Newsletter-August 2018

August Newsletter

Letters From the Presidents

I am incredibly excited to begin my first term as president at JCDW North, replacing the outgoing and amazing leadership of MaryKay Ziegler. I have been a part of JCDW for ten years, and have watched it grow from a small group of women around a table to the network of committed, value-driven activists we are today.

We now have a legacy of raising over $5000 every year, and every penny goes to electing Johnson County Democrats to serve in Topeka and in municipal seats all across this county. Not only do we raise money, we are a touchstone for Democratic leadership in our community, and a network of dedicated women working to help accomplish the goals of the local, state and national Democratic Party. Our members have stepped up each time we’ve asked, providing valuable support at every level, allowing our organization to grow into the powerhouse in Johnson County that it is today.

I am also honored to introduce the smart and committed women who make up the new leadership team: Neisha Benson – Vice President, Deanna Hunter – Secretary, and Joyce Hughes – Treasurer. We have several other members who provide needed support. Special thanks to Michelle Sailor, Angeliina Lawson, Sharon Hadley and Lynn Ferguson. Hollie Niblett has graciously lent us her tech skills to maintain our website. They each spend hours working for this group and aren’t recognized near enough for their service to JCDW.

One of my goals as the new president is to increase JCDW participation in local governance. I want this organization to have a presence at every city council meeting, every legislative forum, and meetings of the board at our community college and county commission.  I recently attended and spoke at a Johnson County Commissioners meeting and was disappointed to not see a single woman or Democrat on the board. For such a purple county as ours, this is all too common. The good news is that we have two JCDW members running for seats on the board, and many other members running for seats across the county.

But you don’t have to run for office to make a difference! We need people at every level of engagement with JCDW, with the Democratic party, and in our community to move the ball forward in Kansas. Whether you run for office, or you just come to meet people and learn about the important issues of the day, we need you. We are here to listen, engage and inform, and I look forward to hearing from you about how we can do that best.

Thanks for being a part of this wonderful group!

Anne Pritchett

President, JCDW North



My first year as President of the newly formed JCDW South group has been a mixture of amazement and frustration. Although I’ve at times been heartbroken by many things that have happened over the past year, as have you all, I’m also extraordinarily hopeful at all the gains Democrats have made and are making, particularly at the local level in Johnson County.

As president, I’ve met so many amazing people involved at the local level who have inspired me to keep fighting for our shared vision for our community. Every single one of our State House Districts has Democrats running with 3 unopposed! Across the state, we have 24 seats unopposed. This is incredibly exciting, and as I’ve been saying since November of 2016, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE. Remind your friends, neighbors, and relatives to vote.

I’ve loved making so many new friends, hanging out with you at all our great fundraisers and events. JCDW South is grateful, honored, and excited to report that we now have 65 members. Look for more great fundraisers ahead, including our second annual Halloween Party and movies at Glenwood Arts Theater.

THANK YOU for trusting us and supporting all our great candidates.

Becca Steffens-Peck

President, JCDW South


August Speakers

*JCDW North meets the first Thursday of each month at Lucky Brewgrille in Mission.

Come meet Catalina! Our next amazing speaker at the JCDW North monthly meeting, August 2nd.

Catalina Velarde is an immigration attorney in Kansas City. She represents children, adults, and families in their immigration cases; those seeking asylum or other relief from removal in proceedings before the Executive Office of Immigration Review – part of the Department of Justice; and clients filing family or humanitarian petitions before the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Beyond her work, Ms. Velarde is an activist and educator who can often be seen in the community as a volunteer speaker educating Spanish-speaking community groups. The remainder of her time is spent with her beloved schnauzers and Daniel.





*JCDW South meets the third Thursday of each month at the Golden Corale Restaurant in Olathe.

Chris Reeves, the Kansas National Committeeman, will be speaking at the August 16th JCDW South meeting on all the exciting updates from the latest DNC meeting. Join us!


Chris is a technology consultant and a political junky. A member of the Democratic National Committee, representing his home state of Kansas, he has also served on the Rules Committee at the DNC 2016 convention. Chris was moderator of the Netroots Nation panel “Local Stepping Stones: Electing People of Color, LGBT Leaders and Progressive Women at the State and Local Levels” in 2016. He is the father of a special needs child and an advocate for autism awareness.






August Elections


It’s GO TIME! You may have already heard that the primary is August 7th, but don’t let that keep you from the polls, now through election night. All the cool people are voting early, and paper ballots are available upon request, too. Go HERE to get the skinny on early voting locations and HERE to see our list of fabulous Democratss running in Johnson County, Kansas.







Democratic candidates in Johnson County and the Kansas Third Congressional District are hosting watch parties all over town. We’ve complied a list of all the parties in the area HERE. Don’t miss out on the fun!







Watch for New Stuff

Membership chair for JCDW South, Connie Taylor, has been hard at work the past couple of months, getting us ready to transfer to our new membership management platform, Member Planet, on August 1st. What this means for you is that we just made it much easier and more secure to join or donate to either the North, South (or both) groups online, as well as giving you the ability to manage your own member profile. See the new and improved join/renew/donate page on our website HERE. For questions about your membership, contact Connie Taylor (South) or Joyce Hughes (North). Go HERE to contact us through the website. Thank you for your patience and support!

Summer in Review

The Flip it Blue Barbecue fundraiser held in July and hosted by JCDW South was not only a great time but also a great success! All money raised goes directly to Democratic candidates in Johnson County. Thank you to all those who helped make this possible by helping out or just showing up to have a good time. Our party-thrower extraordinaire and vice-president of JCDW South, Meg Schimmels, really knows how to turn the green into blue. Thanks, Meg!

To see the full photo gallery from the event, go HERE.





Kansas Federation of Democratic Women

Several members from JCDW attended the KFDW annual meeting in June, held in Topeka this year. Members heard from 4 of our 5 candidates for governor and strategized about helping our Democratic candidates win in November. Our speaker this year was the amazing Yasmine Taeb, the Legislative Director for Human Rights and Civil Liberties for the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

The 2019 meeting will be hosting by the Kansas 3rd District women, so stay tuned for details on how you can help make that event amazing!