Year in Review 2016 – 2017

Fall Kick Off

Our fall kickoff program on September 22 featured Colin mc Enroe, NPR commentator whose topic “It’s an Election” informed and entertained LWV members and their guests on a beautiful late summer evening at a local beach club.

Voters’ Service

In October our work centered on Voters’ Service   – meeting our goal of civic engagement and an informed electorate. Several events that have become annual signature League events in Darien are:

  • Candidates Night on October 22 – League members organized debate between candidates for contested election for State Representative in the 141st and 143rd House Districts and for State Senate in the 25th and 27th In addition, Board Of Education candidates participated in a panel discussion on local issues and RTM candidates were introduced. Kay Maxwell moderated as candidates responded to questions from the audience. Program was carried live on public access TV and repeated prior to election.
  • LWV members prepared questions for candidates for local and state offices for Voters Guide published in the local paper on November 3, 2016. League took responsibility for contacting the candidates and collating responses for the paper.
  • For the first time the Darien League , following example of a neighboring Connecticut league, sponsored a competition at Darien High School in which students prepared a 30 second Public Service Announcement on the importance of voting. With full cooperation of Darien High School, students worked to develop psa’s and three were chosen as winners by a team of local media professionals. The Darien LWV funded small prizes for the students.
  • Darien league members in conjunction with the Town Registrars of Voters registered students at Darien High on several occasions at the high school during lunch. League members also assisted with registration at senior living center.


The Darien LWV continues to be a strong presence in the community and we have built on that strength to collaborate with other Town agencies and volunteer groups. In addition, this outreach has promoted the benefits of League membership and has yielded several new members. Here are some examples:

  • In November the LWV partnered with the Council of Darien School Parents (CDSP) to sponsor a program featuring Connecticut Attorney George Jepson who spoke on the appeal he filed on behalf of the State in the Ct Coalition for Justice in Education Funding versus Rell, the case involving alleged injustice in education funding.
  • The Darien Library continues to be a valuable partner for the LWV. They provided a venue for our February film , “Equal Means Equal. “ and for our Town Officials program involving the participation of the heads of major town Boards ( First Selectman , Chairmen of Planning and Zoning, Board of Education , Board of Finance and RTM Moderator) .

The program was open to the public and held in the evening for the first time resulting in renewed interest among League members and the community.

  • In turn, the Darien Library called on the LWV to help with a non-partisan letter writing campaign, ‘Engage with Your Government.” in March and a Library representative working on the Library’s strategic plan attended a League meeting in the fall to elicit League input.
  • The League co-president spoke about the League to a newly formed interest group at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church to explore topics of possible activism. Another League member described her work with promoting passage of the ERA.
  • Public Access Channel 79 films and rebroadcasts most of our events



  • This spring the LWV revised and published “You and Your Town Government “, a comprehensive description of the structure of Town government and the basics of becoming politically active. The publication  has been distributed throughout the community and is available online.
  • The League’s Darien Government Guide a complete listing of name and contact information for local, state and national public officials is researched and published yearly. Paper and electronic copies are available to all.
  • For more than a decade Darien has hosted a January Coffee with the Legislators in a member‘s home. Open to LWV members and guests, this year the entire area delegation (Representatives Wood and Tong and Senators Duff and Leone) attended and responded to well researched questions on significant issues facing the General Assembly.  


As of April our membership stood at 119, including two life members. We continue outreach through membership tables at our programs and word of mouth in the community as well as providing educational materials throughout Town.

Monthly Meeting Highlights

Monthly meetings continued to be enhanced by an agenda item called “Observer Corps Light” in which a Town administrator or department head attends the League meeting to describe her/ his job and responsibilities. Some of the speakers included:

  • Kate Clarke Buch, Town Administrator
  • Lucia Zachowski, president of Friends of Gorham’s Pond who explained the environmental impact of dredging and restoring the pond
  • League member Jean Sweeney who described her work with ERA Action a grassroots organization working on a three state strategy to get House and Senate bills passed and to remove the deadline for passage. ERA fell short of ratification by the required number of States in the 1980’s and recent efforts have resulted in the passage by Nevada.
  • In March Darien‘s Registrars of Voters shared perspective on current election issues and helped inform the League as it reviewed its position on election laws.
  • Jane Eyes spoke about the NPV in April.


We have a good time too.

  • Food for Thought a freewheeling discussion of an unannounced topic in a member’s home continues to be very popular each month
  • In December the annual Holiday Potluck is well attended and members are entertained by familiar faces providing Capitol Steps political satire.
  • In March three brave members participated in a community Spelling Bee and survived nearly to the end. Can you spell onomatopoeia?


End of year Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting on May 25 at Darien Country Club featured Clyde White of “No Labels” who discussed the history, values and goals of “No Labels”.

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