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Newsletter - October 20, 2022

LWVIN | Published on 10/20/2022


On October 10, television viewers across Indiana tuned into a one-hour debate between the candidates for Secretary of State. The debate was sponsored and organized by the LWV of Indiana. The candidates fielded questions, sometimes expressed areas of shared agreement, and highlighted their differences on aspects of the job that are important for voters to consider.But how did that debate come about – for that matter, how does any debate come about?

Planning for a debate usually begins almost as soon as the primary resultsor state conventions are known.A small group of League volunteers working with community or media partners determines which races to pursue. The team outlines the format of the debate, when it is likely to take place, how the media will be involved (e.g., televised, webcast, etc.) and broadly the rules that will be followed both by the organizers and the candidates. Then comes the candidate dance.

Of course, no debate can take place without the candidates. When reaching out to the candidates to invite them to debate it’s important that they feel that they can trust the League as an organization and debate organizer. This means helping them understand the role of the League in helping to educate voters and the organization’s commitment to non-partisan and fair treatment.

Discussions with the candidates build over a period of time as they learn more about the format, timing of the event and making their own calculations about how or if a debate will benefit their campaigns. Some candidates engage in these discussions with interest, others are more intimidated by the thought of facing their opponents and lastly, some consider it a mistake to give their opponent a platform and will only want to avoid the debate. The dance consists of a number of communications via email, voice or in-person meetings to get each candidate to the point where they understand what’s involved in the debate and can make an informed decision to accept or decline the invitation.

For the Secretary of State’s debate both the Libertarian and Democratic candidates were interested in the event and committed with relatively few reservations. The Republican candidate was the opposite and simply refused to communicate – not even willing to give a firm “no thank you.” Fortunately, the League’s empty chair rule (it takes more than one candidate to have a debate) was satisfied since two of the three statewide candidates agreed to participate.

Once the candidates commit, finalizing the specifics of the debate moves into high gear. Lots of details like finding a moderator, determining volunteer needs, recruiting those volunteers, determining media needs and how they will cover the event and, of course, getting plenty of questions for the candidates. This year we tried a novel approach to “open source” the questions asking the public to submit questions on the League’s website. The final set of questions was selected and prioritized out of all those submitted. The final form of each question was drafted by the moderator. This process ensured that the questions were both consistent, logical in their organization and above all, confidential. The candidates didn’t know them -- even the debate organizers only knew the raw form of the questions.

Fast forward to debate night
. The volunteers start arriving about two hours before the broadcast, candidates about one hour before. Press to cover the event started setting up in the media room about 30 minutes before the debate which was the same time the candidates went to makeup. Promptly at 7 PM, the cameras roll and a fast-paced, professionally moderated debate between two compelling candidates is presented to the voters of Indiana. For the next hour we let the voters see, hear and decide for themselves who would be the best Secretary of State.

The interesting thing about debates is that those who show up and engage get the chance to communicate their ideas and vision to the voters. Those who decline to debate send a compelling message to voters too.

Ken Jones, LWVIN Voter Services


CLICK HERE for the video link, press coverage, and other information on the Secretary of State Debate
CLICK HERE to watch the video from the 2022 Senate debate.


The General Election, November 8, 2022, is just around the corner.
Waiting to vote because you don’t know who to vote for?, an online voter guide hosted by LWV United States Education Fund, is available to assist you in choosing your candidates. Candidates for statewide offices, state legislature, judges, county offices, townships, school boards, and more have been asked to complete a survey to share their positions on specific issues.

Check out and prepare to vote.
Share VOTE411 with your friends, families, neighbors, and voters everywhere.

Make a plan and vote!

The voter guide for the statewide candidates is available in English and Spanish. Select the platform you are most comfortable with and learn about the candidates who will be on your ballot. Be an INFORMED voter before you cast your ballot for these important offices.

Averigūe lo que está ensu Boleta Electoral

Comparte VOTE411 con tus amigos, familiares, vecinos y votantes de todo el mundo.

¡Haz un plan y vota!

Thanks to all the local League VOTE411 Teams who have made VOTE411 accessible to the voters across Indiana. If candidates in your area have not responded you can contact them and ask them to participate in VOTE411. They need to hear from you and why they should participate in VOTE411.

Joanne Evers, State Coordinator


League leaders from across Indiana, together with members of the State Board, gathered in Indianapolis on October 15th at the Fall Creek campus of Ivy Tech.

The morning started with recognition of the gifts and talents of former State Board presidents. Then the local Leagues shared about the programs and events of the past year.

Lunch included special cupcakes, thoughtfully provided by Barb Schilling. The cupcakes, iced in purple, yellow and white, were based upon an original recipe for Suffragette Cake. It was a special touch to a special day.

Then Brandon Smith, the host of Indiana Week in Review and Niki Kelly from the Indiana Capital Chronicle presented on current legislative issues and the coming election. They brought their years of journalistic experience to provide the League with a behind-the-scenes perspective. Topics such as gerrymandered districts and the impact on competitive races, the state budget, and public health funding were discussed. There was plenty of time for questions from League members and there are always questions when voting and elections are discussed. Some of the news they shared was a relief to learn, such as Indiana is unlikely to enact voter suppression laws that are cropping up in other states. Other news was disheartening, as we learned that funding for public schools is likely to decline for poorer schools. The presentation was engaging and informative.

