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DECEMBER 2019 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.

 
OUR MISSION: 
To connect residents of Henderson County and surrounding areas to civic engagement and activities at the grassroots level.
 
OUR VISION:
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

This month's Postcard Parties are all at Sanctuary Brewing Company - 147 1st Ave. E, Hendersonville, NC from 4:30 to 6:00.

We get together every Friday: December 6th, December 13th, December 20th and December 27th.

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

Suggestion Sheets

Those of you who attend the Friday Postcard sessions at Sanctuary Brewing Company know that we always have a suggestion sheet to assist you.  The sheets are written by various volunteers, and have short descriptions of possible topics for your messages to legislators along with key contacts identified.

Please understand that these are only suggestion sheets.  There is no requirement that your postcards pertain only to the topics on a given sheet – many members are passionate about specific issues, and prefer to focus on those every Friday.  The key is to convey your views to legislators and policymakers on a regular basis.

If you are not in agreement with the issues recommended on a given Friday, please be respectful of the several hours it has taken an Alliance member to compile and write that sheet. Better yet, sign up for a regular stint as the sheet writer – we currently have 6 or 7 members who rotate the burden, and there is always room for more.  Just contact Neil Brown, and we will create room for you.
 

Informed Progressive

On Wednesday, November 13, Dr. Steve Woodsmall, candidate for Congressional District 11, discussed his campaign platform.  These values include:  

    - overturning Citizens United
    - fair elections
    - quality healthcare and affordable prescription drugs (Medicare for All)
    - protection of our social safety net programs like Social Security and Medicare
    - fair and equal treatment of all human beings
    - protection of women’s rights
    - common sense gun regulations
    - a fair and simpler tax code
    - immigration reform that protects those seeking asylum and those who seek a better life in the US
    - protection of our environment

On December 11 from 2:00 – 3:00 Kelly Hollinger will present on Regenerative Agriculture.
 
Donaldson Event Space
1216 W.6th Ave. Ste. 500 (behind the Pardee Urological Building)
Hendersonville, NC 28792
 

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.

Due to holiday events happening on Main Street, there will be NO SILENT VIGIL IN DECEMBER.  We will resume the Silent Vigil for Immigration Reform on Friday, January 17th, from 4 pm to 4:30 pm in front of the Historic Courthouse.  

 

Letters to the Editor

Writing letters to the editor gives us the opportunity to sharpen and expand the perspectives we express in our postcards.  When we place a letter in a Hendersonville-based paper, we can be assured that our NC and local area lawmakers will see it and take notice.  When we place a letter in the Asheville Citizen-Times and the Mountain Xpress, we show how our concerns have a regional focus.  When we place a letter in the Raleigh paper we bring attention to Western North Carolina and may put our General Assembly members on the spot.  PAHC leadership can do research into how we can get sought out as spokespeople on the local TV stations.  In rare circumstances we can try to get a comment piece in the Washington Post or New York Times, e.g. something about Mark Meadows that has national implications.
 
Your letters can continue to use a civil but direct tone, with a dollop of informed and reasonable disappointment.  (Avoid snarkiness, however.)  They should be concise, with a strong introduction and a clear statement of what you support or oppose and what you want the relevant government or individual to do.  When the opportunity arises they can speak positively about what a lawmaker has done.  The Mountain Xpress will print parts of relatively long, well-argued but complex letters in the weekly while posting the full text on their website.  During election season we need to write varied letters urging people to vote for candidates we support.  It is best to clearly name your candidate, the position she seeks, and the towns in the district - the less explicit attention given to whom she’s running against, the better.
Newspaper Addresses:

Raleigh News and Observer
421 Fayetteville St., Suite 104
Raleigh, NC 27601

Hendersonville Times-News
106 Henderson crossing Plaza
Hendersonville, NC 28792

Asheville Citizen-Times
14 O’Henry Ave
Asheville, NC 28801

Hendersonville Lightning
1111 Asheville Hwy.
Hendersonville, NC 28791

 

 
Tryon Daily Bulletin
16 North Trade St.
Tryon, NC 28782
 
Mountain Xpress
2 Wall St. Suite 211
Asheville, NC 28801
 
Washington Post
1301 K Street NW
Washington, DC 20071
 
New York Times
620 Eighth Ave.
New York City, NY 10018

Area Events and News

 
Postcard Party Recap


Encouraging Candidates

The Progressive Alliance of Henderson County encouraged candidates running in the recent city/town elections to stop in and get to know the locals.  Several progressive candidates won their council seats.   We are pleased that the contacts they made paid off for the candidates.  We encourage any and all candidates for the upcoming 2020 elections to stop by and introduce themselves to our grassroots efforts.   We welcome informal chats on positions and policies.   We ask that everyone respect that there will be differences of opinions, and use the chance to discuss programs.






 

 
 

Citizen Advisory Committees
A member of the Alliance's Leadership committee, Neil Brown, has been appointed to a 3-year term on the City of Hendersonville's Planning Board, starting in January. We now have members serving on two City, and one County, Boards.

Participating in these Boards is a relatively easy way of making sure that the voice of progressives is heard as local governments set policy and requirements on a variety of topics.  There are numerous Boards available locally, and getting your name on the waiting list for appointments only requires submitting a short form to the County or City.  Links to these forms, and descriptions of the various Boards, are found elsewhere in this newsletter.

