Friday, May 30, 2008

Note from happy aunt

Hi Garnette,
I am soooo excited1!
My niece just called me to tell me she won the AAUW college scholarship from her home town AAUW Branch-Barnegat, NJ!

Her name is Stephanie Munnichi, 18, of Barnegat, NJ. She'll be attending American University in Washington, DC.

This girl is DEFINITELY getting a membership to AAUW from me when she graduates from College! It really means something to me!

Note from branch member Ellen Osgood

Thursday, May 29, 2008

From the Past: AAUW in 1980

From the Past by Bernie Carpino, Branch Historian

Louise Flood unearthed a 1980 copy of Graduate Woman (AAUW’s national publication at that time).

A quick look provides some interesting observations:

  1. Passage of the Equal Right Amendment was a major AAUW goal
  2. Feature articles covered these topics: the need for more monetary support for foster families; non-sexist books for older children; an interview with Turkey’s first and only woman cabinet minister (she resigned a few weeks after the interview because needed reforms weren’t being carried out); job and salary sharing by two teachers.
  3. Projects reported by local branches: an ERA rally; conference “Menopause Out of the Closet;” a TV program honoring women; workshop on Families Facing Change; an arts and crafts fair; sponsorship of an operatic concert, and sale of pecan.
  4. The magazine was much smaller and far less glossy.

Thanks for the memories, Louise!

Contact Us

You may reach us at the following email addresses:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008



The Farm Festival is open every Wednesday 4-8 in Woodstock on MapleLane

Hope to see you there

Janine and Gracie

Sunday, May 25, 2008



All interested AAUW members are invited to join the upcoming joint board planning session in Rosendale, Thursday, June 12, 10 am to 2 pm. We'll gather for four-hours, including lunch, at the mountain top center, LifeBridge.

Here are excerpts from the web to begin your thinking how we can benefit from our time together:
Excellent boards attend to detail and also take time to look at the bigger picture. Retreats away from the usual place of meeting and with a different kind of agenda are a good way to self-examine and explore how the board might adjust its style and composition to get focused results. According to Dr. Sandy Hughes of BoardSource, an annual retreat is considered a “best practice” for boards. . .

Recently, the board of a three-year-old organization gathered for a tightly packed four-hour session, including a working meal, having crafted an ambitious agenda: Flexibility was the key. . .

Most organizations are a work in progress, still refining strategy, seeking to expand the base of members and public participation. . .

With assistance from a timekeeper, the facilitator’s role is to keep the group on task and to ensure that everyone had a chance to talk. And talk we will do – freely and openly – but in a spirit of respect and sensitivity for each other. . .

In the course of those four hours (which ended precisely on time) the example board generated ideas for marketing and publicity, new tricks for fund-raising, for programs and ideas for new initiatives.
What are your ideas? Let me know your interest in joining this opportunity. Even if you cannot be present, I would like to present your thoughts and vision for KAAUW next year.

With thanks, Garnette

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Calll for e-Action: AAUW Report on Girls, Gender Equity & Education

Today, National AAUW released the most comprehensive analysis to date on trends in educational achievement by gender, race/ethnicity, and income. The report, Where the Girls Are: The Facts About Gender Equity in Education, presents a comprehensive look at girls’ educational achievement during the past 35 years, paying special attention to the relationship between girls’ and boys’ progress.
This report shows that girls and boys from the fourth grade through the end of college are making steady educational gains. It is also the first report to analyze gender differences within economic and ethnic categories.
Many media outlets are already reporting this story. You can help spread the word about AAUW’s new research by commenting on the stories and blogs, starting with those listed below.
As of 1 p.m. on Tuesday, the Washington Post
story about AAUW’s report
was the second most e-mailed article on their website, and more than 70 readers had posted comments. Among other media outlets, we have already received coverage from
The New York Times
The Wall Street Journal
The Denver Post
The Hartford Courant
Upcoming television programs that will feature the AAUW report include PBS’ NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and To the Contrary. Check your local listings for these broadcasts today and Friday, respectively, featuring interviews with AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE.

