On Friday, state legislative candidate Mark Fotsch, of Roseville, said he doesn't plan to participate in any debates hosted by the League of Women Voters this fall because the organization is taking stands against the proposed Marriage and Voter ID constitutional amendments.
In a letter to the editor to Roseville Patch, the Republican candidate for new state House District 66A asserted the League's positions against the Marriage amendment and the Voter ID measure put it in sync with the state Democratic Party's platform.
"They (the League) have truly moved to support the DFL Party in Minnesota and should no longer be considered “non-partisan"," Fotsch contended.
League executive director Laura Wang disagreed. to see Friday's Roseville Patch story that includes Fotsch's letter to the editor and a statement from Wang.
Local League board member responds
Meanwhile, local League board member Carolyn Cushing also took issue with Fotsch's comments. She is member of the League's Roseviile-Maplewood-Falcon Heights (RoMaFC) chapter. Here is her statement:
"The League of Women Voters has a history that dates back over 90 years
to the campaign for women's suffrage. Once they were legally allowed
to participate, women decided they would work to become informed
So women selected issues to study, worked to reach consensus
as an organization, and then took what action they could to reach the
In this long history, we have worked on many contentious issues but
have remained a non-partisan organization. Members have always had a
variety of backgrounds and opinions.
The League has NEVER endorsed any candidate or party. Individual members are often active in political parties. Many are independents. Sometimes our positions have been shared by one or the other of the political parties. The League has no control over which groups agree or disagree with them!
Our educational efforts have always been obviously non-partisan. We
hold candidate forums where voters can question candidates in person.
(We cancel forums if one party refuses to participate in order not to
provide special access.)
We publish and distribute position statements from all candidates so voter can easily make comparisons. We encourage citizens to register. We provide easy access to information that directs voter to the proper polling place. None of this is new. We have done this year after year.
We also have members who lobby for action on positions we have agreed
to. This is only done after members have reached a conclusion on an
issue. Our positions are public and available.
The League positions on the amendments should not be a surprise. We have long-established support for civil rights, human rights and equal opportunity. An amendment that restricts rights for a particular group of citizens does not match these positions.
As for the voter amendment, Leagues all over the country have risen up
against these laws that on close examination seem aimed at democracy.
Extending information and encouraging participation has been our
purpose. We encourage all groups and individuals to find out what is
really involved and how much we will lose. Vote NO."