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Women for Kansas Barton County takes on voter registration
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With state and local primary elections on the horizon, Women for Kansas Barton County (W4K), decided during their June 24 meeting to encourage voter registration.
Members voted to participate in Ellinwood’s After Harvest Festival parade, handing out information about W4K, voter registration and of course candy. Voter registration deadlines are July 17 for the primary and Oct. 16 for the general elections.
Voter registration informational cards will include online registration using the federal voter registration form, since there are legal issues with the Secretary of State’s registration website. Also, on primary day, unaffiliated/independent voters may declare a party at the polling place by simply signing a card declaring the party.
Participation in Hoisington’s Labor Day parade and Great Bend’s Party in the Park were also discussed, along with voter registration activities at Barton Community College after the start of classes.
The group also agreed to offer assistance with the League of Women Voters candidates’ forum and pursue inviting Annie McKay, KS Action for Children, and Davis Hammet, LoudLight founder, to speak at future meetings.
Members were reminded of future W4K Barton County Chapter Meetings – all at 2 p.m. unless otherwise noted: July 15 at KWEC; Aug. 19 at Episcopal Church; Sept. 16 at KWEC; Oct. 21 at Episcopal Church; Nov. 18 at KWEC; and the Women for Kansas State Convention, Aug. 31 and Sept. 1
The formal meeting was adjourned to view the documentary, “Merchants of Doubt” based on the book of the same name, by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. Director Robert Kenner used a professional magician to explore the analogy between public relations and the methods used by magicians to distract audiences. Delving into the battle between tobacco companies and doctors, Kenner followed how tobacco company PR people introduced “doubt” into the science showing the link between tobacco products and cancer.
In the same vein, tobacco companies also fought to retain fire retardants, even after medical research proved the link between the retardant chemicals and cancer. One doctor, who testified during congressional and legal battles in support of the retardants, used stories about babies badly burned after mothers had left a candle burning in the cribs. His stories were graphic and helped continue the use of the retardants. A science historian, however, began wondering what kind of mother would leave a burning candle in a crib and she also wondered what had happened to the babies. After searching for the babies in the hospital records where the doctor worked she could find NO record of any burned babies. When confronted, he admitted he’d made it all up.
The documentary then shifted to climate change, beginning with the alarms sounded in the 1980s by scientists. At first, both government and the public were on board with believing the science and began looking at changes. The tide began to turn when two scientists, physicists, began testifying against the science. Exxon and other oil companies began a PR campaign to discredit climate scientists, even releasing scientists’ names, phone numbers and addresses, subjecting them to death threats. The documentary ended with the science historian, stating eventually science “won” the tobacco war but it took 50 years.
“We don’t have 50 years” to win the battle on climate change,” she said.