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The DC Voter
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
Vol. 79, No. 1, January 2003

Making Our Voices Heard — Making Our Votes Count

733 15th Street, N.W., Suite 432, Washington, DC 20005
202/347-3020,  fax: 202/347-2522
Website:, E-mail:

Don’t Miss These Special Programs
President’s Message: From Pat’s Pen
High Tea & Straight Talk
DC League Board Commends DC Council Action
Human Genome Research, Brown Bag Dialogue
GALA Planning Meeting
Leadership Training
Member News
LWVDC Forum on Health and Education
Voter Services Committee
Great Decisions Anyone?
German Diplomat to Brief IR Committee
Remembership Ralph Bunche
News from the Units
Healthcare Committee
Congressional Representation
Highlights of December 4 Board Meeting
Affordable Housing Committee
Heads Up! Local & Regional Program Planning
Calendar: January 2003
Health and Education Forum Flyer

Don't Miss These Special Programs

"High Tea & Straight Talk" Sat. Jan. 18, 4 pm Come hear Dr. David Hilfiker, author of the recent book Urban Injustice, share his views on the inner city. Cost: $15. See below.

Healthcare & Education Forum Sat. Jan. 25: 10 am -12n "D.C. Healthcare Safety Net" A general picture of healthcare in D.C. 12n-1 pm Brown Bag Lunch 1 pm - 3 pm "Leave No Child Behind" a look at the new federal legislation and DC Public Schools. See below and flyer.

Dr. Charmaine Royal to speak on "Human Genome Research" (Brown Bag Dialogue Series) Mon. Jan 2711:30 - 1:30pm. See below.

Ms. Ursula Muller, Political Counselor of the German Embassy in Washington, to speak on her recent experiences in Afghanistan at the IR Committee meeting Tues. Jan. 28 at 6:30 pm. See below.

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Seasons Greetings! Thanks to our members for their generous response to our appeal for funds. As of November 30, members have contributed a total of $3,350 (to the general fund and the Education Fund combined), and additional contributions are still being received. A full report will come later.

The LWVDC will host a meeting of D.C. Team Democracy in mid-January, to coordinate efforts and develop a strategy. The Team is comprised of representatives of local organizations dedicated to obtaining full voting representation for D.C. citizens.

We testified on D.C. housing issues at two Council hearings.

LWVUS has developed guidelines for "MultiLeagues" to set procedures for communication, collaboration, and action.

Thank you for returning your survey forms. They are very useful in filling our needs. If you haven't yet returned your form, we'll still be glad to receive it.

There are many events planned this month. Please attend as many as you can to take advantage of the information provided at each one. — E. Patricia Hallman, President

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Dr. David Hilfiker to Talk at Ingleside Tea, Saturday, January 18, 2003, 4:00 pm

Members of the LWVDC Ingleside Unit cordially invite you to "High Tea and Straight Talk," at 4 p.m., on Saturday, January 18, 2003. The event, to be held in the Concert Hall of the Apartments of Ingleside, will benefit the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia.

The speaker, Dr. David Hilfiker, author of the recent book "Urban Injustice," will share his view on the inner city, from his perspective as a doctor for a free health clinic. He will be available to sign copies of his much-acclaimed work. He is a man of extraordinary insight and commitment - this will be a memorable "tea conversation".

Reserve your place by sending (by January 12. please) ,your name and a check (made payable to LWVDC Education Fund) for $15 (or more, of course, if you wish) to Dorothy Armstrong. Apt. 414. Ingleside, 3050 Military Road. NW. Washington. DC 20015. Parking is available on the Ingleside prernises. Entry to Ingleside is on Military Road, several blocks East of Connecticut Avenue, at the traffic signal just after you pass Temple Sinai and opposite 31St Street. Follow campus signs to the Apartments. — Joan Wilson (237-6264)

