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February 2020 NEWSLETTER

The Progressive Alliance of Henderson County has merged the energies and aims of its grassroots forerunners: PWH, POW, Hendersonville Huddle and Silent Vigil for Immigration Reform.

To connect residents of Henderson County and surrounding areas to civic engagement and activities at the grassroots level.
The Progressive Alliance of Henderson County (PAHC) compassionately advocates for justice, respect, inclusion and sustainable, healthy communities for all.    

Visit our website for more photos, events, and links to like-minded groups.

Postcard Parties

Postcard Parties are Thriving!

We are averaging 26 people per party, and that includes the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays.  The local candidates are coming almost every Friday to meet and greet.

If you haven't come in awhile, please come and connect with lots of like-minded people.

This month's Postcard Parties are all at Sanctuary Brewing Company - 147 1st Ave. E, Hendersonville, NC from 4:30 to 6:00, every Friday: February 7, 14, 21 and 28. 

On Friday, February 14, 2020, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense will partner with Progressive Alliance of Henderson County at the 160th Postcard Party.

Postcards and suggested scripts will be provided to write our legislators about pending and much, needed laws to promote sensible gun reform.

February 14th is the second anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 students and teachers and injuring 17 others. The shooting sparked the March for Our Lives demonstrations in cities and towns across the country, including Hendersonville.

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is a grassroots, nonpartisan organization that supports the 2nd Amendment, but believes common-sense solutions can help decrease the epidemic of gun violence that kills nearly 100 people each day and injures 200 others. The Hendersonville group consists of Moms and Dads,

Project Dignity and the Progressive Alliance of Henderson County are partnering at Friday’s Postcard Party
NEW DATE                    Friday     February 21, 2020                   
Postcards, stamps, suggestion sheets and addresses are provided.

Never been to a Postcard Party? Watch a video to learn how it works.

Informed Progressive

On Wednesday, February 12, 2 to 3:30, the Progressive Alliance of Henderson County (PAHC) Informed Progressive Series will feature Moe Davis, candidate for US House District 11. Come hear about his campaign platform!

1216 6Th Ave. W, Suite 500, Hendersonville (downstairs and in back of the Pardee Urological building)

Silent Vigil for Immigration Reform


This is a monthly event to promote immigration reform. We meet the 3rd Friday of every month from 4:00 to 4:30 in front of the Old Courthouse in Hendersonville. 

We have signs or bring your own.

We will next meet  on Friday, February 21st in front of the Historic Courthouse.  

The Liaison Subcommittee (Lucy Butler, Chris Berg, Paul Weichselbaum) met for 45 minutes with Sen. Chuck Edwards on January 27.  Lucy presented evidence for North Carolina’s need to substantially increase teacher pay and otherwise invest much more in public education, with targeted increases.  Paul presented evidence that acceptance of Medicaid expansion has been a consistent success nationwide, regarding multiple core objectives, and that North Carolina stands to gain significantly---for affected individuals, the healthcare system, counties, and the state as a whole---if the General Assembly passes Medicaid expansion at this year’s short session.  Chris spoke about specifics concerning multiple issues. 

Senator Edwards was courteous.  He challenged us to provide sourcing for all of our data and arguments.  He placed the blame for the lack of a compromise on Governor Cooper.  Edwards claimed that he drafted a potential compromise on NC supplementing healthcare funding for 180,000 “most in need” individuals in a one-on-one meeting with Dr. Mandy Cohen (Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services), but that Gov. Cooper rejected the plan.  (For whatever reason, he has not sought media coverage about the result of said meeting.)  He cited the problems seven states have had with Medicaid expansion---which contradicts the research review by Kaiser Family Foundation.  We will address that counter-argument in the coming week.

Lucy made an impassioned statement about the need for communication and negotiation and about the great costs of political polarization.
We provided materials and will follow up with additional relevant sourcing.  The Liaison Subcommittee expects to arrange a subsequent meeting in a few months to address other PAHC concerns.