Indiana Week in Review is produced by Indiana Public Broadcasting and is available across the state. Indiana Capital Chronicles is a new publication, available online and through weekly updates, begun by Niki Kelly to inform Hoosiers about Indiana trends and politics.

A second presentation was given on the impact of the recent abortion legislation by Kristin Adams, PhD and President/CEO of the Indiana Family Health Council, and Shelli Yoder, Indiana State Senator representing District 40 (Monroe County). They provided a sobering review of the new abortion law and its damaging impact on Hoosier women. Though there is currently a stay of the law, it will be heard by the Indiana Supreme Court in January.

The new law states that abortions can only be sought within a narrow set of parameters and while it does not include criminal charges for women seeking abortions, there are charges and fines against physicians. All allowed abortions will need to be done in hospitals, which are currently not prepared to do these procedures. This increases the costs and complicates a procedure that previously could be completed in a clinic.

An overview of SB2 was also provided, which includes funding to support women and their babies. There is a great lack of clarity for those funding streams, as written in the legislation. The funding is not yet allocated or released.

The news was frustrating and heightened the need get out the vote.

A brief training on the use of Canva was provided, as an aid in communication. The presentation raised the need of effective and constant communication with our members, the public and our elected officials.

Tracy Heaton de Martinez, LWVIN Secretary

You can view the forum videos at

(left to right in photo above:Kristina Lindborg, Laura Gustafson, Susan Ulrich, Liz Solberg)

Water – the lifeblood of us all – was the focus of Hoosier Environmental Council’s Oct. 15th Greening the Statehouse (GTS). This annual event provides invaluable information about issues likely to come up in the next Indiana General Assembly (IGA). LWVIN was a GTS sponsor and had a well-attended booth.

The program began with exciting news. Sam Carpenter was introduced as the new Executive Director of the Hoosier Environmental Council after Jesse Kharbanda’s departure last spring. Sam has over 25 years of experience working with nonprofit organizations and previously led Global Gifts, an Indiana-based nonprofit fair trade retail outlet, as its executive director for 17 years. He noted “Environmental issues are issues of our collective society… When I thought about what organization would allow me to have the greatest impact for future generations, the answer was Hoosier Environmental Council.” Welcome, Sam!

EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore gave an engaging virtual presentation. She stressed the importance of committed advocates and noted a number of key points, such as:
• Significant improvements in water quality have been made since the Clean Water Act was enacted 50 years ago.
• Chemical spills into Lake Michigan in 2017 and 2019 resulted in investigation, monitoring, and improvement of facilities.
• Persons of color and impoverished communities are subject to more chemical pollution; thus 40% of new federal funding is going directly to them.
• One billion dollars was committed to Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

“Progress from Major Indiana Waterways” 
was summarized by an excellent panel: Kimmie Gordon (Lake Michigan), Hank Graddy (Ohio River), Rick Conrad (White River), and Amy Krzton-Presson (Wabash River). Each shared their story of improvements since the Clean Water Act was passed, as well as their plans for ongoing advocacy.

State Representative Carey Hamilton and State Senator Fady Qaddoura noted that in the upcoming IGA, fights will return on prohibiting retirement fund investments in environmental entities and on coal bailouts. Additional funding for trails is likely, but movement on a state climate action plan or reversing the phaseout of net-metering are important but unlikely.

The dramatic climax of GTS came from Rob Billott, author of Exposure, who detailed his more than 20-year legal battle against DuPont regarding PFOA and PFOS, huge categories of unregulated toxic forever chemicals now found worldwide and in most humans. These chemicals have been used extensively in such things as waterproof clothing, Teflon cookware, fast food wrappers, and foam used by firefighters, just a few examples. Rob’s incredible fight is also captured very effectively in the 2019 movieDark Waters.

To offset the sometimes dark message, thirty beautiful water-themed works of art were on display (including a photo by NR Co-Chair Kristina Lindborg!). These were chosen by HEC from 80 entries and were available for purchase. Attendees voted for their favorite and three winners received a monetary bonus.

Let us know at if you would like to receive LWVIN Natural Resources updates and legislative action alerts.

Liz Solberg (with help from Kristina and Cheryl)

The LWVIN Membership Committee and the Board have set a goal of increasing membership: “2000 in 2022”

To provide an additional incentive, the State PMP for all new members from August 1 to December 31, 2022, will be refunded to the local leagues. That means $15 back to the league for programming for each new member during this time frame. ($7.50 for household members)

A Membership Committe Toolbox has now gone live on the LWVIN website with suggestions, materials, and “things that work” shared by the local leagues.

Myra Abbott and Tom Gardiner

The Nominating Committee is working on the slate to be presented at the Convention next June.

If you or someone you know in your league would be interested in being considered for the LWVIN State Board or one of the state committees, please submit the Nomination Form that can be downloaded at LWVIN.ORG > Resources > Resources-StateBoard > LWV Indiana > Nomination form.

The link for the live stream is It will go live at 2pm on the 10/23.There's no formal sign up, but if people want to RSVP or have questions, they can email

Inflation Reduction Act, Solar Power, and Savings ZOOM
Oct 26, 2022 8:15 PM Eastern Time

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 895 1464 4902
Passcode: 1234 (You will need to provide this for Zoom access)