|Vietnam Veterans of America|
|2021 Convention Committee Reports, , January/February 2021|
BY LESLIE DeLONG, CHAIR
You may now submit proposed Constitutional amendments for VVA’s twentieth National Convention. Any VVA member, chapter, or state council can submit a proposal for a Constitutional amendment.
Constitutional amendments may be submitted electronically using the online form on the VVA website under “Info for Members” (https://vva.org/constitutional-amendment/) 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 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 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
VVA will elect all its National Officers and Board members during its twentieth National Convention. The Elections Committee welcomes those who would like to join the organization’s national leadership. The committee encourages all those considering running for office in 2021 to think about whether they are willing to take on the responsibilities of an Officer or a Board member and represent the membership of VVA.
Sending in a Letter of Intent allows you, as a candidate, to start campaigning and become known to VVA members, which this year could be crucial due to the issues that we face with COVID-19. The Letter of Intent also allows you to have your bio placed on the Convention web page that will be on the VVA website. This year, rather than appear in the print edition of The VVA Veteran, statements and photos will be uploaded to a special candidates section on the VVA Convention web page. The Candidate’s Packet contains detailed instructions on how to complete the process. If, at a later date, you decide against running for office, you can easily withdraw, following the instructions in the Candidate’s Packet.
POSITIONS OPEN FOR ELECTION
All National Officer and National Board positions are for terms of two years, beginning at the close of the 2021 National Convention through the close of the 2023 Convention.
Candidates for all positions must be members of VVA in good standing.
Candidates for National Officer positions must meet the requirements in the VVA National Constitution under Article I, Section 5, Paragraph A as revised, July 18, 2019:
“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 at which such candidate seeks election.”
Candidates for At-Large and Regional Board of Directors must meet the requirements 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 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 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.”
Candidates for Regional Board positions must reside within the region they wish to represent.
LETTER OF INTENT
Prospective candidates must submit letters of intent to the VVA Elections Committee no later than March 31, 2021. Each prospective candidate will need to include in the body of the Letter of Intent, or on a separate sheet of paper along with the letter, his or her name, current mailing address, home and work phone numbers, email address, and the position he or she is seeking. A prospective candidate may announce and run for only one position. We are going electronic, and the Elections Committee will send Candidate’s Packets to candidates by email (if desired). Please state your preference in your Letter of Intent.
The Elections Committee is accepting Letters of Intent at the following address: VVA Elections Committee, c/o Adolph Gardner, 7 Crum Road, Walkersville, MD 21793-8018.
All Letters of Intent must be postmarked on or before the March 31, 2021, deadline. They must be sent to the Elections Committee’s Walkersville, Maryland, address. Any Letter of Intent that does not meet the postmark requirement or is sent to any other address will be considered invalid and will not be accepted by the Elections Committee. Three other important documents are due on March 31, 2021: the Declaration of Candidacy, a copy of your DD-214, and a signed SF-180. Exceptions are noted in the Candidate’s Packet.
Running From the Floor: Those who plan to run for an elected position 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 these rules will result in disqualification.
Incumbent Officers and Board Members: Please 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 policy applies directly to your travel and budget expenditures.
The Elections Committee will send Candidate’s Packets to those who submit Letters of Intent. To avoid possible loss or destruction of mailed packets, they will be sent via Certified Mail-Return Receipt Requested. Those who choose to have the packets emailed will receive them shortly after the committee receives the Letters of Intent. Emailed Candidate’s Packets will come in a PDF format and are fillable and printable. Fill in and print each form individually, and you must sign the necessary forms. Committee member Adolph Gardner is the contact person regarding Candidate’s Packets. His phone number is 301-845-4296.
These packets contain information, instructions, and rules regarding the conduct of the election process that are of vital importance to every candidate. Included in these packets are all the forms that candidates are required to complete and return to the Elections Committee.
Note: The Candidate’s Packet includes a Deadline Date Calendar that lists events and dates that are very important to each candidate’s campaign. Failure to meet any of the deadlines will be grounds for disqualification. The deadline dates this year have changed, so please pay special attention to them.
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 wearing a jacket, shirt, or hat with a VVA national, state council, or chapter logo or patch also is acceptable.
Candidates may not solicit or accept campaign contributions in any form from VVA or 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 email.
Candidates may not solicit or accept any campaign endorsement from VVA, any state council or chapter, or VVA newsletters, newspapers, or websites.
Candidates may solicit and accept campaign contributions and endorsements from any member of VVA, provided that the contributions and endorsements are not in violation of the 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, websites, or email for the purposes of writing letters of endorsement.
A candidate’s own website or email may be used to campaign, but the restrictions noted above remain in effect. More detailed instructions are in the Candidate’s Packet. Do not create a campaign website until you have read those instructions.
It is neither the wish nor intention of the VVA Elections Committee to embroil prospective candidates in unnecessary red tape in order for them to have their names on the 2021 VVA National Election Ballot. There are, however, certain steps that must be followed to keep the election process within the guidelines of the VVA National Constitution and to make it fair.
The rules, instructions, and requirements in this announcement—as well as those that will follow in the Candidate’s Packet—are simple and easy to read, understand, and follow. Therefore, the failure of a candidate to play by the rules or to meet the requirements of the VVA Constitution and Elections Committees will cause that candidate to be disqualified and his or her name removed from the ballot.
The VVA Elections Committee welcomes members who are about to take part in a most important part of VVA: the election of its Officers and Board members. If you are unsure or don’t understand the instructions, don’t hesitate to contact the committee for help. The Elections Committee wishes all the candidates the best and please stay safe during these difficult times.
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, which is located at www.vva.org/convention-resolution 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.
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