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. 

PDF iconCharter Members of the LWVLA (1947-48)
PDF iconLWVLA Presidents from 1948 to present. 

Summary of LWVLA recent activities going back to 2009 

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.

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.).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

2010-2011 Barbara Calef, President
Public Meetings included:
  • Marcy Leavitt, Director of Water and Wastewater Management at NMED, speaking at the 2010 Annual Meeting;
  • Forum on the structure of government as part of the Charter review process;
  • Legislative Preview with our legislators as well as Santa Fe Rep.Brian Egolf, who talked about how to balance the budget; and Dick Mason of Health Action New Mexico, who explained the proposed health insurance exchange.
Lunch with a Leader hosted Cas Mason talking about the NNM Citizens’ Advisory Board; PEEC President Chick Keller; Keven Todd, publisher of the Los Alamos Monitor; David Brooks, Los Alamos Community Service Coordinator; County Councilor Ralph Phelps; LWVNM Action Chair Dick Mason on health care reform; LA Cooperative Market Manager Steve Watts; LAPS Superintendent Gene Schmidt and Kelly Myers discussing the long-range planning report for the schools; and Magistrate Judge Pat Casados, who led a tour of the new Justice Center.
 
In preparation for the elections, the League held two primary forums, one for the judicial candidates and one for the other candidates; published the Voters Guide, which was distributed to all Los Alamos households; and held two forums prior to the General Election, one for Council candidates and proposed Charter amendments, and one for all other candidates. An additional forum was held in the winter for the candidates for school board and the UNM-LA Advisory Board.
 
The League also
  • sought and obtained support from the County Council in asking the Water Quality Control Commission to extend the
  • Outstanding Natural Resource Waters designation to waters in federal wilderness areas in the state. The Commission so ruled;
  • endorsed PEEC’s request that the County consider building or redesigning a nature center;
  • held a unit meeting to discuss whether LWVNM should adopt the LWVSFC position on transparency by concurrence;
  • reported on County activity regarding the new municipal building and possible changes to Trinity Drive;
  • participated in the Sustainability Town Hall.

2009-10 Barbara Calef, President
Public Meetings included talks by

  • State Sen. Peter Wirth, at the 2009 Annual Meeting, about legislation to support renewable energy;
  • Emile Nakhleh, former Director of the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program at the CIA;
  • David Gutzler, UNM Professor of Meteorology and Climatology, about climate change and southwestern water
  • resources.

Other meetings included:

  • Forum on the LAPS and UNM-LA bond election;
  • Legislative Preview with our state legislators as well as Sen. Peter Wirth, who explained how the state can increase revenue to achieve a balanced budget, and Kristina Fisher, who introduced Think New Mexico’s initiative to reduce corruption in state government;
  • Forum to gather public opinion about the new Charter review.

Lunch with a Leader hosted Monica Witt from the LANL Material Recycle Facility; Regina Wheeler, LAC Environmental Services Manager; Cathy Wilson, LANL environmental scientist, speaking about global water issues; LAPS Superintendent Gene Schmidt; Craig Martin, LAC Open Space Specialist, who reviewed the fire recovery effort following the 2000 Cerro Grande Fire; Angela “Spence” Pacheco, District Attorney for the First Judicial District; Felicia Orth, Hearing Officer for NMED; LAC Library Director Charlie Kalogeros-Chattan, speaking about the PATRIOT Act; and Tony Mortillaro, LAC Administrator.

The League also created the Elizabeth Best Memorial Fund to provide minigrants to LAPS teachers and held a unit meeting to respond to the consensus questions for the state water study.