MEETING WITH CHUCK McGRADY ON 11/20/19.
by Paul Weichselbaum

As an effort of the new Liaison Subcommittee, John Owens, Chris Walters, and Paul Weichselbaum met with Rep. Chuck McGrady on Nov. 20.  We semi-formally introduced ourselves on behalf of the PAHC, seeking to establish direct communication with Rep. McGrady while recognizing that he is not seeking re-election in 2020.  We took the opportunity to address several legislative initiatives before the General Assembly concerning gun violence and gun safety, some of which we support and some of which we oppose.  We would like Rep. McGrady to publicly take positions that agree with ours on sensible gun reform.

Rep. McGrady communicated two key messages: that he will not publicly address sensible gun reform because he believes that the bills introduced in the last session are going nowhere, and that “You have to win at the ballot box to get your programs considered and passed.”  He is not going to openly criticize his fellow Republicans, yet he is expressing the obvious task for progressives, while in a way sounding nostalgic for a time when things were supposedly accomplished in a bipartisan manner.

He was, however, critical of our ongoing postcard campaign, claiming that he discards hostile postcards and that he doesn’t factor in our opinions when deciding how to vote and what to say.  He asserts that he personally reads all of his constituent mail, but seemed too categorical in his dismissal of these particular constituent messages.  It can’t hurt, nevertheless, to periodically examine how we do the postcards, not just in terms of using a “civil tone” but also in terms of trends in the topics we suggest.

On the other hand, he indicated that his main sources for political news and opinion are the Lightning and other local media.  He essentially advised that we pay attention to those local media and, perhaps, write letters to the editor and angle to become sources for their reporting on the issues that matter to us.

Regarding his own seat, he expects Tim Moffitt to be the Republican candidate.  He suggested Moffitt may be less receptive to hearing from us than he is, but that it is worth the effort to contact him early, along with the two Democrats who are seeking the nomination, to initiate a cordial relationship in which we can all be clear about our differences and agreements.

PAHC Donated to Little Free Libraries

Alliance members donated a total of 76 books to Times/News Little Free Libraries project.
Thanks!
 
By  Lee Stevens

 
Sheila Clendenning


Sheila Clendenning, like many of us, has been wide awake since the 2016 election, alarmed by what she considers to be the tragic result of her personal apathy multiplied millions-fold by the inaction of well-meaning, privileged folks very much like herself.

As she stated in her essay for the Why I March art project: “I am no longer able to wallow in complacent complicity to the degradation of so many fundamentally non-negotiable human-rights.  I can’t keep quiet.  I prayerfully resist the immoral marginalization of and persecution of minorities, the gluttony and greed of narrow-minded power-grabbers, the utter disregard for the health and sustainability of our planet.”

She has found community in the like-minded, caring fellow travelers in Hendersonville who have also been spurred to action. Serving on the Progressive Alliance leadership team has allowed her a voice, a path for action, and the fellowship of other progressives navigating these challenging times. Occasionally, she writes the suggestion sheet for the weekly Postcard Parties, a shared, rotating opportunity that she reminds us is RIPE for other volunteers! 

While she describes herself as mostly complacent until 2016, Sheila’s resistance goes back to participation in the Moratorium of 1969 on the campus of what was then Elon College, where she was enrolled at the time. She also wrote for an underground newspaper in college, and in 1981 had a short article published in Mother Earth News titled “Don’t Burn that Stump.” 

Her abilities to motivate others and encourage cooperation and collaboration were honed over 31 years as a public high school Spanish teacher in Greensboro and Currituck County. Throughout her career, she held several fun part-time positions such as wine consultant, Welcome Wagon host, concert/theater event staffer and information person at a mall. After retiring from the classroom in 2004, she worked full time at her hometown Chamber of Commerce and also volunteered on the board of a non-profit arboretum. The environment, particularly the health of trees, is one of her primary interests. Other causes she fights for include literacy, and celebration of diversity and inclusion. Her artistic expression includes playing with paper: “crafty embellishment” of notecards, envelopes, small boxes, etc. 

 To combat lethargy and keep her sanity, she avoids watching the news, and focuses on local and state elections. 

Two of her main teachers in life are author Tom Robbins, who taught her that playfulness and serious business must co-exist, and John Lennon, who stated that “…there is no place you can be that isn’t where you are meant to be.” With their teachings as her guideposts, she renews her resolve to act meaningfully each day in the shared effort to build bridges of compassion and cooperation and to tear down walls that artificially and cruelly divide.
News You Can Use

 
Citizen Advisory Committees

We can do these things, please apply for an advisory board position.  We have the applications or get them online.   
PAHC now selling sweatshirts

Now that the weather has turned cold we are selling super comfortable and wonderfully warm sweatshirts. And at the bargain price of $20.20. That is what our t-shirts had been selling at. The t-shirts are on sale for $15.00.

Either would make a great holiday present.  For further information head to our website
WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.
HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO HELP?
 
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.

Regards,
Lucy Butler, Sheila Clendenning, Chris Berg, Liz Agnello, Laura Miklowitz, Nancy Brown, Julia Luellen, Chris Walters, Neil Brown, Audrey Stelloh, Paul Weichselbaum
, and  Sissy Owen
The PAHC core leadership group (currently Liz Agnello, 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 © *2019* *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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