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At its December 4 meeting, the LWVDC Board considered the D.C. Council's recent resolution calling for the U.S. to vigorously pursue diplomatic means, including action through the United Nations, to disarm Iraq of its most destructive weapons." After discussion, the Board- agreed to commend the Council for its action, and approved a letter from President Hallman; which "welcomes your effort to fill the void left by our lack of representation when Congress acted on this issue, one directly affecting District residents." We also forwarded to our Council a copy of the letter to President Bush sent by LWVUS President Kay Maxwell on the same issue - see your December DC VOTER for the text of that letter. — Sheila Keeny Vice President for National Program

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Brown Bag Dialogue, Monday Jan 27, 2003, 11:30 am -1:30 pm

What are some of the ethical, legal and social implications of the research being done on the human genome? Join us to dialogue with Dr. Charmaine Royal, Principal Investigator, GenEthics Unit National Human Genome Center at Howard University. Bring your questions, brown bag lunch and a friend to 1730 M Street, NW, Suite 1000. — Anna Marsh (554-7719), Coordinator

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The League is currently working on a major fundraiser that we hope will be held in the month of March - the birth month of the League. Again, we need League members support for this endeavor. We hope to raise funds in two ways: First, by soliciting from corporations and small businesses recommended by League members; and, second, through a major gala event. We need League members to volunteer to work with the committee to put this event together. We also ask League members to fax to the League office (347-2522) or call Linda Softli at 667-8210 by the end of January 2003 the names of businesses and friends to whom we can send our appeal for funds. The next gala committee meeting is Tuesday, January 7, at 6 pm. The place is yet to be determined. Call me at 667-8210 to participate in this committee. — Linda Softli, Fundraising Committee

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A program to strengthen civic leadership capacity - "Leadership Plenty" - is offered to League members in a four-Saturday format beginning February 22 and ending April 12, 2003. The training is to be conducted by Cheryl Graeve, LWVUS Membership/ Field Support Director at the LWVUS office.

Space is limited. Registration (including materials and lunch) is $50 per person and should be received by Feb. 7. All NCA members are invited. Registration forms are available in the LWVDC office.

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We are saddened to report the passing of former D.C. League President (1957-59) Libby Dunn Hertzmark at the age of 91. Her leadership in the causes of voting rights and self-government for the citizens in Washington, D.C. is remembered. At the time when the city had no representation in Congress (not even a non-voting delegate), Mrs. Hertzmark urged congressional committees to grant D.C. citizens the right to vote in presidential elections and to elect their own officials (granted in the Home Rule Act of 1973). Contributions to the D.C. League in Mrs. Hertzmark's memory have been received from Louise Belcher, Ann & Stewart Chalem, and Clara G. Schiffer.


Debby & John Hanrahan, Bonita Harris, Jennie Q. Henderson, and Anne S. Gralla.


We gratefully thank and acknowledge contributions from: Bonnie Barhyte, Naomi Berlin, Suzanne Campagna, Susan Carpenter, Marion S. Cowan, Reba Diggs, Cheryl Dobbins, J. Merton England, Jean Fleming, Virginia Gorman, Harry & Evelyn Groves, E. Patricia Hallman, Janey B. Hart, Julie Ballard Johnstone, Spurgeon & Sheila Keeny, Lois Laster, Grace Malakoff, Maureen McCarthy, Hope Marindin, Ellen Overton, Cereta Perry, Carol Ragsdale, William Rice, Jeanne & Markley Roberts, Marion C. Sanger, William & Elaine Simons, Judy Smith, Harriet Smith, Lillian Smuckler, Barbara Yeomans.


New membership is vital to the health and well being of any organization. As Membership Chair, I want to take the time to reach out to all of our members to say ... we need your personal support in order to bring in new members. Each of us has co-workers, family, church, or business partners who have not been contacted by the League for membership.

If you would simply, call me at 667-8210 or the League office with the names, addresses or telephone numbers of potential members, we will do the rest! I would like the names of at least 100 individuals by January 31, 2003. — Linda Softli (667-8210), Membership Chair

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Saturday; January 25, 2003

Try as we might, it is hard to imagine any subject of greater concern to D.C. residents than health care or public education. With that in mind, our Health Committee and our Education Committee have fashioned an all-day forum to take place at the Logan School Resource & Training Center - Annex Bldg., 215 G Street, NE on January 25 (see enclosed flyer). Parking is available on the school lot. The school is just south of Union Station.

