League of Women Voters®
of Lexington, KY


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  • 04 Mar 2018 7:21 PM | Tammy Fagley (Administrator)

    Below you will find the winning essay from the 2017 League high school essay contest.  Enjoy:

    Searching for Real News

    In mid-November, the controversy erupted.  First one, then two, then six women accused Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct — including sexual assault of teenage girls.  Given the political climate, media sources’ viewpoints depended on partisan leanings.  Liberal media outlets took the accusers’ claims seriously; sources that are more conservative tended to accept the claims; however, the Moore campaign and ultra-conservative media sources vehemently denied everything.  Which sources are telling the truth?

    The facts suggest that Moore’s denials are untrue; the preponderance of accusers implies that his actions were a habit.  The stories of his misconduct are also consistent over time: In the 1980s, a mall banned Moore because it knew about his behavior.  Besides, the media put effort into verifying the allegations.  Around the same time as the news first broke, another woman approached The Washington Post, claiming to have been molested by Moore.  Nevertheless, when the Post investigated her claims, they found inconsistencies.  Eventually, reporters found out that she belonged to an anti-mainstream-media organization attempting to execute a sting operation.  To me, this event disproves the Moore campaign's claims that the Post was creating fake news.  If the newspaper were only interested in attacking the Moore campaign, it would have published the false allegations in a heartbeat.

    Citizens usually lack time to conduct a thorough investigation, illustrated above.  As a general rule of thumb, mainstream news sources tend to be more trustworthy.  They have more resources than fringe platforms, enabling more thorough fact checking.  By definition, mainstream sources must appeal to a wide swath of Americans, so they tend to hold more moderate viewpoints.  Ideology is more likely to cloud the judgment of sources that lack a large reader base.  However, television channels don't have this luxury, as the public expects the to report on events in real time.  Not only do they have less time to check facts, but media sources such as Fox and CNN must deliver new news constantly.  As a result, they may stretch the facts by constantly trying to find another attractive angle.

    For these reasons, I avoid televised news.  Instead, I read the New York Times and listen to NPR.  I trust NPR — which receives government funding, which suggests that it is moderate — to be objective.  For instance, it covered the sexual harassment scandals surrounding both Moore and Democratic senator Al Franken.  Of course, NPR has a reputation as liberal, so fewer Republicans choose to be interviewed by it than Democrats (as I have noticed), creating a more left-wing impression.  This feedback loop could potentially create an echo chamber in the future, but not now.  I rely on the Pulitzer-Prize-winning New York Times to provide insightful investigative reporting, but I realize that the editorial board skews liberal.  From time to time, I watch late-night talk shows, such as Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show.  I would like to think that I can laugh at how these shows mock the news without absorbing their political biases.  But in reality, these shows are pulling me leftwards.  Still, as nearly none of my news comes from the Internet, I don’t believe that I am exposed to fake news.

    But no one thinks that their news is fake news.  However, the amount of contradictory news on the Internet suggests that a significant fraction of Americans are receiving falsehoods but believe that the other side is lying.  Unlike the rest of the party, Alabama Republicans have generally not condemned Moore; they seem to be operating with a different set of facts than the National GOP leadership.  How can anyone be sure that his or her news is real?

    It’s not easy.  In fact, if citizens cannot accept that reality may contradict their cherished beliefs, they will not be able to distinguish fake news from real.  However, for those of us who can doubt ourselves, we must examine our sources.  Do they consistently attack one party or group?  Do the opinions of the editorial board seep over into the newspaper’s reporting?  Have newscasters ever warped the truth, contrary to the Society of Professional Journalists’ guidelines?  Does the source identify conservatives as conservatives but not identify liberals as liberal, or vice versa?  If you can answer yes to any of those questions, dig deeper.  Choose a controversial issue and evaluate how your sources treat the issue.  Does their information come from reporting based on multiple, credible sources or a political party’s talking points?  Is the source ignoring certain viewpoints on this issue?  A source that survives these tests is credible — for now.  As political realities change, so do the viewpoints of organizations.

    Is this balancing act ideal for a democracy?  Has the First Amendment gone too far in protecting the right to publish falsehoods?  In theory, a government that wanted to ensure that its citizens remained informed could tighten restrictions on free speech.  However, such actions lead to a slippery slope.  A political party in power would be sorely tempted to regulate opposition friendly media out of existence.  The Adams administration used the Alien and Sedition Acts to imprison Democratic-Republicans (that is, anti-Adams) editors.  Perhaps Congress could fund a nonpartisan organization that exposes lies — such as Politifact or Snopes.  Still, the government should not do our thinking for us; otherwise, we risk becoming an Orwellian society where truth loses meaning.  The people can and should take responsibility for finding the truth.  The truth is out there — and we should settle for nothing less from the fourth estate and from our elected public officials in American government.

  • 10 Feb 2018 12:54 PM | Tammy Fagley (Administrator)

    Wednesday, February 14, 2018

    1:00 p.m.