Blogs featuring the AAUW report so far include Education Week’s Eduwonkette, the American Council on Education, and Best Education Today. We encourage you to visit these sites and comment about the research or join the conversation on the AAUW Dialog blog. Welcome to citizen journalism!
Copies of Where the Girls Are may be downloaded free from the AAUW website,

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Middlemarch Discussion Next Tuesday

From Marjorie Regan:

The AAUW Book Club will be meeting next Tuesday May 20th at 1pm upstairs in the Kingston Area Library. We will have the long awaited discussion of George Eliot's book Middlemarch. Please come and share your thoughts about this interesting English village.
At our June 17th meeting we will discuss Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

At our May meeting we will decide if we will meet in July or schedule our next meeting for Sept. Last year we voted not to meet in August, to have some time free in the summer.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Kingston AAUW Bridge Luncheon

A great luncheon to raise money for a great cause. Thank you to all who contributed salads and desserts, and helped with set-up and clean-up.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Successful Bridge Luncheon Fundraiser

Here's a note of praise KAAUW received today:

"I don't know who to contact about the lovely day planned for us on Monday (May 5). It could not have been nicer in any way. I know Susan Holland had a lot to do with it...and a great job it was. Congrats to all. polly (Pauline Langer, Membership Co-Vice President)

Yes indeed, special thanks to Susan who brought in her sister all the way from Rhode Island to help. Also Denise Springer, Ruth Wahtera, Sheila Beall and Mildred McCormack and all those who went out of their way to bring joy and fun to the AAUW birdge players. Sorry about the coffee, I never could make it well. Garnette

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Safe Roads: Help us get a traffic light installed

From Doris Goldberg:

Where? The intersection of Route 28 and Hurley Mountain Road

Take Action

We urge you to support the installation of a traffic light at the intersection of Route 28 and Hurley Mountain Road. The intersection has a history of fatalities, the most recent – AAUW member Richard Hlavsa in 2007. The speed and density of traffic on Route 28 has increased substantially over the past few years and will continue to grow with the development of Route 28 and Belleayre.

Without your intervention, this request will move very slowly. We understand that the process to install the last traffic light in Ulster County took twelve years to complete.

The request must start from the Town of Ulster. You can easily send an email to the Town of Ulster supervisor by completing your information here.

(This is a free service to help citizens speak out to their representatives.)


Open to all, our trips are part of our mission to offer community enrichment and to raise funds for scholarships and grants to local, national and international programs, especially in support of women. Membership in Kingston Branch of American Association of University Women is open to all people.

June 21, Saturday: Bronx Zoo or New York Botanical Gardens

Choose between touring the Bronx Zoo, home to more than 4000 animal species, or the Botanical Gardens, home to 250 acres of grounds and 47 gardens! Lunch on your own.

Leaving at 8:30 AM Kingston, 9:10 AM ParknRide, New Paltz. Returning around 6 PM

Total with bus ride and driver's tip: Bronx Zoo (includes rides): Child (12 or under) $54, Senior or AAUW member $56, Adult $59

Botanical Gardens: Child (12 or under) $47, Senior or AAUW member $55; Adult $57

July 10, Thursday: Saratoga and SPAC

Four Bagatelles – FIRST TIME EVER SEEN AT SPAC (Beethoven/Robbins), Afternoon of a Faun (Debussy/Robbins), Symphony in C (Bizet/Balanchine), Interplay (Gould/Robbins).

Pre-Performance Talk at 1:00 PM; performance at 2 PM

Optional picnic or lunch in Saratoga. Leaving at 9 AM Kingston Returning around 6:30 PM

Total cost with bus ride and driver's tip: $64

July 24, Thursday evening: Boscobel, Garrison

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival's Twelfth Night

Don't miss Shakespeare’s gender-bending comic adventure where men are women and women are men, leading to hilarious antics. Egos and comic mishaps abound, but in the end true love wins. Directed by John Christain Plummer. The HV Players were hilarious last year.