In the morning, from 10 am to noon, on the topic, "D.C. Healthcare Safety Net" a panel will provide us with a general picture of health care in the District. We expect to receive the latest update from the Mayor's office and from the D.C. Council. We'll then break for a brown bag lunch from noon until 1 pm; bring your own but we'll supply tea, coffee and cookies. From 1 pm to 3 am, "Leave No Child Behind" a panel will discuss the impact on D.C. Public Schools-of the new Federal legislation.


10 am -12n, D.C. Healthcare Safety Net, A Panel Discussion, Q & A Session
12n -1 pm Brown Bag Lunch
1 pm - 3 pm Leave No Child Behind, A Panel Discussion, Q & A Session

Unit Meetings to follow up: There will be ample opportunity for Q and A's in both sessions, but we're trying something a little different this year, as well. Recognizing that the "give and take" we experience at our unit meetings can be difficult to attain in a general meeting, we decided to focus our February unit meetings on the information provided in the health section of the January 25 forum and the unit meetings in March will focus on the information gained in the education portion of the forum. These unit discussions will be interesting even if you cannot attend the forum, but attending the forum will help you prepare for the Unit discussions. (More about the units in the upcoming issues of the VOTER) Meanwhile, hope to see you at the forum. If you have any questions, please call Naomi Glass, 2026860124,

Naomi Glass, 2nd Vice President - Local Programs

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Those of us who have had the opportunity to represent the League at the monthly ceremony for Swearing in of New Citizens believe it is one of the most enjoyable parts of our membership in the League. The ceremony, held at 10 o'clock in the D.C. Courthouse on the second Tuesday each month, is one of dignity and pride. Eighty to 100 new citizens from 20 to 40 countries are sworn in, and we are there to receive their registration to vote. We hope soon to be able to participate in the ceremony by emphasizing the new citizens' role as District of Columbia residents as well as American citizens. We will also sponsor one of the monthly receptions for the new citizens and their guests held after the ceremony. These receptions provide a wonderful opportunity to chat with the new Americans, find out about their backgrounds, and tell them about the League of Women Voters.

If you would like to attend one of the New Citizens' Swearing in Ceremonies, please call me to add your name to the list, or contact me by e-mail, The next opportunity to attend will be Tuesday, January, 14, 2003. — Judy Smith, (882-3021), Co-Chair, Voter Services

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The IR Committee will once again sponsor a Great Decisions discussion group for League members and friends. Depending on member interest, we will meet the second and fourth weeks of February through May, at a convenient daytime location. We will be discussing eight compelling foreign policy topics, using a briefing book ($15) prepared by the Foreign Policy Association, which sponsors this exercise nationwide.

Through. an Opinion Ballot included with the book, your views will be assessed and presented to policy makers and the media. This year's topics will be: Multilateralism vs. Unilateralism, Afghanistan, USSaudi Relations, Nigeria, World Trade and Food Policy, China, European Integration, and Women's Rights. If you are interested in joining this group, call Sheila Keeny, 966-1692.

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Recent Experiences in Afghanistan

Ms. Ursula Muller, Political Counselor of the German Embassy in Washington, was sent to Afghanistan to reopen her country's embassy after the fall of the Taliban. She was able to observe firsthand the conditions of Afghani women and girls, and began some important programs to help them. Ms. Muller will talk to us about her experiences in Afghanistan and beyond. She has served as the President of the Liberal Women Association of Germany and as Women's Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Please join us for this important program on Jan. 28th from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Sumner School, 1201 17th St., NW, Washington, DC. The closest Metro stop is Farragut North. All League members and guests are welcome. — Anne Porowski (364-0557) & Susan Rao (636-1688), Co-chairs

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Hear Dr. Alan Geyer on January 23

Plans are well under way in NY at the UN, in Washington, and around the nation for the Ralph Bunche Centenary of his birth in 1904. At least 17 Washington area institutions are participating in the Centenary celebration. Come hear Dr. Geyer, Canon Ethicist at the Washington National Cathedral, speak about the life and work of Ralph Bunche, Nobel Peace Prizewinner and Under Secretary-General at the United Nations. Among other extraordinary achievements, Dr. Bunche was the founding chairman of the political science department at Howard University.

