League's events schedule
  • We review and recommend Letters to the Editor and other actions to the Board
  • We formulate the questions for our Vote411 Voter Guide and recommend them to the Board.

Join us if you’re interested in planning events that educate people about public policy issues. The PIE committee meets at 4:00 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month and while we don't usually serve pie, in non-pandemic times we do tend to bring snacks.

Voter Service

Chair: Barbara Gunderson

The Voter Service Committee supports the rights of all citizens to be informed voters.

  • Voter registration: Staff voter registration tables on college campuses and community events and festivals. Totes with all materials are provided. (Liz McGough and Patti Meyer Lee)
  • Naturalization: During the Covid-19 emergency, new citizens are naturalized by appointment at NCIS offices. Once the emergency is over, will again be able to attend naturalization ceremonies and register the new citizens to vote. (Deborah Schiffner)
  • Get Out the Vote subcommittee is at work during every election cycle to encourage all registered voters to vote, and those unregistered to register. During each election cycle we have a different plan about how to do this. Your enthusiasm and ideas are greatly appreciated. (Liz Zausmer)
  • Candidate Forums: In common with Leagues across the country, our League sponsors and/or provides staff for Candidate Forums, where candidates for a given office are asked questions which are provided by the audience. (Terri Parks)
  • Vote411 Each League invites candidates for office to submit biographical information and answer questions about the offices for which they are running.
  • Youth Programs including Students Inside Albany (SIA) (Janet Goodsell)

Voter Service is the core mission of the League of Women Voters

Recent Action

League Advocacy: Roundup of 2020 GOTV campaign

League Letter : League provides guidance on early voting (Buffalo News, Another Voice, 9/30/2019)

Resources:

Join Us!

Already a member? Volunteering for a LWV committee is a great way to become familiar with how the League operates and to learn about its involvement in local, state, and national issues. Our Volunteer Opportunities page offers a birds-eye view of all the committees listed here, plus bonus ad-hoc volunteer opportunities. And if you are not yet a member, we encourage you to join the League. Make a difference in the community and have fun doing it!

Last update: September 2021