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About Issues


The League’s Approach to Issues
           
or

How the League Develops a Position

Basket of 100th Year League Pins
 


A Note to Our Readers

We are often asked how the Dallas League decides to support an Issue among the many that confronts society.   We asked Dr. Linda Wassenich, current Secretary on the Dallas Board of Directors and a member of the League since 1970, to help us understand the Issues process.

Dr. Wassenich is an expert on League process and public policy engagement and has served for 31 years in various positions on the Board for the Dallas League, the Texas League and the League of Women Voters of the US. 

Please read through Dr. Wassenich’s Ten Takeaways and think about how you would like to engage with the League. We are in the process of updating the Issues section of the new website, so thank you for your patience as we add historical and current Issues information.


Dr. Linda Wassenich

Ten Takeaways from LWV Leader 
Dr. Linda Wassenich



  1. The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan, political organization that never endorses candidates or political parties.  Legislators have been known to say that they welcome the League’s testimony because they know the League has done its homework and represents citizens input, not any special interests.

     

  2. The League’s process for advocacy is a proven approach that is effective and starts with members’ interests.  The League is a grassroots organization, and issues chosen for study and action originate with the members.

     

     

  3. If the subject is appropriate for the League to study at the local level and if there is sufficient interest, the board will recommend that the League adopt the issue for study.  If the issue is relevant to the state or federal government, the Dallas  League can recommend a study to the LWV-TX or LWVUS.

     

  4. A committee of members is appointed to research the issue and write a report for the membership.  The study process can include interviewing local officials, academic experts, social service providers, and others; researching the history of the issue; and talking to different people to hear the various points of view about the issue.  The report is called Facts and Issues because it presents the factual background and the various issues that surround the subject which require value judgments to resolve.

     

     

  5. League members meet in neighborhood discussion groups, called Units, to discuss the subject of the local study.  The discussion is guided by a resource person from the study committee.  In addition to the report which is provided to every member before the meetings, the study committee develops a series of questions which members answer in their unit discussions. 

     

  6. A position statement can be fashioned from the areas in which there is member agreement when they answer the questions. The position statement is then used as the basis for advocacy to lawmakers and public officials.  

     

     

  7. League positions, therefore, are based on member consensus, or common agreement, as shown in the answers to the study questions.  It is not a majority vote but rather a statement of opinion about the issue that reflects what most of the group thinks.

     

  8. League advocacy can take many forms.  Direct advocacy can involve writing a letter to your elected official to discuss a specific issue and ask the legislator to vote for or against the bill. 

     

     

  9. Only the president of the League or her designee can speak officially for the League, but members are encouraged to write letters supporting the League’s position. 

     

  10. Other tools that members can use for advocacy are writing Letters to the Editor and op-ed articles for the newspaper; working with other nonpartisan groups toward a common goal; and holding a public meeting on the issue for educational purposes.  Attending City Council, School Board, and County Commissioners Court meetings as an observer for the League is another way of showing public interest in the issue under consideration.