I posted earlier this week about the outrageous ad run against Scott Brown (R-MA) by the national League of Women Voters, depicting a child on a respirator and tying the condition to Brown’s vote to strip the EPA of the ability to regulate carbon dioxide.
Putting aside what one thinks of the ad’s substance, the ad signaled a complete disregard for the League’s political neutrality. In fact, the League long ago lost its neutrality, having made a national Board decision to engage in issue advocacy, but the public perception lived on.
Now the head of the Andover/North Andover chapter has resigned in protest (emphasis mine):
Dear Board of Directors:
It is sadly that I tender my resignation as president of the League of Women Voters of Andover/North Andover effective today [May 10]. Our local League is made up of such wonderful, dedicated people volunteering their time to educate the voters in our community. Over the 90-year history of the LWVANA the organization has become a respected partner in the community, however, recent actions by the national and state League of Women Voters have, in my opinion, muted the effectiveness of the League as a non-partisan voter service provider at all levels.
I do not agree with the direction in which the national and state Leagues seem to be headed and as a part of these larger organizations we are not able to control our reputation at the local level. I sincerely hope that there is a way for the League or another organization to continue the valued and important work that the LWVANA has done for our community for so many years. I wish it had not come to this, however, given my strong disagreement with the broader organization I cannot in good conscience continue to serve as president and as such I am resigning my position with the League and do not intend to renew my membership.
Ms. Ford is not alone in feeling betrayed by the national leadership. Others in the local chapter also posted a statement of protest (including the person who took over as Acting President in place of Ms. Ford)(emphasis mine):
The League of Women Voters of Andover/North Andover (LWV-ANA) has been placed in the very difficult position of explaining the actions of League leadership at the state and national levels. Our local chapter of the League wants to go on record as strongly disagreeing with their decision to run ads singling out U.S. Senator Scott Brown for his vote in favor of the McConnell Amendment No. 183, limiting the powers of the Environmental Protection Agency.
The LWV-ANA was not made aware of these ads before they began airing. We have communicated our disagreement to the state and national League leadership.
The League of Women Voters was founded 90 years ago as a non-partisan political organization with two main functions: educating voters and studying issues of concern to our communities.
The dedicated members of our local League have worked very hard to provide Andover and North Andover citizens with access to accurate information about issues affecting our communities and encourage active participation in the democratic process.
We do not condone the ads being aired. Our local League will continue to discuss what further steps need to be taken to preserve our vital non-partisan role in the community.
Stefani Traina, Acting President
Heather McNeil, VP North Andover
Sandy Gleed, Chairperson
LWV of Andover/North Andover
In response to the controversy over the Brown ad, the national President of the League, Elizabeth McNamara stated:
“We are a nonpartisan organization, but we are political.”
Fine, you have chosen your lot and you will be treated as such. In so doing, you have thrown away almost a century of good will.