History of the League

History of the League

The League of Women Voters of the United States

In her address to the National American Woman Suffrage Association's (NAWSA) 50th convention in St. Louis, Missouri, President Carrie Chapman Catt proposed the creation of a "league of women voters to finish the fight and aid in the reconstruction of the nation." Women Voters was formed within the NAWSA, composed of the organizations in the states where suffrage had already been attained. The next year, on February 14, 1920 - six months before the 19th amendment to the Constitution was ratified - the League was formally organized in Chicago as the national League of Women Voters. Catt described the purpose of the new organization:Carrie Chapman Capp

The League of Women Voters is not to dissolve any present organization but to unite all existing organizations of women who believe in its principles. It is 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, from suffering the untoward conditions which have hindered for so long the coming of equal suffrage. Are the women of the United States big enough to see their opportunity?

See the History section of the League of Women Voters of the US website.

The League of Women Voters of Los Alamos

Los Alamos formed a provisional League in 1947, and its members registered voters for the first Town Council elections held in Los Alamos. It became a regular League in the following year. It was one of three local Leagues in existence at the time that the state League of Women Voters of New Mexico was formed in October 1949, and has continued ever since.

The following is a summary of more recent LWV activies from 2011 to present 

2011-2012 Barbara Calef, President (80 members)
Lunch with a Leader hosted Magistrate Judge Pat Casados; Acting County Administrator Randy Autio; Acting Community Development Director Steve Brugger; L.A. Monitor Editor John Severance; State Representative Jim Hall; Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott; Director of Capital Projects and Facilities Anne Laurent; County Administrator Harry Burgess; Water and Energy Conservation Coordinator Christine Chavez; Tom Nagawiecki, LAC Environmental Services Specialist; Department of Public Utilities Director John Arrowsmith; local business owner Don Taylor and Chamber of Commerce Director Katy Korkos.

The LWVNM Convention was held in Los Alamos with a keynote speech on healthy communities by State Sen. Tim Keller.

Public meetings included a talk on alternative voting methods, participation in the Sustainability Town Hall, and the Legislative Preview with Rep. Jim Hall, Sen. Carlos Cisneros, Sen. Phil Griego, and Deputy County Clerk Sheryl Nichols.

The Land Use and Transportation Study Committee met monthly under the leadership of Janie O'Rourke. Following a consensus meeting, the committee composed the Environment position, which was subsequently adopted during the Annual Meeting.

2012-2013 Barbara Calef, President (70 members)
Lunch with a Leader hosted Los Alamos Daily Post publisher/editor Carol Clark; County Clerk Janet Foster; County Attorney Becky Ehler; Bureau of Elections Manager Gloria Maestas; Greg Fisher, the Los Alamos Economic Vitality Administrator; Police Chief Wayne Torpy; Tom Nagawiecki, LA Environmental Services Specialist; Sandra West, Outreach Coordinator at the LA Co-op; Tom Ribe, Executive Director, Caldera Action; Steven Thomas, Library Manager; Gary Leikness, Principal Planner, LA Community Development Department; and Steve Laurent, Assistant County Attorney for Santa Fe.

The League held four candidate forums: one for the primary, three for the general election and a forum on the school bond election. Other public meetings included a talk by Jack Richardson, the Project Manager for the County's San Juan-Chama Water Utilization Study, and a talk on redistricting by Michael Sharp, Vice-President at Research and Polling. At the annual Legislative Preview Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard and Senators Carlos Cisneros and Richard Martinez spoke as well as Dick Mason of Health Action New Mexico and Marcela Diaz of Somos Un Pueblo Unido.

Other activities included a consensus meeting for a state League position on the Public Regulation Commission; advocacy on renewable energy, land use and water issues, and reviewing the County brochure on Charter amendments.

2013-2014 Barbara Calef, President (72 members)
Lunch with a Leader hosted Assistant Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Gerry Washburn; members of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board; Self Help Director Ellen Morris Bond; LAC Social Services Manager Kim Gabaldon; Utilities Charter Review Committee Chair Susan O'Leary; Deputy Utility Manager Robert Westervelt; JJAB (Juvenile Justice Advisory Board) founder Judge Alan Kirk and Coordinators Ellen Ben-Naim and Sharon Marinuzzi; County Assessor JoAnn Johnson and Chief Deputy Assessor Joaquin Valdez; Don Machen, Environmental Sustainability Board, and Philo Shelton, Director of Public Works; and Richard Sayre, Director of the Biofuels Project at the New Mexico Consortium.

