This Sunday is not only Valentine’s Day but also the 90th birthday of an organization that was founded with an Iowa background. Myrna Loehrlein of Cedar Rapids is the current president of the Iowa League of Women Voters She says women had been trying to get the vote for 75 years, and by 1920 it looked like it would happen. Loehrlein says a group of women got together on February 14th of 1920 and formed the League of Women Voters.
The first leader of the organization was Carrie Chapman Catt of Charles City. The amendment giving women the right to vote passed in August of that year. Loehrlein said the league still continue’s the mission from it’s beginning of educating citizens about issues.
Loehrlein says the league studies and issue and then uses consensus, not a vote to determine its positions. She says everyone has to agree on the position before they take action. While the league was created by women — man can also join.
She says they have men who are presidents of local leagues, they have men on the boards, and they have men who are members because everyone in the household is a member. Loehrlein says they’ve kept the word woman in their name, but the idea is to include everyone and focus on democracy. Loehrlein said the Iowa League of Women Voters will be conducting some special events surrounding the 90th Anniversary.
Loehrlein says they have encouraged the leagues throughout Iowa to schedule events throughout the year at a time that is right for them. She they have a variety of luncheons and other recognitions scheduled at various times. There are 15 League of Women Voter chapters across Iowa with a membership of about 800 people. You can find out about a chapter in your area at: www.lwvia.org.
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City