Discover more from Songs of Forgiveness
September 22/New Moon
League of Women Voters
When I came across the sign above on a walk with my cousin Kathy last week, today’s rambling post was decided. I had been planing special coverage for mom’s birthday lunation, but didn't know where to start. I had needed this sign. I have been reading recent news about the Republican boycott of the League of Women’s Voters and know how much this would concern Mom if she was able to pay attention to it. The main interest of the League of Women Voters is to protect voting rights and ensure equal representation in our democracy. They work to share information about voting and the platforms of all candidates, but recently they been shunned by Republicans. But this year when election misinformation is rampant, the League has gotten more outspoken. I have linked an article from ProPublica that tells the history of the League. The other is commentary from the league itself about how Minnesota State Republicans are turning against the League. For as long as she could, Mom lived and breathed an awake and engaged American Democracy. In her honor, Songs of Forgiveness is dedicated to safe and fair Midterm elections.
So on this Lunation of my mom’s birthday month so close to such important midterm elections, I say: Take care of your energy. Stay engaged. And if you don’t have one already, make a voting plan today.
This post is full of photos and news clippings from Mom’s career that I am loosely connecting and cataloguing for future reference. Many of the articles include Mom’s own words, about her experience, about her dad and the values he imparted, about fellow politicians.
But first I link my recent podcast. This begins a series of four movement and writing prompt episodes that I am also doing on the podcast this lunation. It will be free for everyone during this week and then I will put it behind the paywall. That is to motivate you to listen along. Do this to stay grounded in these changing times. Taking the time to collect personal data via a moon-based structure will help keep you organized, on the trajectory to make the changes you want, and remain energized no matter what craziness is going on around you. The rest of the series will post by each of the primary lunar phases: October 2 - 1st Quarter Moon, October 9 - Full Moon, October 17 - 3rd Quarter Moon.
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Now that that housekeeping is out of the way…
My mom got a teaching degree from Mankato State University but never actually was a teacher, per se. Her first job was lobbying for the teacher’s union. And it turned out she really loved it. Those early years of my life, Mom’s early 20s, were a series of jobs in politics, working on campaigns of various Democrats and volunteering for call centers (that was where she met Bill/Will) where she got her first training in politics. By their very nature those campaign jobs were short-lived. It wasn’t until she worked for the Sierra Club that she stayed in one place for awhile. It was there that she worked on all of the lands she was so proud of protecting - the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA), Tetagouche State Park, and the Route River Trail in Southern Minnesota.
Here is a snippet of her Retirement Letter that describes how her leadership at the Conservancy led to the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment in Minnesota and me happening across these signs and her work as I recreate about my state. To read all of this letter and more, go here.
After working to represent the Minnesota Chapter of the Conservancy at the legislature for several years in support of funding for the Natural Heritage Program and land conservation, I was privileged to bring that experience and passion to other states and beyond. I had known how to pass bills in Minnesota, but when I was able to share that experience with Kent Wommack, then the assistant state director of the Maine program, and to see it work with almost the same success in another state, a program was born. The Conservancy was willing to invest in an innovative strategy, using the powers of public opinion research, strategic design of measures and messages, and targeted communication campaigns. Now the Conservation Campaigns program, collaborating with Chapters and partners, has leveraged billions of new conservation dollars at the state and local level to protect some of the most significant and beautiful places in North America. Voters have proven their support for conservation funding by approving more than $47 BILLION in state and local conservation funds. I am extremely proud of our almost 92 percent winning ratio, winning 173 out 198 measures at the ballot box!
Mom loved representatives that worked well with their colleagues across the political aisles. And she was loved back because of her ability to communicate and negotiate with people across the political spectrum. She had many stories about facing community members resistant to the change that her brand of conservation brought. During the process of creating the Route River Trail farmers were dead set against the strangers that would be brought into their back yards. In the BWCA it was the resorts that resisted the designation for loss of jobs, to restrictions on motors. In both cases the transition has been a great success for those regions and those that live there. I plan to be more specific to that in future posts, but both places had economies that were restructured on recreation after old ones had become unsustainable and not good for a collective future. I have much more to explore of those times of the farm aid years.
And she held a tenure on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency because she was nominated by our Governor Rudy Perpich.
So there you have it. A whole bunch of artifacts deposited right here for your perusal. Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear from you if you have personal history with my mom and this work, as I know so many of you do. I feel like this is just a gathering of things together in a newsy kind of way. It doesn’t really share my experience of it as a daughter looking on. I love seeing these photos of her because I remember what it was like to be in her light then. It doesn’t capture the admiration of watching her, the things she made possible with the power she had to hold space. Out in the world and at home with us. But it does capture some of her energy. She was generous in sharing it.
Much Love, Tina
Resources for Further Study:
ProPublica story about the League of Women Voters: https://www.propublica.org/article/league-of-women-voters-gop-trump?utm_source=sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailynewsletter&utm_content=feature&eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=3d6fd7e3-a09e-4a30-ac47-af31315ca9c3
Opinion piece by the League of Women’s Voters in The Minnesota Reformer about election misinformation: https://minnesotareformer.com/2022/06/21/election-misinformation-at-the-legislature-correcting-the-facts-as-voting-begins-opinion/