|Vietnam Veterans of America|
|2021 Convention Committee Reports, November/December 2020|
BY LESLIE DeLONG, CHAIR
You may now submit proposed Constitutional amendments for next year’s VVA National Convention in Greensboro, N.C. Any VVA member, chapter, or state council can submit a proposal for a Constitutional amendment.
Constitutional amendments may be submitted electronically using this online form or may be mailed to the VVA national office using a printed copy of the form. Members may request a printed form by calling Sharon Hodge at 301-585-4000, ext. 111.
Forms not submitted online should be mailed to the national office at the address below, postmarked no later than March 31, 2021, at midnight, or faxed to 301-585-3180 no later than March 31, 2021, at midnight.
The deadline for submitting proposed Constitutional amendments is March 31, 2021 (“at least 120 days prior to the commencement of the National Convention,” per the VVA Constitution, Article IV, Section 5). No proposals will be accepted after midnight, March 31.
The Constitution Committee is scheduled to meet on April 23 during the National Board of Directors meeting in Silver Spring. During this session, the committee will review all proposed amendments and prepare its report to the membership. The committee’s report will be mailed to state councils and chapters and will be available on the VVA website no later than June 1, 2021.
The committee will hold an open hearing at the Convention before the amendments are presented to the delegates for action. We encourage everyone to attend this hearing to learn about the amendments and voice their opinions.
BY SCOTT DeARMAN, CHAIR
Vietnam Veterans of America will conduct its election of all National Officer and Board positions during the 20th National Convention to be held, August 10-14, 2021, in Greensboro, N.C.
Fellow veterans: The Elections Committee invites you to think about what your future role in the leadership of VVA may be. The committee encourages all those who are considering running for office in 2021 to think about and evaluate whether you are willing to take on the responsibilities of an Officer or Board member. Take time now to consult with your family, friends, and others whose opinions you value to determine if this is the next step you are willing to take in your involvement in VVA.
Remember: The election process begins January 1, 2021, when the committee starts accepting Letters of Intent. So be ready, be committed, and be sure. The future of VVA could be in your hands as a representative of the body of this organization. The Elections Committee welcomes all those who wish to be a part of the elections process and who aspire to be VVA leaders.
POSITIONS OPEN FOR ELECTION
All National Officer and Board positions are for terms of two years, beginning at the close of the 2021 National Convention, through the close of the 2023 National Convention.
Candidates for all positions open for election must be individual members of VVA in good standing.
Candidates for National Officer positions must meet the requirements to hold office as set forth in the VVA National Constitution under Article I, Section 5, Paragraph A, as revised July 18, 2019.
To wit: “To qualify for election… to any of these offices a candidate must have been an individual member of the Corporation, in good standing, (1) for a continuous period of not less than twelve months immediately preceding the opening of the National Convention at which such candidate seeks election;… and (2) such candidate must have held a position as an officer or board member at the national level or as an officer at the state council or chapter level, during any continuous period of twelve months prior to the date of the opening of the National Convention.”
Candidates for At-large and Regional Board of Directors must meet the requirements to hold office as set forth in the VVA National Constitution, Article I, Section 4, Paragraph B (1 and 2) for Regional Directors, and Article I, Section 4, Paragraph B (1 and 3) for At-large Directors as revised July 18, 2019.
To wit: “To qualify for election, a candidate must have been a member of the Corporation, in good standing, for a continuous period of not less than the twelve months immediately preceding the opening of the National Convention at which the candidate seeks election…. The candidate must have held an elected position at the national, state, or chapter level for any continuous period of twelve months prior to the date of the opening of the National Convention.”
In addition, candidates for Regional Board positions must reside within the region they wish to represent.
The time period this election announcement covers is January 1 to March 31, 2021, which allows a 90-day window during which to submit Letters of Intent. March 31, 2021, is the last day you can submit a Letter of Intent.
LETTER OF INTENT
Prospective candidates must submit a Letter of Intent to the VVA Elections Committee postmarked no later than March 31, 2021. Starting with this election cycle, those considering running for office will need to include telephone numbers, email addresses, and physical mailing addresses in the body of the Letter of Intent or on a separate sheet of paper. Prospective candidates also must include the position they seek. A prospective candidate may run for only one position. The Elections Committee will send the Candidate’s Packet by email unless otherwise requested by the candidate.
The Elections Committee will begin accepting Letters of Intent on January 1, 2021, at the following address (please do not send before this date): VVA ELECTIONS COMMITTEE, c/o Adolph Gardner, 7 Crum Road, Walkersville, MD 21793-8018 Any Letter of Intent that does not meet the March 31 postmark requirement or is sent to any other address will be considered invalid and will not be accepted by the Elections Committee.