Leaving Kingston at 4 PM, ParknRide, New Paltz at 4:20 PM, Poughkeepsie, 4:50 PM. Performance at 7 PM. Returning around 11 PM. Bring a picnic and lawn chair for supper overlooking “best view along Hudson River” Total cost with bus ride and driver’s tip: $67

August 3, Sunday: Tanglewood & YoYo Ma

The many-faceted career of cellist Yo-Yo Ma reflects his continual search for new ways to communicate with audiences and to find connections that stimulate the imagination. Yo-Yo Ma performs Lalo's Cello Concerto. The concert also features Ravel's Rapsodie espagnole and Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances.

Bus, tip and shed tickets $69 (Seated toward the rear of the shed, you may want binoculars).

Leaving at 11 AM from Kingston. Bring picnic. Performance at 2:30 PM. Returning about 6 PM

August 24, Sunday: Glimmerglass,

Bellini's I Capuletti i Montecchi (Romeo & Juliet)

Bellini's I Capuletti i Montecchi: Two warring families, a tragic love affair: the tale of Romeo and Juliet cries out for the expressive power of the operatic voice, thrillingly exploited here by a master vocal composer. This elegant production imparts an ethereal vision of enduring love -- and transcendent death. New production. Sung in Italian with English titles.

Best seats: $119, Balcony $103.

Leaving at 8 AM, Kingston. Picnic optional. Returning around 7 PM


Make your on-line trip reservations for any or all of these great trips

Subscribe by June 1st to four of the five and get $10 off the total cost

Subscribe by June 1st to all five and get $25 off the total cost

The Small Print

We look forward to having you join us and we believe that clarity yields happy travelers. We hope this information brings clarity. Payment terms: Please sign up for the trips you wish at under the trips reservations link. If you do not have Internet access, make your reservations by calling Pat Whelan, 845-657-6807. Generally, we expect payment within a week after you sign up in order to confirm your reservation.

Send your check, made out to AAUW–Kingston Branch, to KAAUW, c/o Pat Whelan, 1321 County Road 2, Olivebridge, NY 12461. Cancellation Policy: No refunds unless KAAUW cancels the trip. If you find you cannot attend you may arrange for someone else to take your spot. If you aren't coming, do let us know. If there is a waiting list we may be able to help you find someone, but we make no promise to do so.

In some cases, you may be able to arrange private trip insurance. If you provide your address on the reservation form, we will send you information about a company that offers it. Please note: we have no connection to this insurance company. If you choose to contract with them, it is strictly between you and them.

Departure and Return: All trips leave promptly from the rear of the former Ames in the Kingston Plaza, and, if southbound, pickup service is available at the ParknRide in New Paltz or, occasionally, from Poughkeepsie. Departure times are firm. Return times are estimates that may be impacted by traffic or weather.

Questions? Call Pat Whelan, 657-6807, or send her an email at She will get back to you.

What it takes for a woman to succeed in politics today – in Ulster County

Janine Fallon – Mower shared her experiences as a woman in politics at our April 22, 2008 AAUW branch meeting. Here is much of what she had to say:

Experience and Perspective - Cautions and Ingredients

As many of you know, in 2007 I ran as a Republican for Woodstock Town Board. I’m sorry to say that I lost but I’m very happy to report that I garnered 950 votes, losing to the next highest vote getter by 150 votes.

My first experience running for office was in 2002 when I ran for the Woodstock Library Board. It was pretty simple, I had to collect 25 signatures from registered voters; I ran unopposed; wrote a letter or two to the local papers outlining reasons why I wanted to sit on the library board and breezed into elected office. When I ran again in 2005 there was some opposition, and I am happy to say I won my re-election and subsequently served as president of the library board for 3 years.

My first exposure to politics was in the 1970’s when my mom ran for town justice in the town of Woodstock. She had been a court clerk for a number of years and felt that she could do the job as well as any man. Mom had been a registered Democrat and active in local politics back in the days when Woodstock was a Republican stronghold. She switched parties, I suspect, to improve her chances for the job of town court clerk. With 10 years or so of job experience, she gained the support of the Republican party to run for the seat. Something odd happened on the way to Election Day. Though she had a number of well known Republicans working for her, come election day, she was defeated by a new comer, a Democrat. He gained the nickname of Let ‘Em Skid Sid- and kept the seat for at least 20 years.

