Lisa Thornhill: League of Women Voters celebrates 100th anniversary with womens forum Thursday, Feb. 13
Guest Commentary

Lisa Thornhill: League of Women Voters celebrates 100th anniversary with womens forum Thursday, Feb. 13


The League of Women Voters was formed in 1920 as an outgrowth of the movement to give women the right to vote following the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

That amendment was ratified in 1920, after a 57-year struggle. The League was characterized as a "mighty political experiment" designed to help 20 million women carry out their new responsibilities as voters. It encouraged them to use their new power to participate in shaping public policy.

Since 1910, the League has indeed helped improve the general welfare of the people.

Some of the League's earliest causes included support for child labor laws, minimum wage, compulsory education and equal opportunity for women. Some of these issues affected the creation of laws that are still in force today.

A brief review of some other issues in which the League took a leadership role reads like a historical summary of our nation. The League has been involved in environmental issues, the fight against poverty and discrimination, the civil rights movement, reproductive freedom, health care reform and became a major advocate for campaign finance reform.

Every year local Leagues set a program into place for the upcoming year. The Santa Maria Valley League has focused on topics relevant to our community. Studies and public forms have focused on water, county split, health care services, mental health services, immigration, housing, and many others. Of note, many of these topics continue to be relevant to today’s issues and concerns.

Many people talk about how we need greater participation from the public, but it may seem hard to find models of how to really put this to practice. The League of Women Voters is a model of participation in the democratic process at local, regional, state and federal levels.

Feb. 14 is known as the anniversary date for the League of Women Voters. Our Santa Maria Valley League has much to be proud of regarding registration of voters and education of our community on upcoming measures and issues.

Every election we provide the League’s Pros and Cons on measures and provide candidate forums. Many of our community organizations support these forums including the Santa Maria Times, Fund for Santa Barbara, NAACP, AAUW, and CAUSE.

Please join us Thursday morning, Feb. 13 at Hancock College to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the League of Women Voters. We are hosting a panel titled “Women in Government” starting at 9 a.m. All are welcome!

Lisa Thornhill is the President League of Women Voters Santa Maria Valley.


Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

GUEST COMMENTARY It is a sign of our times that Attorney General William Barr tried to do something right and some illiberal liberals, including not a few in the media, decided that it was wrong on the basis of mindless presidential squawks, factual ignorance and in some cases political opportunity.

  • Updated

DAN WALTERS Gavin Newsom is rushing in where angels — and more cautious politicians — fear to tread by devoting virtually all of his second State of the State address to California’s seemingly intractable housing and homelessness crises.

KEVIN MERRILL I remember when I was around 20 and we used to listen to the radio while hauling hay. Occasionally there would be a weekend during which the station would have a British Invasion theme. I always remember the song, “When Im 64” by the Beatles. We would sing along with the radio, “will you still need me, will you still feed me, when Im 64?” When you’re 20 years old, 64 seems a long way away.

If a policymaker proposed banning cars and trucks or reducing the speed limit to 5 mph to reduce traffic fatalities, he or she would be laughed off the stage. Such a policy ignores the benefits of driving and disregards how people accept risk and tradeoffs in their lives. So why should we treat efforts to ban fracking any different? Hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, is safe. ...

KEVIN G. WALTHERS Over the course of the next few months, Hancock College will roll out a new initiative to ensure that no student feels his or her best option is to take on insurmountable debt to earn a college credential. Our commitment to you is that we will increase our outreach presence and configure our programs in a manner that ensures everyone in our community can affordably pursue their educational goals.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News