The Elections Committee encourages everyone considering running for office to send in a Letter of Intent. This elections year is filled with many unknowns, such as how you get your name out there and how you meet with groups (chapters and state councils) to explain your platform, just to name a couple. COVID-19 has created a whole new set of problems. Don’t get behind the curve; become a known candidate sooner than later. The more time you have to become known as a candidate, the more recognized you will be at the Convention. If you decide not to run after sending in your Letter of Intent, you may simply submit a signed and witnessed letter stating that you are withdrawing. It’s that simple.
RUNNING FROM THE FLOOR
After the March 31 deadline passes, potential candidates intending to run from the floor cannot announce their intent to run for office either publicly or privately, cannot campaign in any way or distribute any campaign materials, including on the Internet, and cannot accept any contributions prior to being approved as a candidate by the Elections Committee at the Convention. Any violation of this rule will result in disqualification from the election process.
Incumbent Officers and Board members should refer to the VVA Board Policies Reference Guide, under Strategic Documents, Travel Policy, Additional Criteria, page 64: H(2)(a-b). Once you have announced your candidacy, this VVA Board policy applies to your travel and budget expenditures.
Once the Elections Committee has received a candidate’s Letter of Intent, the Candidate Packet will be emailed, unless you requested it be sent by the U.S. Postal Service. These packets contain important information, instructions, and rules regarding the conduct of the election process that are of vital importance to every candidate. Included in these packets will be all necessary forms. Candidates are required to complete the forms and return them to the Elections Committee.
Please remember to let the committee know if you need the Candidate Packet sent to you by U.S. mail instead of email. When the packet is sent by email, it will be in a PDF format and the forms will be fillable and printable, with the exception of the signature block. We also will request a delivery receipt and read receipt for our records to ensure that candidates have received the packet.
All forms must be sent back to the committee by U.S. mail (return receipt requested) since we require the candidate’s signature on all documents. For candidates requesting that physical packets be mailed, they will be sent via Certified Mail-Return Receipt Requested to ensure proper delivery. Questions should be directed to Adolph Gardner at 301-845-4296 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE: The Candidate Packet will include a Deadline Calendar that lists events and dates that are very important to each candidate’s campaign for office. Failure to meet any of the deadlines will be grounds for disqualification. Please pay special attention to the deadlines this year, as they are different from past election years.
CONDUCT OF CAMPAIGNS
Candidates may use the national flag of the United States, the VVA national logo, and the VVA national flag on their campaign material. No VVA, state council, or chapter letterhead may be used. Campaign materials are considered to be (but are not limited to) buttons, pins, brochures, posters, pictures, emails, and websites. A photograph of a candidate wearing his or her VVA national, state council, or chapter lapel pin is acceptable. A photograph of a candidate who is wearing a jacket, shirt, or hat that has a VVA national, state council, or chapter logo or patch on it is also acceptable.
Candidates may not solicit or accept campaign contributions in any form from VVA or from any VVA state council or chapter. Campaign contributions are considered to be (but are not limited to) money, paper, envelopes, postage, free printing, free phone calls, use of websites, and use of emails.
Candidates may not solicit or accept any campaign endorsements from VVA, any VVA state council, chapter, or VVA newsletters, newspapers, web, or electronic mail sites.
Candidates may solicit and accept campaign contributions and endorsements from any member of VVA, provided that the contributions or endorsements are not in violation of rules and that any written endorsements are on the individual’s personal stationery. It is strictly prohibited for any person to use VVA national, state council, or chapter letterhead, website, or email for the purpose of writing letters of endorsement.
A candidate’s own website or email may be used to campaign, but the restrictions mentioned above remain in effect. The Candidate Packet has more detailed instructions on this. So we recommend that you wait until you get your packet before you start campaigning. However, should you choose to start using your website once we have received your Letter of Intent and prior to receiving your packet, you must send your campaign email address to Terry Nolan at email@example.com. His phone number is 602-618-5988
It is neither the wish nor the intent of the VVA Elections Committee to make it unnecessarily difficult to run in the 2021 VVA National Elections. There are, however, certain steps that must be followed by all candidates, including those who may wish to run from the floor, in order to keep the election process within the guidelines of the VVA National Constitution and to ensure a fair and respectful election.
Failure to abide by all rules, instructions, and requirements set forth in this announcement and the Candidate Packet will result in disqualification from the election.
The VVA Elections Committee welcomes those members willing to step forward and take part in one of the most important parts of VVA: the election of Officers and Board Members who will guide VVA and represent the members of VVA for the next two years.