Area Events and News

Postcard Party Recap

Two new postcards added:



Informed Progressive

On Wednesday, January 8, the Medicare for All WNC team screened Power to Heal and provided facilitated discussion following the documentary. Power to Heal is the untold story of how the twin struggles for racial justice and healthcare intersected: creating Medicare and desegregating thousands of hospitals at the same time. It tells a poignant chapter in the historic struggle to secure equal and adequate access to healthcare for all Americans. Central to the story is the tale of how a new national program, Medicare, was used to mount a dramatic, coordinated effort that desegregated thousands of hospitals across the country practically overnight.

Before Medicare, disparities in access to hospital care were dramatic. Less than half the nation's hospitals served black and white patients equally, and in the South, 1/3 of hospitals would not admit African-Americans even for emergencies.

Using the carrot of Medicare dollars, the federal government virtually ended the practice of racially segregating patients, doctors, medical staffs, blood supplies and linens. Power to Heal illustrates how Movement leaders and grass-roots volunteers pressed and worked with the federal government to achieve a greater measure of justice and fairness for African-Americans. 

There are lessons we can learn from the past...we have to move forward towards fixing our broken health care system and get an expanded and improved Medicare for All. 

Informed Progressive:  First Evening event Jan. 22nd
YES, AND...! - A workshop on Defining What is Progressive 

43 enthusiastic attendees took part in the January 22 Informed Progressive workshop led by Princess and Leah Ferguson.

The presentation started with the "How A Movement Begins" video....… 
and finished up with a "Yes, and..." activity plus some Movement-Beginner enticements by several attendees.

Kudos to Princess, and also to Lucy Butler and her team of organizers, including Lyndsey Simpson and Chris Berg. Extra-special kudos to Fran Cooper, who volunteered in the child-care area after landing just hours earlier from her flight home from Florida!

Congratulations to Suzi Leonard, who is the winner of the Two Guys Pizza gift certificate offered too all who entered email addresses when submitting the pre-workshop survey.

Leah and Princess Ferguson organized this workshop as an introduction to building a personal statement or frame work on an important social topic. The topic could be chosen from ‘Climate Change’ or ‘Health Care’. (These were the most significant responder-chosen topics from an online SurveyMonkey poll distributed with the posted invitations to the workshop.) 

Participants sat in groups of three to:
  1. Think about your own understanding of the importance of the topic;
  2. Put your thoughts into about a one-minute statement to the other two in your group;
  3. Listen to the other statements of your group, take notes to keep track, focus on understanding the statement(s) rather than forming a response. 
Then, as a group working together: Identify any themes common to all the statements in your group.

Then, still in your group but thinking it through for yourself, imagine trying to voice one or more of the group’s themes to someone you know (a neighbor?) who you could speak to but would not expect to agree with you.
Describe how you might talk about the theme/ideas.
Write up a few notes about this. Try forming it as a pitch.

The Fergusons invited attenders to stand and deliver their pitch! Four did so. Najah Underwood wanted to talk about gentrification. She’s a Hendersonville resident running for state Senate.  Lyndsey Simpson, a new Hendersonville city council member, expressed concern about ‘workforce housing’ (as our tight housing market is often described) – and went on to focus on the folks without real housing, in cars or shelters etc. Tom Walker suggested a number of climate-impacted concerns, including infrastructure, but cautioned about how fossil fuels have been built into our culture.

A follow-up is tentatively set for June 20. Please stay tuned!         -  Chris B / Sheila Clendenning 
By  Lee Stevens

Lee Stevens

This month, I step out from behind the pen and turn the spotlight on myself, a slightly uncomfortable but bearable experience. Now I understand how my subjects might feel when I interview them!  

Anyway, my life began in Seattle in 1953 as the third child in my family born in four years – a common occurrence in the baby boom era. When I was one, we moved to Rhode Island and I grew up there - swimming in the river, digging clams, and sailing every summer and skiing every winter - until I left home for Hartwick College in upstate New York in 1971. After graduating with my English degree from the State University of New York at Albany and marrying, I raised two children and lived in Herndon, Virginia; Grapevine, Texas; Gaithersburg, Maryland; and Tampa, Florida before moving to Hendersonville in 1999, drawn by the beauty, energy, and creativity of the region.

