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Shepherdstown senior group receives award

By Staff | Feb 24, 2017

Chronicle photo by Vanessa McGuigan From left are recent past president of SAIL, Jack Young, current president, Carolyn Rodis, Cris Kinsella, founding member of SAIL, Vicky Thomas, Melinda Landolt and Jean Neely.

Cris Kinsella, co-chair, Voter Registration and Education, Jefferson County League of Women Voters was on hand to present the Shepherdstown Area Independent Living group (SAIL) with a community service award for outstanding service to Jefferson County.

In addition to presenting the award, Kinsella spoke to the SAIL group about the history and purpose of the League of Women Voters.

West Virginia has four chapters of the LWV, one of which is in Jefferson County.

“It is a non-partisan group, but supports a variety of what are typically considered progressive public policies,” said Kinsella. “We also comment on and partner with other organizations which align with the league’s objectives at that particular time.”

Prior to the most recent 2016 election, the league held local candidate forums and facilitated voter education and registration events. As a whole, the league is involved with campaign finance reform, environmental concerns, particularly clean air and clean water and the league is working to revoke the death penalty and support universal health care and gun control.

Each year, the league puts together a letter to present to each of the legislators in West Virginia informing them of priorities that the league supports and opposes. In 2016 there were five areas of focus: reform of the West Virginia tax system, disclosure of campaign finance contributions, energy efficiency investments in homes and businesses throughout West Virginia, expanding the availability of treatment for people with mental illness or substance abuse issues and citizen participation in government.

The league established the “Observer” program in 2011 to monitor the actions of local government. Volunteers go to County Commission, Board of Education and Planning Commission meetings to take notes in an effort to raise awareness and accountability for elected officials.

The priorities for the 2017-2018 years will be decided at their annual meeting in May. For more information about the League of Women Voters in Jefferson County, or to become a member, visit lwv-jcwv.org.