An Interview with Dr. Jeri Cabot, LWVCA Vice-President of Citizen Engagement
Dr. Jeri Cabot is a native Californian. Her formative years were spent in that glob of an area called
Orange County. Then she ventured a few miles down the freeway to attend college at the University of
California at San Diego (UCSD). Dr. Cabot found political science with an emphasis on American politics
while at UCSD. She remembered loving Cal’s late presidential primary because it appeared that
California often put a candidate over the finish line. Cabot moved east to continue down the path of an
academic career and received two advanced degrees at Duke University. She did take a detour during
her academic studies and returned briefly to Cal to work on political campaigns. Jeri retired recently
from the College of Charleston after 30 plus years of contributing to student success.
Cabot’s mother was active in a League chapter nested in the new suburbs of Orange County. She
hosted meetings in her home and often invited candidates to kiss the babies off to bed; there were five
siblings in Jeri’s family. Her mother stopped out of the League to campaign for Shirley Chisholm for
president in 1968 and returned after Ms. Chisholm’s defeat in the primaries. Cabot is committed to
working to maintain and protect voter rights and doing whatever it takes to undo the damages of the
practice of gerrymandering. The hallowing out of the two major political parties in the US and
gerrymandering have so harmed the US Congress, that the institution may never recover. Organizations
like the League believe that the work of many citizens around voting, and voter rights can repair the
harm. Jeri believes that too.
Jeri’s role within the Charleston League is serving as the Vice President for Citizen Engagement. It is a
very active role because this VP assists three dominant areas of any League’s work: voter registration,
candidate forums and VOTE411. The directors of these areas build within the frameworks provided by
the US League to provide more registration opportunities and voter education. Additionally, this VP
position collaborates with the person overseeing good government and ethics. This critical area is all
about accountability and building up citizen awareness of governmental protocols. She remarked that she is following in the footsteps of a member who accomplished so much in this role, so keeping up with the expectations she set is a challenge.
Dr. Cabot’s most meaningful League experience was when she volunteered to do a presentation on
what to consider when thinking about running for office. She thought hard about targeting the
presentation to the typical woman sitting at home and saying to herself, “why doesn’t XX happen and
what I can do to make XX better for my family and other families.” Cabot enjoyed delivering the
information to the hearty souls in the zoom audience. She hopes a few will decide to run after learning
how to navigate the regulations and how to focus their energy.
Jeri ended with a plea to participate in the candidate forums that are being shaped this election season.
Volunteer to assist in a role like timekeeper or moderator. Local elections are critical to the general
welfare of our communities. There are a handful of members working very hard to bring candidate
forums and information about each candidate to local communities. “Let us all help them,” she