    Capitol Annex Room 125



    The League has prepared a report on redistricting to highlight concerns about redistricting in the state. Experiences with gerrymandering in Wisconsin, Maryland and North Carolina resulting in lawsuits, as well as the 2012 court challenge in Kentucky requiring a special session to corrective action, are cause for concern about future efforts in the Commonwealth. Members of the redistricting committee and board including president Wanda Lynch and author of the report, Susan Perkins Weston, will release the report and discuss goals for improving the process in the Commonwealth.

  • 13 Nov 2017 11:14 AM | Tammy Fagley (Administrator)

    Unable to go to our Nov. 4th forum about higher education? Then, click on on these links to watch a video of the forum. It is is in 3 parts. 
    Part 1: https://youtu.be/YX8lR5Fe3vI 

    Part 2: https://youtu.be/yp9ZF8l_sHE
    Part 3: https://youtu.be/hD5pHr0Y5EE

  • 24 Oct 2017 9:49 AM | Tammy Fagley (Administrator)

    The League of Women Voters of Lexington will examine college and postsecondary education access and affordability barriers for Kentuckians on Saturday, November 4, 2017 from 10:00 a.m. until noon at the Bluegrass Community and Technical College: Newtown Campus (Newtown and Fourth Street), Classroom 107.


    The Student Voice team of the Prichard Committee will present their research findings. This group of students has done research, interviewed students across the state, and assembled a wealth of information to share and has recently released a new book, Ready or NotStories from Students Behind the Statistics.

    The panel will also include Perry Papka, policy analyst at the Prichard Committee with a focus on postsecondary education, and Erin Klarer, Vice President for Government Relations at the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority.

  • 22 Oct 2017 3:00 PM | Tammy Fagley (Administrator)

    The League of Women Voters of Lexington is sponsoring an essay contest for Fayette County high school students asking them to write an op-ed on the following:

    Given that the first amendment of our Constitution protects “the freedom of speech and of the press,” is there any way to avoid the influence of distorted or false reports?  In these contentious political times, how do you evaluate the information that comes your way?  What sources do you feel you can trust and why?

    The contest is open to any student in grades 9-12 who attends a Fayette County school. Private school and home-schooled students are eligible. The deadline for submission is Friday, December 8, 2017.   

    Monetary prizes of $250 for first place, $150 for second place and $100 for third place will be awarded in January.  There also will be a special recognition of ESL writing of $100. An honorarium will be awarded to the teacher/sponsors each of the winning writers. 

    Students and teachers can learn more about the contest by e-mailing Essay Contest Committee chair, Judy Johnson at lexington.lwvessaycontest@gmail.com.

    “We sponsor the Essay Contest to encourage high school students to think about our democratic process and to provide an avenue for students to express themselves in writing,” said Tammy Fagley, president of the Lexington League. 

    Judy Johnson, Essay Contest Chair


  • 18 Oct 2017 9:46 PM | Tammy Fagley (Administrator)

    Unfortunately, the League has to cancel the candidate training class that was scheduled for October 21.  We are very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

  • 07 Oct 2017 4:10 PM | Tammy Fagley (Administrator)

    Money in Politics To Be Examined at Oct. 19 Forum

     Money in Politics: Our Republic in Crisis is the subject of a public forum to be hosted by Together Frankfort and the New Kentucky Project at the Kentucky History Center on October 19 at 6:30 pm. Other sponsors include the Kentucky League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women-Kentucky.

    A panel of speakers will discuss corporate influence on American democracy from perspectives of both the left and the right.  Participants include:

    •Krystal Ball, author, founder of the People’s House Project, and former co-host of MSNBC talk show The Cycle;

    •Adam Edelen, former state auditor and co-founder of the New Kentucky Project;

    •Dr. Donald A. Gross, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Kentucky who, for over twenty years, focused his research on campaign finance reform; and

    •John Pudner, executive director of the conservative organization, Take Back Our Republic.

    Laura Cullen Glasscock, editor and publisher of The Kentucky Gazette and assistant professor of journalism at Kentucky State University, will moderate the evening’s discussion.

    A reception will follow the discussion. There is no charge for the event but donations are welcomed.

    Together Frankfort is a non-partisan, volunteer group seeking to increase civic engagement. New Kentucky Project, co-founded by former state auditor Adam Edelen and Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones, seeks to move Kentucky forward and modernize our state through identifying and promoting new ideas and new leaders.

    For more information about this event, contact Mary Lynn Collins, phone 502-319-5509; e-mail marylynn41@hotmail.com or Erik Jarboe, phone 502-545-3098, e-mail  erik@newkentuckyproject.comor on the web at www.togetherfrankfort.org/fall-forum.html.


    Together Frankfort Coordinators

    P.O. Box 870

    Frankfort, KY 40602

  • 24 Sep 2017 2:09 PM | Tammy Fagley (Administrator)

    Moderated Forum Discussing Redistricting and Gerrymandering in Kentucky.