Dr. Geyer is also a political scientist and former Dag Hammarskjold Professor of Peace Studies and Political Science at Colgate University. He is a marvelous speaker and you are sure to enjoy and learn a lot from this special program.

This program is open to the public. To make a reservation, please contact the Woman's National Democratic Club at 232-7363. Price: Members $16.50. Non-members $19.50. Bar opens at 11:30 am, lunch is served at 12:30 p.m.

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League members voice opinions at Unit meetings. According to the Unit recorders, the fall Units so far have reported various opinions from , its members on the issues at hand.


The well-attended October unit meetings were devoted to a review of the September primaries and consideration of several related issues. There was agreement that, in general, the Board of Elections and Ethics "ran" a good election process with one glaring exception: notices informing voters of what ward and Single Member District they were in, and where they should vote, were not received timely or not at all. Many League members felt strongly that we should examine current election laws; a thought to keep in mind as we approach our program-planning session on February 8.


One unit reported on voting procedures at the precincts. Redistricting was viewed as a possible voter turnout. Increased information about issues and availability of curbside voting were recommended. No Unit favored retrocession, nor was any committed to statehood. Suggestions were for regular columns in the NATIONAL VOTER and DC VOTER about full 'voting rights for the District. One unit discussed the favorable impact on residents of 'knowing the adverse effects of our lacking voting representation. All welcomed the information gleaned from the Riviin-O'Clearicain Brookings' report.


The December Units included social activities and League 101 - a refresher on the League and how it functions. The D.C. Voter went to press before the December Units met.


There will be no Unit meetings in January. All League members are encouraged to attend the Forum on Health and Education slated for Saturday, January 25. See enclosed flyer for details. The next Unit Council meeting for Unit chairs will be held Monday, February 10 at 7 pm at the home of Naomi Glass. More information on this meeting in the next DC Voter.

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At its meeting on November 26, 2002, the Healthcare Committee heard a review of the September 2002 Annual Report of the Mayor's Health Services Reform Commission (HSRC) by Karyn Gill, a League member who contributed to the preparation of the Annual Report. Karyn, a former president of the LWV of California, has extensive experience in the field of health care, both at local and national levels.

The Commission was created as the Mayor's principal overseer of the city's healthcare system. Dealing specifically with the DC Healthcare Alliance, it was established with the goal of transforming the healthcare system from a hospital and institution-centered one to a community-based, primary care system. These services are provided through a network of community-based clinics, primary and specialty physicians, and other hospitals. The Commission is comprised of forty members with individual expertise in healthcare, business, consumer issues, and other community perspectives:

In its first Annual Report, the Commission notes the need for a database. (we don't know who's uninsured), and recommends that "the Initiative move rapidly toward an eligibility determination system that can make 'one stop' determinations of eligibility for all available District health insurance programs."

Speaker Karyn Gill suggested the League 1) seek appointment of a League member as a representative . to the HSRC, 2) demand observance of the sunshine laws, 3) support a regional health consortium, and 4) support the D.C. government taking responsibility for its low income citizens. She sees the future of Medicare as threatened, and urges participation by League members in the national campaign for a "single payer" healthcare system. Such a system is supported by national League positions.

The Healthcare Committee will meet next on Tues Jan 14th at 12:30 pm at the LWVDC office to finalize plans for the Jan 25 forum. Members are welcome to attend and participate in the planning. — Natalie Howard (882-8762), Chair

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DC Vote Board Chair Daniel Solomon was honored by the National Capital Area, United Nations Association at a luncheon held in the Russell Senate Office Building on December 10, 2002, for his work in support of human rights. The DC League of Women Voters nominated him for this tribute. Mr. Solomon's contributions are described in the booklet presented at the event to honor all those nominated. For the past five years, he has worked tirelessly in support of full voting rights in Congress for District citizens. At this time, the United States is in non-compliance with the United Nations "Universal Declaration on Human Rights," which stipulates that "Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives."

