SEATTLE - The League of Women Voters
is 90 years old on
Valentine's Day. One of its senior members in Washington - Peg Williams
of Seattle - already turned 90 in November, a few days after the last
presidential election. Williams was raised in New York, but moved
across the country to Washington as a young mother in the 1970s.
Williams says League membership has helped her keep up with politics
over the years, because members set aside their partisan political
affiliations to study the issues and take positions on them as a group.
In Washington, she notes, that's not as difficult as some might assume.
"The thing I noticed when I came to Washington State was that the
legislature is approachable. You can call 'em up or you go to some
meeting where you could meet them, or even go down to the legislature.
I didn't have that feeling in New York."
This year in Olympia, the League is supporting 13 bills, watching six
others and opposing further cuts to the state's supplemental budget.
In national politics, Williams says the most exciting election for her
so far was in 1944, when Franklin Roosevelt won his fourth term as
president over Republican challenger Thomas Dewey. She was just a
toddler when her mother first got the right to vote in 1920. She
chuckles as she describes how her father felt about it - he wasn't
thrilled, she says.
"He was pretty much of a free thinker, but he thought that if women got to vote, it would only mean that married men would get two
votes. That was his take on women voting!"
members range in age from their 20s to a few
centenarians. Williams says today's biggest challenge is getting busy
young people - women or men - involved in the organization.
"It's really important, because League of Women Voters
requires really putting your mind to things and working at them. And whatever League
can do only happens because of the volunteer efforts that go into it."
Information about the League of Women Voters of Washington
is available at www.lwvwa.org