Mom took the loss hard- This would be my first caution to those considering a run for office- be prepared to lose.

In spite of my mom’s defeat, those were the day’s in Woodstock. We had the first female Republican town supervisor- Val Cadden, Val was hard working, precise in her budget numbers, ran the town with heart, and also had vision for the future. She initiated the installation of our wastewater sewer system. We had the best Ulster County legislative representative you could want in Marion Umhey- who coined the phrase ‘people-tician.’

And, I must give Kudos to her running mate- Republican Lud Baumgarten. They worked tirelessly for their constituents.

I would be remiss if I left out Carol Harder, a well-loved local woman married to water and highway superintendent. Carol served as a Republican town council woman and demonstrated what a politician needs – crossover appeal.

Caution number two- be prepared to work your tail off to get elected- and if you win- be prepared to work your tail off to stay in office.

I want to highlight an ingredient needed if a woman is considering running for office. Try very hard to gain experience working on other candidates campaigns.

As was typical of a young woman my age, I was involved in many of these campaigns, on the periphery while working and raising our family.

The system is not set up for a novice to run successfully. Sure, there are always exceptions- but in 2008-the laws are tricky and hard to navigate around without someone with experience helping you with your campaign.

Example of tricky rules- The Ulster County Independent Party nominated me, but my name was tossed off the ballot because the Independent Party Chair failed to file petition on time. The Republican Election commissioner, or his staff, didn’t watch for mistakes on my behalf and we didn’t know enough to watch for supporter error.

Independence Party – Common Ground My supporters and I worked our butts off to collect 300 signatures needed to have an alternate slot on the ballot. Due to my campaign chairs diligence (my hubby) I achieved the spot on the ballot.

My Husband – we celebrate our 34th anniversary this weekend. He was on the Onteora school board when we first met. As a young bride of 20, I couldn’t understand why someone would want to be involved in a volunteer leadership role. However, over the years I observed the process from the sidelines and helped him with his second school board campaign. Something in me began to take a keen interest in the process of governance.

There is another ingredient I’d like to highlight- any woman thinking about running for office must consider this. And, in my opinion, it happens in both parties - the system is set up such that the party leaders demand loyalty.

Be careful how you show your loyalty. Some men referred to women on the county legislature as …a little light in the loafers, but they are our county legislators, intimating that they could count on the women to vote however the party bosses wanted. In my opinion, that’s loyalty difficult to maintain.

When my husband ran for Supervisor in the Town of Woodstock, we were known as the renegade Republicans. As he was preparing to leave office after two terms, we felt the best person for the job was a woman. She was a registered Democrat. Long story short- we bucked the system and paid the price. The candidate we were backing prevailed and served four stormy years.

This is the third caution- Any one running for office will be faced with choices at times - run with the party pack- or stick to your own personal convictions. Candidates must be comfortable in their own skin.

Our backing a Democrat for town supervisor was an indication of the significant change in party enrollment that has occurred in Woodstock and other towns across the country. It also began an era of candidate party switching to be in the majority party. It’s not a new concept- after all, it’s what my mom did back in 1972.

You need a score card these days in Woodstock – our Democratic friend became a NE. The person who ran against her was a Republican, who became an Independent Party candidate, and finally a Democrat.

I had to reflect carefully when I decided to run. I was advised to change to NE or even become a Democrat and run two years later. People thought I was crazy to run as a Republican in Woodstock and expect to win.

No, it just didn’t seem right to pretend I was something that I wasn’t

I present a fourth concept prospective candidates must consider. Can you withstand others’ criticism of your party? If you run for public office- there is a good chance, in the current political climate, that you will be held accountable for other peoples actions, even in Albany or Washington DC .

I wonder how many good candidates sit at their kitchen tables refusing to take part in managing their towns, villages or counties because they don’t want to spend time defending actions taken by others - politicians, who seem removed from the responsibilities we bear.

