National convention sets League agenda for next two years
Tuesday, Jun. 15, 2010
The League of Women Voters of the United States celebrated its 90th anniversary at its 49th biennial national convention this week in Atlanta, Georgia.
The four-day gathering gave League members from around the country the opportunity to celebrate the organization’s accomplishments over the last 90 years on health care reform, election reform, and judicial independence, and to discuss important public policy issues.
Today, Elisabeth MacNamara of Dekalb County, Georgia, was elected unanimously by the more than 600 delegates gathered at the Marriott Atlanta Marquis. MacNamara, elected to serve a two-year term, will be the national organization’s 18th president.
In her acceptance speech, MacNamara thanked members for entrusting her with the leadership of this 90-year-old organization. “I am excited and delighted to lead the League of Women Voters of the United States to new heights,” MacNamara said. “The League and its 150,000 grassroots members and supporters will continue to raise our voices in the fight for climate change reform, campaign finance reform, voter education, and election reform. Let’s go out there and get in the way!”
Earlier this morning, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius addressed convention delegates on the role of women in American politics, outlined key elements of the new health care legislation, and reaffirmed the Administration’s strong commitment to expanding voter registration opportunities. During the opening session, Representative John Lewis congratulated delegates on their 90th anniversary and urged them to continue their hard work in communities nationwide strengthening civil rights and democratic principles.
And on Monday, the national League joined with the League of Women Voters of Arizona in denouncing the immigration measure recently passed by the Arizona legislature and signed by the governor that could cause law enforcement officials to target racial and ethnic minorities unfairly. Whenever an officer stops, detains, or arrests an individual in Arizona, the new law requires the officer to check a person’s legal status if the officer has a “reasonable suspicion” that the detained person is undocumented. However, the law is vague about what constitutes “reasonable suspicion,” raising the concern about fair and equal enforcement.
Among the business items approved by the convention body:
Support for marriage equality for same-gender couples;
Support for the National Popular Vote Compact;
Studies of the federal role in public education and privatization of government functions;
An update of the League's position on Arms Control; and
Resolutions to lift travel restrictions to Cuba, support safe drilling and mining practices, limit the use of the filibuster by the U.S. Senate, improve Medicare for all, and demand accountability for the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
A League member since 1983, MacNamara ascended to the presidency of the Georgia League in 2001 and served in this capacity until 2006. MacNamara was elected to a two-year term on the LWVUS national board as a director in 2006 and was also the organization’s first vice president until 2010.
“This Convention proved that the League remains a vibrant, grassroots organization as it has for the last 90 years,” stated MacNamara. “We debated many of the critical issues facing citizens across the nation, including election reform, climate change, the need for redistricting reform, and health care reform.”