Robert E. White of the Center for International Policy addressed those in attendance, on the topic "Seeking Peace with Justice in Colombia." Ten members of LWVDC attended.

The DC Vote Benefit (honoring Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, and businessman Frank Rich, Sr.) is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 14 from 6:30-8:30 pm at the Hyatt Capitol Hill. Contact DC Vote at 462-6000 for tickets. — Kathy Schmidt (237-5550)

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DC VOTE: Kathy Schmidt reported that two meetings of D.C. Team Democracy have been held since last May's Lobby Day, for diverse groups supporting some form of congressional representation to exchange ideas and points of view. Schmidt moved that LWVDC agree to host a third meeting to take place in January. The Board approved the motion. Kathy commented the next step in our campaign should focus on eliminating the practice in Congress of attaching riders to our D.C. budget. 

Housing: Elinor Hart reported that a Council hearing is scheduled for Dec. 11 regarding a strategy to implement the Comprehensive Housing Bill of 2002. She urged League members to contact Kathy Patterson and Vincent Orange to urge them to cosponsor the bill.

D.C. Voting Rights: Kathy Schmidt spoke of the need for human-interest stories to maintain awareness of the need for D.C. voting representation. She moved that we contact the editor of the National Voter and arrange for each issue to carry a story or note regarding the problem. The motion was supported and carried.

Program Planning: Naomi Glass, working with Health Chair Natalie Howard and with Education Chairs Constance Tate and Gladys Weaver, proposed a two-step approach to local program planning, as follows: a) an all-day forum to. take place the 3rd week of January, with Health the subject from 10-12 a.m., and Education from 1-3 p.m., b) a general meeting on February 12 for all members to consider potential program for the coming two League years.

Elaine Melmed's suggestion that the Education segment of the forum focus on the "Leave No Child Behind" national legislation was supported. February Units would then focus on the status of Healthcare in D.C., and March Units on Education.

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Members Testify in Public Hearings

Elinor Hart photo
Above: Elinor Hart giving Testimony for the League before the D.C. Council Committee on Economic Development. Photo by M. Spurlock

DC League committee members testified at two separate hearings on Dec. 11, 2002. Elinor Hart, before the Committee on Economic Development on Bill 14-0672 - Comprehensive Housing Strategy Bill of 2002 stated in part, "We believe the city's need for a comprehensive housing strategy is very , obvious . With the Housing Production Trust Fund and the Vacant and Abandoned Properties; Initiative, which are currently becoming operational, D.C. is making a significant investment in housing. The city now has an array of housing programs, created independently of one another that meet a range of housing needs. But we have no clear picture of the total need and where the gaps are in meeting the need. Nor have we determined the best approaches for meeting the housing needs at different income levels and in different neighborhoods."

Sheila Willet speaking before the Committee on Consumer & Regulatory Affairs, on "Rent Control Legislation" Bills #14-717, #14-810, and #14-813, testified on how rent control legislation should function, "...the changes proposed in the bills would provide needed clarification and tightening of requirements. Thus, significant loopholes in existing legislation would be closed."

Interested League members are invited to attend the next meeting of the committee on Tuesday, January 21st at 7:00 pm at the home of Sheila Willet, 20348 17th Street, NW (588-1734). — Sharron Hines (395-9348), Chair

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LOCAL: Our biennial local and regional program planning will be the subject of a general meeting to be held at the Logan School from 10 am to noon on Saturday, February 8, 2003. Watch for details and a copy of our "Positions-in-Brief" inserted in your February DC VOTER. Meanwhile, consider what local and/or regional issues you would like studied and/or acted upon in the coming biennium. Do some of our positions need to be revisited? Are there areas we have never examined, or areas that we examined too long ago? Election laws? Rental housing? Libraries? Comprehensive Planning? Other? But remember... it's not enough to cite an area of interest ...that's the easy part. We need people willing to work on the issue, and especially, we need enthusiastic leadership for any given issue. You? Specified colleagues? Who?