I believe that one of the reasons we have trouble finding people to participate in local politics- forget running for office- is the way we communicate with each other. “We live in a world filled with sarcasm and unfeeling cynicism” Frank MacEwan- Mist Filled Path

It’s no secret in my house that I was interested in running for office at least 10 years before 2007 election cycle. I had a vision for Woodstock, so I served six years on the now infamous comprehensive plan committee (1998 – 2004) until it was decommissioned by the Wilber administration

This is another ingredient a candidate needs - vision – ideas- a message. Know your issues inside and out; be able to talk to the points instantly and incessantly. Be ready to hit a curve ball thrown at you in a conversation, and be prepared to return the conversation to your message.

It’s been an interesting exercise for me to reflect on what changed in my community or my life that led me to toss my hat in the ring for town board last summer.

First, it was now or never. The community of Woodstock has changed. Even though I am a long time resident and well known business woman, as new people move in, I become less well known.

Second, the Bush years are on the wane. To say the least, he is a very unpopular president in Woodstock. I have heard the terms hated and loathed. It seemed the best time to try to navigate around everyone’s disappointment with this Bush’s administration.

I can relate two experiences regarding the atmosphere I faced.

When I told a local man who frequents our flea market that I was running for office, he asked what party? Republican. He responded, “I’ll never support you unless you renounce George Bush.”

A woman who knew my husband’s family quite well said, “Oh Janine, I can’t support you; you are in his party.” I say, “look in my eyes. Don’t tell me all you can see is George Bush when you look in my eyes.” “yes,” she said. “that’s all I can see.”

The resolution to the two conversations couldn’t have been more different. The woman who saw George Bush when she looked in my eyes is now barely able to look me in the eye when we meet in CVS. I stood my ground with the gentleman, explaining my campaign was about local issues. He and his wife became ardent supporters and worked on my campaign.

The third thing that changed- my activity and the people I met while on the library board and in the Woodstock Our Town group. Woodstock Our Town is a group formed to facilitate civil discourse at town board meetings; I was the Republican in the group, invited to join to add diversity. As I grew through the Our Town experience of promoting consensus between disagreeing factions, I decided it would benefit the town to have an elected board member who shared the civility philosophy.

I would not have been able to mount a campaign in Woodstock without the hard work support and dedication of my husband John, my daughter Colleen, her husband Jason and about 30 other hard working people who pitched in with different tasks.

Even my granddaughter Grace attended a candidate night for moral support at 2 months old.

Why the 950 vote number so significant? I ran a campaign focused on local issues, not national issues. I spent a lot of time counseling Woodstockers in the tradition of voting the person not the party. There are approximately 750 registered Republicans in Woodstock vs 2500 registered Democrats. In the final analysis, I had crossover appeal, the message vote the person not the party got thru. Nevertheless, I wasn’t able to reach enough newcomers to convert them from party line voters.

My experience running for local office was both positive and negative. The positive, I have made new acquaintances. People are able to see me as the person I am, not that I, or my ideas, are substandard because I am an enrolled Republican.

I’m a member and supporter of the Woodstock Time Exchange. I was invited to join the AAUW. I continue to work on issues within the scope of the Woodstock Our Town group- especially affordability of housing.

I am more aware of how many people don’t take part in electing the people who run our governments. It feels like a segment of the population of the USA has become lazy – or are so disillusioned that they are paralyzed.

I confess I am still working to move past my own semi paralysis. I can still hear someone I worked with on the library board say, “You know, Janine, the best person for the job isn’t always the one who gets elected.”

I do look forward to working on a Get Out the Vote movement this summer. I look forward to encouraging people who have been complacent- to become informed and return to voting in the presidential election.

I am willing to work in this area because the trend toward low voter turnout and fewer people running for office means we run the risk of missing out on new exciting ideas and solutions to our local, regional, national, and world wide problems.

Will I run again? It’s hard to say. Many people expect me to run, as though a loss, received with your held high, on the first time out, is a badge of courage and honor.