    The question, are we are choosing our legislators or if they are choosing us, will be examined by a panel of legislators who have filed bills in past sessions to address some of the challenges of redistricting and who will discuss their perspectives on the issue. The focus will be on how to develop a redistricting process that is public and transparent and allows citizen input to enhance public confidence that elections allow full and fair participation by all. Also serving on the panel will be Susan Perkins Weston, League member, who is writing a report on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Kentucky and will discuss the findings of League’s committee on redistricting.

    When: Tuesday, October 3, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Open to the public.

    Where: Downtown Lexington Public Library’s Farish Theater, 140 E. Main Street 

    Parking for this event will be available on the street or in the attached garage.

    The meeting will also be available live on Facebook.


    Panel: Susan Perkins Weston

    Senator Albert Robinson, District 21 ( R )  (invited)

    Rep. James Kay, District 56 (D)

    Moderator: Cindy Heine

  • 06 Apr 2017 8:10 PM | Tammy Fagley (Administrator)

    League of Women Voters of Lexington, Kentucky

    2016-2017 President/League’s

    Annual Report

    The League of Women Voters of Lexington, KY members attended a naturalization ceremony and registered many new citizens.  (The courthouse has been under renovation so there have not been many ceremonies during this timeframe.)

    We held 4 candidate forums for the fall elections.  These forums included KY Supreme Court, school board and state representative candidate forums.  The forums were televised, published on YouTube and noted in the Lexington Herald Leader.  Several  more candidate forums were scheduled but one or more candidates cancelled so their forum could not be held.

    We updated and distributed blue sheets.

    We maintain a member on the Lexington Ethics Commission as well as the Community Action Council.

    We held a membership wine tasting event.  This gives current League members a chance to socialize and is also an opportunity to obtain new members.

    We participated in Vote411.org voter guide for local Lexington races. We plan to participate in Vote 411 next year but may not include the federal race candidate due to the high cost.

    We started a book club for League members which meets once a month on Tuesdays. Some of the books that have been read and discussed by the book club are Alexander Hamilton, LaFayette in the Somewhat United States, Give Us the Ballot, Believer: My Forty Years in Politics, Hillbilly Elegy, Never Enough, and Chester Alan Arthur.

    We worked with the local Girls Scouts Council to help the scouts with their Promise to Vote badge campaign.  We help the Girls Scouts obtain locations to have tables to get people to sign up and promise to vote.  We also helped them register voters.

    We joined the Kentucky Non-Profit Network and had a member attend their annual conference to obtain information helpful to non-profit organizations.  We also participated in their annual day of giving in May as a fundraiser.

    In November, we held an informational forum for members and the public about immigration.  Isabel Taylor, the Multicultural Affairs Coordinator in Lexington, spoke to the audience, answered questions, and led a lively discussion.

    In January we announced the winners of our annual high school student essay contest which takes place in the Fall of the year.  This year, students were asked to tell their stories as voters and potential voters who had just lived through a divisive election season.  Top honors and $250 went to Hanae Yoshida, a freshman, for “The Election 2016: Do You See What I See?” Sahar Mohammadzadeh was runner-up ($150), and Jons Theodore  Ehrenborg took third place ($100). Special recognition went to ELL student Samwele John of $100.  A $50 honorarium went to the teachers of these students.


    On March 15th the League hosted a group during the On the Table conversations.  Our group discussed food deserts, infill and growth as well as tolerance.  League members as well as non-League members attended our discussion group.

    We published nine Voter newsletters to keep our members informed about the issues and advised of the League’s activities. 

    We established a committee who will work on increasing voter participation in the upcoming election.

    We had members attend the League Lobby day at the Capital on February 7th to lobby the legislators regarding our positions.

    We developed a promotional video for our League that is on our website and social media.

    Respectfully Submitted,

    Tamara Fagley


    League of Women Voters of Lexington, KY

  • 07 Feb 2017 9:52 AM | Tammy Fagley (Administrator)

    President Tammy Fagley announced the Lexington League of Women Voters essay contest winners today.  First place with a prize of $250 went to Hanae Yoshida, a 9th grade student at Sayre Upper School. Second place and a prize of $150 went to Sahar Mohammadzadeh, an 11th grade student at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.  Third place with a prize of $100 went to Jons Theodore Ehrenborg, a 10th grade student at Henry Clay High School.  Samwele John, a 12th grade ELL (English Language Learner) student at Lafayette High School, won a special recognition award of $100.  This award honored the extra effort needed to address complex ideas in a second language.

    Honorariums of $50 each were awarded to recognize teachers cited by writers as mentors. These teachers are: George Bebensee at Sayre; Kristin Studle, counselor at Paul Laurence Dunbar; Scott Brown at Henry Clay; and Tim Mitsumori at Lafayette.

    This year students in public and private Fayette County High Schools were encouraged to submit essays responding to the divisive 2016 presidential election campaign.  Writers were asked to reflect on the experience and explain lessons learned from that experience.


    “The League sponsors this essay contest each year to encourage and support student interest in the democratic process,” said Fagley. “We want to encourage students to take responsibility as citizens, vote and, perhaps, run for public office one day.”


    Carol O’Reilly, who made the presentations, commended the students on their thoughtful reflections and excellent writing skills.  “I was so honored just to read their work,” she said.

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