I thought of using my English degree to teach (not for me) or to become a journalist (maybe for me), but instead fell into working for non-profit organizations in fundraising, mostly grant writing, for my entire career. It suited me well, the combination of mission and writing, and I applied my skills for the benefit of many organizations over the years as both an employee and a consultant. Locally, I spent 18 years at MAHEC in Asheville as their grant writer, retiring at the end of 2018. More recently I’ve gone back to work part-time with All Souls Counseling Center in Asheville as their Director of Development. Bottom line, I love to write, and my career has allowed me to indulge that love. 

From my commitment to the missions of non-profit organizations, it is evident that I have always been a Democrat. My father, who was Republican, always asked me when I was going to get a “real job.” My mother, who was a Democrat, loved the work I did and the organizations I assisted. 

I voted for the first time in the 1972 Presidential election – filing an absentee ballot for George McGovern while I was studying abroad at the University of Sussex in England. Like many of us, prior to 2016, I voted mostly in major elections, and was often fuzzy on the slate of local candidates. That has changed now, and I enter 2020 with commitment to work hard for Democrats who will represent me on the local, state and national level. 

These days, in my semi-retired state, I focus on writing in my spare time. In addition to monthly profiles of the always interesting Progressive Alliance members, I write  short stories, with one scheduled to be published in a literary magazine this spring, and I contribute blog posts to a website that focuses on the possibilities, ironies, and joys of this stage of life. In addition, I plan to assist people with writing their memoirs, with my first job, helping a retired Philadelphia policeman tell the story of his days on the undercover burglary detail in the 1970s, currently underway.

I am also a weaver – on a floor loom in my home studio, I make scarves, shawls, blankets, and table linens that I sell on Etsy (see my shop at, and at local craft fairs. 
For further information and to download the application form.
Activism is NOT a spectator sport!  Where/how do you see yourself helping?
Specific Areas to Assist PAHC
  1. Openers/closers for Friday Postcard Parties from 4:30-6:00 pm every Friday at Sanctuary Brewing, 147 1st Ave. E., Hendersonville. Contact Audrey Stelloh.
  2. Twitter, Instagram etc. Contact Neil Brown.
  3. Current events articles for Newsletter, FB, Website etc. Contact Nancy Brown.
  4. Informed Progressive Speaker series. Contact Lucy Butler.
  5. Rally organizing team. Contact Chris Walters.
  6. Social gatherings/service activities team. Contact Sheila Clendenning.
  7. Write Suggestion Sheet for postcards/ Research for bills pending in Congress. Contact Neil Brown.
  8. Voting committee. Contact Sissy Owen.
  9. Fundraising team. Contact Audrey Stelloh.
  10. Photographer. Contact Nancy Brown.
Some people don’t look.
Some look, but don’t see.
Some see, but don’t act.
Some people act.
. . . Anon
Leadership Group for the Progressive Alliance of Henderson County

At the beginning of 2019, four groups agreed to merge into the Progressive Alliance of Henderson County. Eleven souls stepped up and put the wheels in motion that created this active, vibrant, community-oriented organization.

We are approaching our one year anniversary. We have grown and want our members to know that there are many opportunities available. The Leadership Group meets about once a month to review policies and activities. We have agreements and disagreements, but the main agreement is that we all have to talk about what we are trying to accomplish in Henderson County. There are about half a dozen committees that meet separately, some once a month in person, and some just communicate by emails or phones.

Please step forward and let us know which committees or Leadership roles would fit into your desires for our political direction in this country. Do not be shy. We welcome your thoughts and your efforts to implement those thoughts.

Activism is not a spectator sport.

Lucy Butler, Sheila Clendenning, Chris Berg, Laura Miklowitz, Nancy Brown, Julia Luellen, Chris Walters, Neil Brown, Audrey Stelloh, Paul Weichselbaum
, and  Sissy Owen
The PAHC core leadership group (currently Chris Berg, Nancy & Neil Brown, Lucy Butler, Sheila Clendenning, Julia Luellen, Laura Miklowitz, Sissy Owen, Audrey Stelloh, Chris Walters and Paul Weichselbaum) working together diligently to strengthen our impact, has created mission and vision statements for the group.

Please speak to any of us if you can offer your ideas and time about the future of Henderson County. 
Copyright © *2020* *Progressive Alliance of Henderson County*


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Progressive Alliance of Henderson County · P.O. Box 192 · Mountain Home, NC 28758 · USA

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