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State Council '80 - The Big Picture
Ins and Outs
They Earn $ for League
Open Space
From Our President (Barbara Farwell)
Memo from National
Annual Meeting Report
Luncheon Program
Looking Back with Jean Ko (Jean Ko)
Leadership Training Seminar
Introducing Our New Officers
Be a Name Dropper

From Our President

Annual Meeting is always a good time to reflect on our past accomplishments and to look forward to future achievements. It is also a good time to remember and to redefine our purpose.

The women who founded the League of Women Voters in 1920 were people who refused to accept the status quo, who fought for better lives not just for women but all Americans. They fought for suffrage, they fought to force government to accept responsibility for the well-being of its citizens. They challenged the prevailing norms of their day, and we are their descendents.

This means that we must never forget our stated League policy to "take action on governmental measures and policies in the public interest." We must not allow government alone to define issues, and the obligation to see that these issues are debated thoroughly and publicly. Whenever government fails to serve the public interest, the League must be ready to hold government accountable.

One early League member was Eleanor Roosevelt. Some years ago Claire Boothe Luce, borrowing a phrase from Joseph Pulitzer, said of Mrs. Roosevelt: "She is most famous for comforting the afflicted, and afflicting the comfortable." As we look over sixty years of League activity, we might say the same of ourselves. We have worked to extend equal rights, and to expand social programs of housing, education, employment -- some comfort, perhaps, to the afflicted. At the same time we have not hesitated to take political leaders to task for ignoring their responsibility to the public. Hopefully we have afflicted a few of the comfortable.

As the League moves forward into another year of activity, we will continue to act on our principles and positions, following in the footsteps of those women and men who have never been content to simply sit back and let things happen, but have sought to influence events. That has been our past, and it is our future.

In closing, I would like to thank all of you for your faith in electing me to this position. I look forward to working with you and know that together we CAN comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

(Annual Meeting, April 22, 1980)

Barbara Farwell

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