I’m taking it all one day- one local issue at a time.

Janine Fallon - Mower

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Clean Elections Resolution Passed at State Convention

From Irene Miller:

A resolution urging New York State legislators to enact Clean Money Clean Elections passed overwhelmingly at the AAUW-NYS annual convention in Cooperstown---but not without a lot of drama!

Most of the drama took place in a caucus on whether the resolution should be forwarded for a delegate vote. The task for the caucus was to grapple with a system of campaign finance reform that many had never heard of before. But the play started even before the convention, when the scheduled resolution presenter, Rose Ann Palmer of the Garden City Branch, was unable to attend and Irene Miller of the Kingston Branch had to fill in for her at the last minute.

After Miller explained what Clean Elections is, the immediate response from some was that the effort for Clean Elections "would divert effort from the association's public policy goals." Others said enacting Clean Elections is "fundamental to gaining our goals because it would permit qualified women without access to deep pockets to run strong races for state office." In the end, the caucus decided that Clean Elections should be brought up for a delegate vote because it would go a long way toward achieving our goals of equity, education, health care, etc if those elected felt free work for us instead of contributors to their next campaign.

But before putting the resolution forward, the caucus called for two amendments, which were made by Kingston's Ruth Wahtera, Susan Holland, and Miller. The first said, "Clean Elections would enhance AAUW's ability to achieve our goals of equity for women and girls and increase the number of women able to run for elective office." The other added "President" to the officers charged with sending the resolution to the Governor, Senators, and Assembly members. (See the resolution below.)

The following day, convention delegates from branches all across the state overwhelmingly passed the resolution.

So what is Clean Elections and how does it work?
Clean Elections is full and equal public funding of all qualified candidates who refuse private contributions and abide by spending limits. In keeping with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Buckley vs Valeo, which basically says money is equal to speech, Clean Elections is a voluntary system. Those who choose not to participate are free to opt out. If they opt out, they cannot have any public funds. As has been shown in states with Clean Elections, "Clean" candidates have a distinct advantage over privately funded candidates because they can say, "I am beholden only to voters."

Clean Election candidates qualify for public funding by demonstrating community support before the primary. They do this by collecting a certain number of $5 contributions from individuals in their own district. Once qualified, they do not have to raise another cent. They can spend all their campaign time communicating with voters. Clean Elections would cost New Yorkers about $3 each per election cycle. In return, the billions that now go to tax breaks and subsidies for big corporate contributors could be available for healthcare, education, the environment, fire and police departments, and infrastructure such as roads and bridges.

It is important to note that full public funding of campaigns with Clean Elections is very different from partial public funding of campaigns, which matches tax dollars to private contributions. Corporations, which are the biggest contributors, like partial public funding because our tax dollars permit them to give less and still retain their political influence. Polls show that people who know the difference between full and public funding overwhelmingly reject partial funding because it wastes tax dollars.

Clean Elections bills have been introduced in both the NY Senate and Assembly, but few New Yorkers know this because most media owners do not want Clean Elections. That means passing Clean Elections must be a statewide grass-roots effort. Although there is a great deal more to be done, I'm glad to say we are succeeding. As "we the people" get our message out across the state, more and more New Yorkers are demanding Clean Elections because they already know that big campaign contributors trump the people's will. Learning that Clean Elections would make it easy for politicians to put people first flames a strong will to pass it.

What can you do?

The task for any AAUW member who thinks Clean Elections is worth fighting for is to help formulate and carry out strategies to inform and engage the public so that our legislators know we consider its passage fundamental to restoring democracy and reaching our organization's goals.

But we do not need to reinvent the wheel. Other organizations that have been working on this for years could be a tremendous resource. There is a lot to do and it is often a lot of fun. A big part of the job is making sure New Yorkers all over the state know about Clean Elections and how it would restore the democratic process. Things to do include hosting house parties with a Clean Elections speaker, having your branch and other organizations you belong to host a Clean Elections presentation, passing resolutions, helping with phone trees, tabling at flea markets or fairs, gathering petitions, and writing letters to newspapers, the Governor, and your state Senator and Assembly member. Whatever your talent and expertise, it is welcome and needed.

