Chesapeake: The Sierra Club Maryland Chapter Newsletter
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Statements from candidates David O’Leary, Brigitte Fortin, and Betsy Johnson

David O’Leary

I am running for re-election as a member of the chapter executive committee and would appreciate your vote.  I have served as an at-large member of the chapter executive Committee for the past two years, including service as the chapter conservation chair from April, 2008 to the present, and vice-chair throughout 2009.  Since moving to Maryland in the fall of 2005, my involvement in chapter activities includes service as the Cool Cities Campaign Chair from the spring of 2006 through spring of 2008, advocating for chapter positions in Annapolis and on Capitol Hill, and helping to form our current legislative committee.  I am  also a member of the chapter’s Staff Oversight Committee. 

Prior to moving to Maryland in the fall of 2005, I was active with the New Jersey Chapter, serving as a group conservation chair and group outings chair.

A few of the items I would like to continue working on during the 2010-2011 term include further  outreach and support of the local groups, continuing to improve our processes for identifying and prioritizing campaigns and writing campaign plans, increasing the chapter’s  presence in Annapolis and on Capitol Hill, and strengthening our fundraising programs. 

I would appreciate your vote.  Please feel free to contact me on 301-580-8673 or at                  n



Brigitte Fortin

I am running for the position of at-large member of the executive  mommittee of the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club. In my four years with the club, I’ve run a habitat restoration project  in my hometown; assisted with a surprisingly successful rain-barrel campaign for the Howard County Group; completed a  Masters in Environmental Studies; began an Earth Intimacy group with Dr. Stuart Miller, professor emeritus of Towson  University; and advocated for the environment at public hearings and through educational programs.  I’m happy with what I’ve  done, but can do much more. 

Furthermore, I’m not strictly an environmentalist.  What I believe is  that all issues are interconnected.  The healing of the planet can no longer be separated from healing ourselves.  We must  strengthen our ability to work together in order to make the massive changes that we must make in order to turn back the tide and  bring the temperature down.  Environmentalism was once only concerned with plants, animals and the land, but now it cannot be  separated from human communities and our own future.   This is a good thing.  I believe that by helping people make spiritual  connections with nature, we can heal the earth and each other and trigger an evolution of human consciousness that moves us to another  level.  In some circles this interconnection between personal healing, community well-being and planetary health is known as  Integrated Environmentalism.  I believe the time has come for us to implement and practice this kind of environmentalism in the Sierra Club.   Through creating Earth Intimacy Groups, we can work with our grassroots members in deeper ways, developing greater inspiration  for action, and drawing larger numbers into the good work we do.   Earth Intimacy Groups may take the form of book clubs that discuss great  nature writers, such as Thomas Berry, John Muir, Joanna Macy and others; outings that help members understand their  more-than-physical connections to nature; political actions that combine their message with compelling personal stories; and new ways of framing  messages that emphasize our interdependent relationship with nature. 

Action without inspiration soon grows weary; however, inspiration without  action is not enough.  Let us work to bring these forces into balance; let me help in whatever way I can.                             n




Betsy Johnson

I have served in a number of leadership positions since I became active in the Chapter in 1997.  These include Montgomery Group Chair for three years, Montgomery Political Chair for three election cycles, Chapter Chair for three  years, Chapter Political Chair for three  years.   I’ve also been actively involved in fundraising for the Chapter, lobbying the legislature for Chapter priority legislation, and working on various conservation efforts including the anti-ICC campaign and other smart growth and transportation initiatives. 

We are coming into a state-wide election year when we will be participating in elections of state and local officials all across Maryland.  Creating a strong, visible political presence for the Maryland Chapter across the state will be my top priority during this year.  We will be issuing candidate endorsements, raising money for our Political Action Committee, and working on priority races at the state and local level.  And, if you would like to join this effort, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

If elected, I promise time-tested reliability: if I say I will do something, I will do it. I am committed to the Maryland Chapter and have enjoyed working with members at all levels over the years, from co-chairs and committee members to volunteers during lobby days. I am a team player and, with your vote, I hope to continue serving the members of the Maryland Chapter on its Executive Committee.  Thank you.                      n



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