About Us: What is the League of Women Voters?
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. Members include both women and men.
- The League of Women Voters believes in representative government and in the individual liberties established in the Constitution of the United States.
- The League of Women Voters believes that democratic government depends upon the informed and active participation of its citizens and requires that governmental bodies protect the citizen’s right to know by giving adequate notice of proposed actions, holding open meetings, and making public records accessible.
- The League of Women Voters believes that every citizen should be protected in the right to vote, that every person should have access to free public education that provides equal opportunity for all, and that no person or group should suffer legal, economic, or administrative discrimination.
- The League of Women Voters believes that efficient and economical government requires competent personnel, the clear assignment of responsibility, adequate financing, and coordination among the different agencies and levels of government.
- The League of Women Voters believes that responsible government should be responsive to the will of the people; that government should maintain an equitable and flexible system of taxation, promote the conservation and development of natural resources in the public interest, share in the solution of economic and social problems that affect the general welfare, promote a sound economy and adopt domestic policies that facilitate the solution of international problems.
LWV, like the nation’s government, is organized at three levels — local, state and national. Although each League functions independently, all subscribe to the same principles. One of those principles is to make a thorough study of an issue and come to member consensus on positions before taking action.
Local Leagues study and develop positions on local issues. State Leagues do the same for state-wide issues. At the national level, League members from the entire country develop the position statements.
It is this tradition of study and consensus that sets the League apart from most other organizations. People trust the League because they know that we study issues carefully before taking action.
The League is also a grassroots organization. In practice, this means that, instead of the national leadership setting the year’s agenda, League members engage in discussion and determine where and how the organization’s energy and resources will be focused in the coming year. A process of giving “Directions to the Board” is part of the annual meeting at all levels.
The League of Women Voters is an outgrowth of the suffragist movement. Carrie Chapman Catt founded the organization in 1920 during the convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The convention was held only six months before the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote after a 57-year struggle.
The League began 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. From the beginning, the League was an activist, grassroots organization whose leaders believed that citizens should play a critical role in advocacy. It was then, and is now, a nonpartisan organization. League founders believed that maintaining a nonpartisan status would protect the fledgling organization from becoming mired in the party politics of the day. However, League members were encouraged to be political themselves, by educating citizens about, and lobbying for, government and social reform legislation.
“Naturally, this course has failed to please extremists of either brand,” noted the League’s first president, Maud Wood Park, in 1924. “The partisan radicals call the League conservative, the thorough-going reactionaries are sure that it is radical or worse.” This holds true even today. We are proud that the League is nonpartisan, neither supporting nor opposing candidates at any level of government, but always working on issues of concern to members and the public. The League has a long, rich history. Read more about the League’s history on the LWVUS website.
What Does the League Do?
The League works with citizens through the American political process to bring about constructive change. We REGISTER voters and DEFEND voting rights. We MONITOR government activities – including city councils, school boards, state legislatures and the U.S. Congress. We EDUCATE citizens abut their rights and responsibilities. We SPONSOR candidate forums and public issue forums. We STUDY issues in order to reach member consensus. And we TAKE ACTION by lobbying, testifying and educating legislators on issues we care about. As a nonpartisan body, the League takes action on ISSUES. We do not support or oppose candidates or parties.
View a short video produced to introduce the Kentucky League to the June 2016 LWVUS Council.
LWVKY Past Presidents
1920-1921 Mary Bronaugh, Louisville
1923-1924 Jessie Leigh Hutchinson (Teddy), Lexington
1924-1925 Mary Sweency Lexington
1926-1927 Mrs. Keene Arnold, Versailles
1927-1928 Anna Settles, Louisville
1932- Elizabeth Tachau, Louisville
1933-1935 Mrs. Frederick J. Corm
1935- Mrs. Miller Haynes
1936- Mrs. K.P. Vinsel (acting), Louisville
1938-0940 Mrs. A.L. Koethen
1941-1942 Mrs. Lewis Tachau, Louisville
1942-1943 Elizabeth B.Bruce
1944-1945 Elizabeth E. Taylor
1945-1947 Winifred Wilder
1947-1949 Joy Bale, Elizabethtown
1950- Betty Ladd, Louisville
1951- Jane Sherago, Lexington
1953-1955 Mary Belle Vandenbosch
1955-1957 Kay Bottigheimer, Louisville
1957-1959 Mrs. James R. Shepherd
1959-1961 Shirley Major Louisville
1961-1963 Katy Christopherson, Louisville
1963-1966 Annie Mary Stroup, Lexington
1966-1968 Ruth Sanders, Louisville
1969-1969 Hilda Green, Louisville
1969-1971 Ruth Dietrich, Louisville
1971-1973 Beverly Rosenblum, Louisville
1973-1975 Margaret Schwert, Lexington
1975-1977 Pat Stewart, Louisville
1977-1981 Scottie Kenkel, Lexington
1981-1983 Attia Bowmer, Louisville
1983-1985 Douise Steelman, Lexington
1985-1986 Judy Marks, Louisville
1986-1987 Bunny Davey, Louisville
1987-1988 Corinne Whitehead, Paducah
1989-1989 Scottie Kenkel, Lexington
1989-1991 Mary T. Wakefield, Louisville
1991-1993 Carolyn Self &Elizabeth Spencer, Hopkinsville
1993-1995 Reva Hart, Elizabethtown
1995-1997 Jeanne Gage, Berea
1997-1999 Betty Hilliard, Elizabethtown
1999-2001 Terry Naydan, Lexington
2001-2003 Terry Naydan, Lexington
2003-2005 Joan Peoples, Berea
2005-2005 Catherine Mercer, Louisville
2006-2006 Joan Peoples, Berea
2006-2009 Teena Halbig, Louisville
2009-2010 Terry Naydan & Nita Smith, Lexington
2010-2014 Tammy Fagley, Cindy Heine, Lexington; Cecile Schubert, Richmond
2014-15 Tammy Fagley, Cindy Heine, Lexington
2015-17 Terry Naydan, Nita Smith, Lexington
2017-2019 Wanda (Bonnie) Lynch, Hopkinsville
2019- Fran Wagner, Louisville