The purpose of the Resolutions Committee is to fulfill Article I, National Provisions, Section 7, Committees, Paragraph A.4 of the VVA National Constitution:
“The Resolutions Committee shall report the resolutions to be addressed by the delegates assembled from among those submitted by the Chapters, State Councils, standing committees, membership, or other sources. Provided, however, that any such resolution shall be filed with the Resolutions Committee at least one-hundred twenty (120) days prior to the commencement of the National Convention at which resolutions are to be addressed.
“The Resolutions Committee shall review proposed resolutions received and shall, not less than sixty (60) days prior to the commencement of the National Convention, forward to the Chapters and State Councils copies of all proposed resolutions submitted to the Committee pursuant to this section, along with the Committee’s recommended action with regard to each proposed resolution. Resolutions not reported by the Resolutions Committee may be brought to the floor for debate and action upon the motion of any delegate and concurrence by a majority of the delegates.”
WHAT’S A VVA RESOLUTION?
A resolution is a formal expression of opinion, will, or intent voted into being at a National VVA Convention by the delegates to that Convention. It sets a goal or objective for one or more VVA National Committees. A resolution should be written in a very clear manner, so that the appropriate body may establish a specific plan for its implementation. Some resolutions require several committees and national staff working together to achieve the desired result and may be an ongoing process over a long period of time.
Writing a Proposed Resolution
The top section of the VVA Proposed Convention Resolution Form asks for basic information. All blanks that apply should be filled in and any blank that does not apply should have “N/A” (not applicable) inserted.
The lower section applies directly to the resolution. If you know the National Committee that your resolution applies to, place an “X” by the appropriate committee.
The ISSUE section should contain the title and issue you would like to address. For example: “More than 100,000 Americans who served in the armed forces during World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, and Desert Storm are still listed as Missing In Action.”
The BACKGROUND section should contain a description or overview of what VVA’s past involvement has been, if any, on this issue and the reason for the resolution. One example: “This nation is deeply indebted to its veterans for their courage and sacrifice and should demonstrate its dedication to those missing and to their families for the fullest possible accounting of those still missing.”
The PROPOSED POSITION section should contain a statement of VVA’s commitment to the issue and how VVA should implement the resolution. For example: “Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., at the National Convention in Reno, Nevada, August 9 to August 13, 2005, desires that Congress enact legislation that requires the continuous flying of the POW/MIA flag at all U.S. owned and operated national cemeteries.”
Proposed resolutions must be received or postmarked no later than March 31, 2021. The Resolutions Committee will mail a package of proposed resolutions with the appropriate committees’ recommended action for each proposed resolution to all state councils and chapters. The packages will go out no later than June 1 by first-class mail.
Proposed resolutions must be submitted to the National Resolutions Committee on the official resolution form. Forms should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, faxed to 301-585-3180, or mailed or delivered to:
Only proposed resolutions submitted on the official resolution form will be accepted.
SUPPORTING YOUR RESOLUTION
To improve the chance of a resolution’s approval and acceptance, the author should get the support of a chapter or chapters, then take the chapter-supported resolution to the appropriate state council for its endorsement. Present the proposed resolution clearly and concisely.
Once the resolution has the endorsement of the state council, other chapters throughout the state should be contacted. The more support you can gain for your resolution, the greater the possibility it will be accepted and reported out by a national committee.
A state council should gain the support of the chapters in its state and solicit the support of other state councils. This may be accomplished by contacting other state councils or presenting the resolution to the Conference of State Council Presidents. It is also advisable to request that the CSCP Resolutions Committee include your state’s resolution with other resolutions receiving the endorsement of the State Council Presidents.
AFTER YOUR RESOLUTION IS RECEIVED
Your proposed resolution will be date-stamped to establish that it was received by the deadline date. Resolutions received after the deadline date will be rejected.
The resolution form will be checked to make sure the following items have been completed: date, name and address of the writer, telephone number, and email address (if applicable). The committee also will check the resolution for information including the committee responsible for the resolution (if known), issue, background, and proposed position.
Proposed resolutions will be carefully reviewed within seven to ten days after receipt by the Resolutions Committee. If a resolution form is found to be complete, it will be assigned to the committee responsible for its oversight and assigned a number. An acknowledgement letter will be mailed to the resolution’s author. All future correspondence should reference the proposed resolution by its title and number.
Any resolution that is not completed properly will be returned by certified mail, return receipt requested. You will have until the deadline date of March 31, 2021, to return a properly completed resolution form. No submissions will be accepted after that date.
All proposed resolutions will be compiled and submitted to the relevant committees at the April 2021 Board of Directors meeting for review and comments.
At the National Convention, committee hearings will be held following the Opening Ceremonies. During these hearings, committees and delegates will review the resolutions prior to their being presented to the delegates on the Convention floor. Any subsequent revisions to the resolutions will be printed on color-coded paper for distribution to the delegates.
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