This LWV Hingham article about the "Women's March" appeared in the Hingham Journal and was written by member Eileen McIntyre.
The “Women’s March” in November awakened for many a resolve to become involved at the state and local level in a range of policy issues. For some, participation accompanied a desire to come together across party lines to find common ground. As reported February 9th in the Washington Post, these trends are leading to growth for an almost 100-year-old national organization with deep roots in Massachusetts, the League of Women Voters.
With a foundation in the women’s suffrage movement of the early 20th century, the League of Women Voters was formally organized in February of 1920, six months before the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. Carrie Chapman Catt, a leader of the suffragette movement, had proposed the creation of the League “not to lure women from partisanship but to combine them in an effort for legislation which will protect coming movements, which we cannot even foretell…” Three months after the national LWV was founded, the Massachusetts League was founded and began studying issues and acting to influence legislation. The League of Women Voters of Hingham began in 1933.
Today, our local LWV includes male and female members residing in Hingham, Hull, Weymouth and Cohasset. Local members can get directly involved with the LWV-MA’s Legislative and Advocacy Agenda. For 2017, 16 issue areas have been identified for non-partisan advocacy by the state League, including criminal justice; health care; transportation infrastructure; the environment; and gender equality in wages and other areas. Involvement can be as simple as showing up. As a relatively new League member last January, I decided to attend a committee hearing at the State House where bills related to election reform were being discussed. I was delighted when I was invited by the LWV-MA leaders there to add my own informal statement as part of League testimony at the hearing.
Diane Morrison of Hingham, who joined the local League chapter early this year, says she was drawn to the organization because “it provides an opportunity…to study issues in depth.” Diane participated recently in the League’s state-wide consensus process on issues related to charter schools in Massachusetts. Long-time League member Kathy Reardon of Hingham, who with her husband Bill is a past Hingham Citizen of the Year honoree, began her involvement in Hingham town affairs through her participation in the LWV. As she assumed public service and philanthropic leadership roles over the years, Kathy notes that she was often “guided by the League’s objective and analytical methods” as well as “the community of educated and engaged voters, many of whom have been LWV members.”
The League of Women Voters of Hingham’s mission includes educating members on town, state, and national public policy and governance issues and facilitating events at which members can meet with elected and appointed officials. The League sponsors local events, such as the Hingham Town Meeting Warrant Review that took place February 15th (video replay at LWV-Hingham website, link posted under “Town Meeting”). Last fall the Hingham League’s educational outreach included a multi-week Hingham Journal column bringing clarity to a confusing state primary ballot and later providing helpful background on the November ballot questions.
Democracy, it has been said, is not a spectator sport. The League of Women Voters of Hingham welcomes all to get on the field!
Contact us about attending our March member event, The LWV-Hingham “State of the State” meeting with our state legislators—always a great opportunity to meet other involved citizens.