A new day for the League

The one certainty in life is that change is inevitable! The League of Women Voters, a viable organization both nationally and locally for the past 80 years, is facing changes in leadership format and selection. Ironically, though, the national and local changes are separate.

For the first time ever, the local League has not been able to recruit a president, first vice president or president-elect. It’s not that the League is facing a dearth of leadership. Actually, League members tend to be very active and involved. Currently, however, our members’ individual leadership skills are being dedicated to environmental, educational and/or human-rights issues, and to seeking elective office. But the League is here to stay! At our May 20 annual meeting, the bylaws were changed to give administrative authority to an Executive Committee. The elected officers and directors will meet on July 20 to determine the composition of the Executive Committee and discuss how the administrative responsibilities will be shared.

Meanwhile, at the national level — also for the first time ever — there will be an actual contested election for the League presidency! For the past 79 years, the Nominating Committee has suggested a slate of officers at the annual convention, and the slate has been accepted by acclamation. This year, the nominating committee has named a slate headed by Beverly McKinnell — an eight-year member of the national board — from St. Paul, Minn. But current President Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins feels that her two-year term was insufficient to implement her vision for the League, and she’s seeking a second term. Carolyn will be nominated from the floor, forcing — for the first time in League history — a ballot vote for leadership.

Carolyn feels she’s in a win-win situation. Naturally, she hopes to carry the election and continue her work on D-Net — the Democracy Network, a League-sponsored Web site featuring information on national, state and local candidates, which will be up and running by the fall election. Among her other passions are diversification and minority voting rights — including full rights for District of Columbia residents. If not elected, however, she will still be able to model the potential for qualified leadership to run from the floor, reinforcing the concept that Nominating Committee recommends — but doesn’t dictate. The national election will take place on June 19.

For more information about the League, visit our Web page at www.main.nc.us/lwv.

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