REGIONAL: The National Capital Area League (NCA) is an Inter-League Organization (ILO) consisting of nine local Leagues plus the Leagues of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, formed to enable these Leagues to work together on selected governmental issues of a metropolitan, regional, or inter jurisdictional nature.

At its convention next May, NCA will select program for the next two League years (FY 2004 and FY 2005) so, during member Leagues' imminent local program planning sessions, it's important that members consider what they want NCA League to do. Recommendations from member Leagues' Boards should be addressed to Naomi Glass by February 15. The NCA Board will formulate a proposed program by March 15, and submit it to member Leagues.

Current NCA program activity includes action, whenever possible, on D.C. Revitalization, and study by the NCA Transportation Committee on "Regional Transportation Solutions: Part 2." The Committee plans to provide informational units in the fall of 2003 and consensus units in the spring of 2004. There is still much interest in waterresource issues, but no project leader has come forward. Please contact me if you are interested in filling that role or know someone who is. — Naomi Glass (686-0124), 2nd Vice President Local Program

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Upcoming Meetings: The NCA Board meeting will be held Friday, January 3`d at 10 am in the LWVUS Board Room, 1730 M Street, NW, Suite 1000. On Friday, January 17th at 10 am in the same location, the Voter Services Roundtable will hear LWVUS Executive Director Nancy Tate speak about the recently passed Election Reform Legislation and its impact on the states. Both meetings are open to interested League members. — Barb Sherrill, NCA President Forest Williams, NCA Editor

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CALENDAR: January 2003

      1 Happy New Year 2 3 10:00 am, LWV NCA Board Mtg. 4
5 6 7 6:30 pm Gala Planning Committee Mtg.  8 10:00 am LWVDC Board Mtg 9 10 11
12 13 14 Feb. DC Voter Deadline
10:00 am Voter Registration of New Citizens
12:30 pm Health Care Cmte. Mtg.
6:30-8:30 pm DCVote Benefit
15 16 17 10:00 am LWV NCA Voter Services Roundtable 18 4:00 pm High Tea & Straight Talk
19 20 Martin Luther King Holiday 21 7:00 pm Affordable Housing Committee 22 23 11:30 am Remembering Ralph Bunche 24 Feb. DC Voter mailed 25 LWVDC Forum
10 am-noon Health
1-3 PM Education
26 27 11:30 am Human Genome Research 28 6:30 pm IR Cmte. Speaker on Afghanistan 29 30 31  

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League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia Presents

Health & Education Forum

January 25, 2003
l0 am — 3 pm

The Paul Vance Resource & Training Center Annex
The Logan School
212 G St. NE
Washington, DC 20002

Logan School is s outh of Union Station (Red L Line Metro Stop). Parking is available in the Logan School Parking Lot, where the Annex Building is located.


League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
A Voice For Citizens...
A Force For Change

733 15th St., NW
Suite 432
Washington, DC
Phone: 202-347-3020 Fax: 202 347-2522

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. 

10 am - Noon
D. C. Healthcare Safety Net
A general picture of healthcare in D.C.

David A. Catania, D.C. Councilmember
"Legislative Approach to Resolving Problems"

John A. Koskinen (Invited), D.C. Deputy Mayor & City Administrator
"D.C. Medicare Recipients and Administration"

A question & answer period will follow the presentations.

Noon - 1 pm
Brown Bag Lunch
Bring your own lunch.
Coffee, tea & cookies will be provided.

1 pm - 3 pm
Leave No Child Behind
A look at the new federal legislation and D.C. Public Schools

Paul Gonzales, National Council of La Raza
"Leave No Child Behind - Overview of the Federal Legislation"

A speaker on DCPS Compliance

A question & answer period will follow the presentations.

Send mail with questions or comments to
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