Governor Paterson introduced the Clean Elections bill in the senate before becoming Governor and is a strong supporter as are quite a few others legislators. But, as you can imagine, not all legislators are eager to change the current system. Our message to them is two fold: 1) New Yorkers want this. 2) It has been very successful with legislators and citizens in other states. In Maine and Arizona, two states that enacted Clean Elections more than 10 years ago, legislators who opposed its passage now say they will never go back to the old system because it frees them from onerous begging for dollars and lets them spend all their campaign time communicating with voters.

Connecticut passed Clean Elections in 2005 and will have its first election cycle using it this coming November. Maine, Arizona, and Connecticut's Clean Elections laws and New York's bill cover campaigns for Governor, the Senate, Assembly, Attorney General, and Comptroller. North Carolina, New Mexico, New Jersey, and Vermont also have Clean Elections, but for lesser offices.

There also are bills in the U.S. Congress. The House bill is called Clean Elections and the Senate bill is called Fair Elections.

You can read the AAUW-NYS resolution here.

Irene Miller is a member of the Kingston Branch of the AAUW, founder of New York Citizens for Clean Elections, and board member of Citizen Action of NY, a leading statewide grassroots organization devoted to passing Clean Elections in New York and on the national level. She lives in Palenville, NY, and can be reached at 518 678-3516 or


This resolution was passed by the AAUW NYS convention, April 26, 2008:
Clean Money Clean Elections creates a system of public financing for candidates who agree to strict spending limits in their campaigns for statewide and legislative offices and is supported by Governor David Paterson and

WHEREAS: Clean Money Clean Elections would enhance democracy by eliminating the deleterious influence of money in the political process, removing access to wealth as a major determinant of a citizen’s influence in the political process, and restoring the principle of “one person, one vote”, and

WHEREAS: Clean Money Clean Elections would level the playing field to give qualified citizens without access to big money a fair chance at winning office based on their ideas, ability, and integrity rather than how much money they can raise, and

WHEREAS: Clean Money Clean Elections would stop the endless money chase so that candidates are free of the constant need to raise money and those elected have more time to serve the public interest rather than constantly raising funds for their next campaign, and

WHEREAS: Clean Money Clean Elections would reduce the escalating costs of elections, and

WHEREAS: Polls show an overwhelming majority of citizens support public financing of campaigns so long as the candidates abide by spending limits and

WHEREAS: Partial reforms such as "matching funds" public financing systems will not meet the goals of greatly reducing the influence of large, private donors or allow citizens of modest means the ability to run competitively for public office and

WHEREAS: Clean Elections would enhance AAUW's ability to achieve our goals of equity for women and girls and increase the number of women able to run for elective office, therefore let it be

RESOLVED: That the American Association of University Women of New York State (AAUW NYS) urges the New York State Legislature to enact a Clean Elections system of full public financing into law in order to break the hold money interests have over the principle of one person, one vote and

FURTHER RESOLVED: that the AAUW NYS President and Public Policy Director send copies of this resolution to Governor David Paterson, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco, and assembly members and senators.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Bernie Carpino Looks Back

From the Historian, Bernie Carpino:

I joined AAUW in the early 1970’s when Pat Johnson was President. Adelaide Van Wagenen, a neighbor, invited me to a membership tea and then to several meetings as a guest. Impressed, I decided to join. There have been 19 presidents sinse then – different personalities, different styles, but all concerned with AAUW’s goals.

Fundraisers have varied from sponsorship of the Nutcracker Ballet, a bicentennial quilt project, cocktail parties, tote bag sales, raffles, bridge luncheon, and trips.

AAUW has made a difference locally – support of the library, commitment to establishment of Ulster County Community College, a groundbreaking study on child abuse, local scholarships, diversity programs, and a study of the local justice system.

A nucleus of hard working members has helped the organization survive. It’s encouraging that there are newer members who are enthusiastic, creative, and willing to take responsibility.