Other League activities included:

  • monitoring the meetings of the County Council;
  • advocacy on land use and water issues;
  • conducting a town hall meeting to inform the public about the UNMLA mil levy bond election;
  • Legislative Preview with Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, Senators Carlos Cisneros and Richard Martinez, Kristina Fisher of Think NM, and Los Alamos Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Gerry Washburn;
  • continuing the study of land use and transportation in Los Alamos: the consensus meeting on residential neighborhoods adopted a new position;
  • supporting the Los Alamos Ban the Bag campaign;
  • San Juan Chama project advocacy and monitoring;
  • LWVUS Membership and Leadership Development training;
  • Consensus meeting on alcohol abuse for NM position;
  • LWVUS agriculture study consensus meetings.

2014-2015 President Barbara Calef (70 members)
Lunch with a Leader hosted Anne Laurent, Director of the Division of Community and Economic Development; Probate Judge Chris Chandler; Police Chief Dino Sgambellone; Kurt Steinhaus, LANL Director of Community Programs; Angelica Gurule, Environmental Services Division Manager; Ellen Morris Bond, Executive Director of Self Help; Tarin Nix about raising the minimum wage in Los Alamos; Paul Andrus, Housing and Special Projects Manager.

Public meetings included

  • six candidate forums: one for the primary, four for the general election, one for the school board/UNMLA election;
  • Legislative Preview with Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard, Senator Carlos Cisneros, Representative Jim Smith, and Common Cause Director Vicki Harrison.

The League also

  • registered voters and reviewed the County mailer on Charter amendments;
  • published the 2014 Voter Guide;
  • monitored the meetings of the County Council and Board of Public Utilities;
  • advocated for voting, renewable energy, transparency, land use and water issues;
  • conducted a study and adopted a position on communication and engagement among school administrators and community residents;
  • supported the Los Alamos Ban the Bag campaign;
  • toured Friedman Recycling of Albuquerque.

2015-2016 President Barbara Calef (60 members)
Lunch with a Leader hosted Los Alamos Monitor County Reporter Arin McKenna; New Mexico Anti-Defamation League Director Suki Halevi; Chief Executive Officer of the LANL Foundation Jenny Parks; State Senator Peter Wirth; Robert Gibson, Chairman of the Future Energy Resources Committee; David Puddu, Monitor publisher; Ellen Mills, president of the Los Alamos Federation of School Employees; Councilor David Izraelevitz; DPU Director Tim Glasco.

The League monitored the meetings of the County Council and Board of Public Utilities and advocated for transparency in government, recycling education, the Open Space Management Plan, and implementation of the Future Energy Resources recommendations by the Department of Public Utilities.

Public meetings included

  • Legislative Preview with Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard, Senators Carlos Cisneros and Richard Martinez, Kristina Fisher of Think NM, and former State Senator Dede Feldman;
  • a talk by Emile Nakhleh, National Intelligence Council Associate, on the current state of affairs in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and Iran.

2016-2017 Wendee Brunish, President; Barbara Calef & Becky Shankland, Co-Presidents (Brunish resigned in November, 2016) (71 members)
Lunch with a Leader hosted Gene Grant from NM in Focus; LWVNM President Meredith Machen; Community Development Department Principal Planner Tamara Baer; Beverly Billie for Tewa Women United; Steve Foltyn for Art in Public Places; State Senator Daniel Ivey-Soto; Karen Williams, speaking about a bear attack; Andrea Cunningham on the Public Health Office; and Supreme Court Justice Charles Daniels.

The League registered voters at the farmers' market and high school; published the 2016 Voter Guide; monitored the meetings of the County Council and Board of Public Utilities; advocated for renewable energy, transparency, and land use issues; and participated in a state League study of charter school regulation.

Public meetings included

  • four candidate forums: one for the primary election, two for the general election, one for the school board/UNMLA Advisory Board election;
  • Legislative Preview with Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard and LWVNM Vice-President Richard Mason (Our two state senators were unable to attend.).

2017-2018 Barbara Calef and Becky Shankland, Co-Presidents (76 members)
Lunch with a Leader hosted Sandra Fish of NM in Depth; a forum on the Recreation Bond; State Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard; Douglas Carver of NM Ethics Watch; Jennifer Sublett and Lynn Bjorklund of the US Forest Service; County Clerk Naomi Maestas and Elections Manager Gloria Maestas; Julianna Koob of Planned Parenthood and Alice Gotkin of NOW; several speakers from Voices of Los Alamos; Emeritus Professor of Law Denise Fort; Housing & Special Projects Manager Andrew Harnden; and Robert Gibson on the NM Legislature.

Public meetings included

  • Legislative Preview with Representative Stephanie Garcia Richard, Senators Carlos Cisneros and Richard Martinez, and Artie Pepin, Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts;
  • Forum on nuclear waste storage.

The League also advocated for reinstating the local Public Health Office, adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards by the Education Department, and transparency in government.