Stephanie Ballo opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance. About 60 people attended the meeting. She thanked Barbara Malta for volunteer help and Lauri Schafer for her voter registration coordination at Habitat for Humanity. She reminded members that our focus and mission for the coming year is registering voters and getting democrats elected. She also asked people to sign petitions to help get Cindy Banyai (for Congress), Sarah McFadden (for State House), and John Jenkins (County Commissioner) on the ballot for the next election. There were no petitions for Dave Holden who is also running with Cindy for the 19th Congressional district.
Sarah McFadden is looking to hire a paid position staffer. Contact her office if you are interested.
Announcements: Chris Chase said the November 23 Meet and Greet at Fiddler’s Creek from 5-7 pm at her house has about 60 people who RSVP’d. Chris is also coordinating a voter registration drive at local houses of worship and asked members who attend locally to give her contact information. Lisa Furlong is the new volunteer coordinator. She has a list of 20 people who have signed up to volunteer for various activities, thanks to Lauri Schafer who contacted members. Lisa asked for more people to volunteer to help with voter registration on Marco and also encouraged people to go to the Collier County Democratic club web site –collierdems.org – to sign up to help with volunteer opportunities off Marco. There will be a need for poll workers, poll drivers, virtual phone banking etc. On that site, you can click on Mobilize America and sign up to volunteer for specific actions. She emphasized that we need to get out the vote from people of all ages. We also need people to circulate petitions in your neighborhood to get candidates on the ballot.
Questions about ballots came up. It is now okay to take a photo of your ballot at the poll for your use. You can call the Supervisor of Elections office to make sure your vote by mail ballot has been received. Colliervotes.com will walk you through the Vote by Mail registration process. You must register every two years for a Vote by Mail ballot.
Dawn Rubin spoke about the Silent Auction Fundraiser that will be held on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 5-9 m at Mershon Neiser’s house during our annual Holiday Open House. Silent auction items include a golf club, jewelry, dinners, raffle items and more. Funds will be split between Manatee Elementary School and our club. RE parking at Mershon’s, consider carpooling or using Uber.
Mary Cummings, Recruiting Assistant for the 2020 Census spoke briefly to encourage people to become field agents in Marco, Goodland, Isles of Capri and other nearby Collier areas. Looking to hire census takers, 100 in Collier. These are paid positions. No exam needed to be taken. There are 2 days of training and 1 hour of online training. Most start in April. You can work where you live. Questions about snow birds came up. What address should they use on the census? Census is address driven. You list your primary address. On your snow bird address you still fill out the form, but list 0 as residing at that residence. Post cards are mailed in March for residents to complete either online, by phone or mail. Field agents will follow up those residents where there were no responses.
Gay Valimont and Susan Cone of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense organization were the primary speakers for the evening. Gay Valimont is the Volunteer Chapter Leader for Florida and Susan Cone is the Naples local group leader. Gay spoke first. It is a grass roots organization that started 7 years ago after Sandy Hook shooting. Has 6 million supporters. Florida is the largest chapter. Everytown for Gun Safety is the umbrella organization for Mothers Demand Action as well as Everytown Survivor Network, Students Demand Action and Mayors Against Illegal Guns. They are the antidote to the NRA and Gun lobby by grading politicians on their stance on gun laws. They focus on changing laws, electing gun sense candidates and increasing voter registration. She gave statistics showing that strong gun laws save lives, background checks reduce homicides and suicides by 10 and 20 % respectively Background checks are the number one initiative in Florida. The group also focuses on Red Flag laws which allow law enforcement to remove guns from mentally unstable people; family members currently can’t do that. This is an emergency law. Must petition a judge to remove them permanently. They support companies which ban open carry in their stores – Toms, Walmart, Dick’s, CVS, Walgreens, Levis, Costco, Starbucks, Kroger and Target. Susan and Gay encouraged members to come to Tallahassee Day (Tally Days) on Jan 23 to support passage of background checks. Susan Cone asked for volunteers in the Naples area. The group started 4 years ago. They hold monthly meetings which are educational and have an action component. Next meeting is December 1 and will be writing letters to editors. They are a Gun Violence Prevention Movement, non-partisan, open to all, not just mothers. Join a local group, write to your Florida and federal representatives and senators. Contact info for them:
Gay Valimont, 678-860-7071 firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Cone 239-293-6183 Sconemomsfl@gmail.com
Meeting adjourned at 6:35 pm.
Respectfully submitted, Linda Brown, Recording Secretary 11.12.19