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The Alabama Voter
Summer 2009 Edition

Published September 13, 2009

2009 League of Women Voters of Alabama

Local League News

The League of Women Voters of Greater Tuscaloosa (LWVGT) has enjoyed successes this summer, and also encountered challenges like those of many other leagues throughout the state and US.  First the successes:  We now have a complete Board of Directors.  We have had a Board Orientation and Planning Meeting.  We have consistently excellent programs at our monthly luncheon meetings, examining local, state, and national program issues.  And we had a very successful candidate forum that featured candidates with opposition for Tuscaloosa City Council and the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education.  Approximately 140 people attended the first half, and a similar number attended the second half.  The press coverage, both before and after, was excellent—newspaper coverage in print and in a 15 minute Town Hall interview presented on the Tuscaloosa News website, television interviews, radio shows, and even a journalism professor videoed the event for use in his journalism class.  All these successes reflect hard work on the part of the board and members.

Now for the challenges: Filling the board was a protracted process.  Some board members had hoped to have a well-deserved break from board responsibilities, but they stepped to the plate again.  Others did take a break and are missed.  But we are recycling many of the same people, who may face burnout. A number of board members could not attend the board orientation/planning session for a variety of good reasons, so decisions for the upcoming year were made by a relatively small number.  The candidate forum was an overwhelming success, bringing interest to two sets of elections that had been described previously in the press as a “yawn.”  However, many of the same Leaguers who step forward for every event also played key roles in the forum.  We need new blood.  Finally, our League has been discussing the benefits and restrictions caused from the League’s nonpartisanship policy.  The League in Alabama and in Tuscaloosa enjoys a lot of credibility/respect/clout, considering our relatively small numbers and slim budgets.  We have had to make difficult choices about when we can or cannot have declared candidates speak to our membership at regular meetings on issues of current importance.  We decided to take a more restrictive approach to ensure the nonpartisan reputation of the League in the community. It meant canceling a program by a highly visible elected official who has declared for another office in 2010.  This candidate would have no doubt provided an informative program, but we need to consider the long haul as well as being timely. 


 The Mobile League has planned a series of meetings on the Mobile County school system as its fall emphasis. In addition, LWVM is partnering with local universities to celebrate the League’s 90th birthday. Each event will be a fun and informative movie watching evening followed by refreshments and an informal discussion with faculty and League members.

October 28th – University South Alabama Library Auditorium.  7:00pm.  Iron Jawed Angels  is an inspiring and contemporary film that tells the story of Alice Paul and her small group of suffragists who fought the conclusive battle for women’s right to vote.

January 26th – Springhill University.  Time and location to be determined.  One Woman, One Vote  documents the suffrage movement from Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Alice Paul, and the struggles between those who were more militant in their approach against women and those with more conventional strategies of education and lobbying.

Baldwin County

League of Women Voters of Baldwin County (LWVBC) President Paulette Fedor sends reports of a full board of directors—except for Membership and Public Relations.  (These positions seem hard for many leagues to fill.)  Program emphases are Constitutional Reform, the Environment, and Healthcare.  Long-time LWVAL veteran Jeanne Lacey is chairing the first two committees.  Baldwin County has been at the forefront the League’s efforts on behalf of our environment.

Three board members attended the recent LWVAL board meeting via speakerphone:  Paulette Fedor, Jeanne Lacey, and Jeanine Normand.  While Jeanine is the only one officially on the state board at this time, board members are delighted to have other members statewide to listen in and contribute when appropriate.  The LWVBC was particularly helpful when the LWVAL was preparing our official comments to present for the Triennial Review of ADEM.  Our report focused on our position on Coastal Zone Management.

East Alabama

The LWVEA and the Chambers of Commerce of Auburn and Opelika are sponsoring the November 3 gubernatorial candidate forum organized by the Center for Governmental Services at Auburn University.  Local members will be involved in developing the questions and helping with activities on the night of the event. The forum is scheduled for 7 pm, in the ballroom of Auburn’s new Student Center building.

At the Annual Meeting in April, the first Sue Flood Award was presented to Ginnie Bennett for her commitment and remarkable service, especially as treasurer and planning commission observer, to the local league.  The award recognizes the contributions of a local member in honor of Sue Flood, who served the local league as president, vice president, and board member in many capacities.

Cheryl Cobb, an active participant in area planning and environmental issues, was presented to 2009 Phyllis Rea Award for community service. Cheryl is a regular fixture at Auburn Planning Commission meetings and has been instrumental in incorporating the league’s position on growth issues, green spaces, land use and zoning, and livable neighborhoods in Auburn.
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      League of Women Voters of Alabama,
      call 205 871-8194 or visit on-line at http://www.lwval.org.