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LWV of LAFAYETTE

FOUNDING YEARS

On November 7, 1945 in the home of Mrs. Hollis Long, nine women met with representatives of the state and national League of Women Voters. These nine women became the founding members of the Lafayette League:

Mrs. J.A. Anders
Mrs. Fred Bates
Mrs. H. R. Bolyard
Mrs.Hollis Long
Mrs. A. G. Mallison
Mrs. Scranton Mouton
Mrs. Ira Nelson
Miss Inez Neyland
Mrs. O.J. Ory

On January 27, 1946 the bylaws proposed by these founders were amended and 33 members joined. By the very next month the membership had swelled to 88, and by July, 1946 to 106 members.

The new League almost immediately began lobbying the state legislature, the city council, and the school board and sponsored public forums on their key issues. In that same first year the League's Canning Committee processed 651 cans of food for the people of Europe, and moved on to discussing control of nuclear weapons, sent 35-40 telegrams to State Senators in regard to the civil service bill, discussed appointment vs. election of the State Superintendent of Education, and recommended beginning a school survey as its first project and initiated its second project, "Your Town's Future," in December.

EMERGING YEARS

Lafayette League members objected to the whites-only use of the City of Lafayette's public event facilities. In the 1960s they gathered models of efficient local government to promote improvements in the organization of Lafayette Parish. During the 1973 Louisiana Constitutional Convention, the League had an official observer present for this historical endeavor. In the 1980s and early 90s, the League was known for producing its timely voter guide of local election information which was printed and distributed widely.


RENAISSANCE YEARS

During the 1990s, the League's membership declined dramatically and the League became less and less active. In 2006-2007, with the support of LWVLA and local League leaders Florence Gossen and Jeanne Latiolais, a new Board of Directors and 12 new members began the renaissance of the Lafayette League. Since 2007, the League has grown in membership, and once again gained recognition with its voter registration drives, voter information stations in public places, live, televised, and YouTube-available candidate forums, online candidate questionnaires, and three local government studies with an accompanying video on Lafayette Parish public school facilities.


LOCAL STUDIES
Know Your Local Governments
Everybody's Network
Everybody's Schools


LEADERSHIP TEAM

The Leadership Team is the governance model utilized by the LWV-Lafayette in lieu of the traditional board of directors/officers model. The Leadership Team members manage and supervise the business, affairs, and activities of the LWV-Lafayette. The Leadership Team works through shared responsibility. A significant difference between the Leadership Team and traditional board of directors is evident in how the traditional duties of president are divided among the appointed spokesperson and team members. With the Leadership Team, a spokesperson is elected to represent/ coordinate/ communicate with the public on behalf of the league when needed. The responsibilities for planning and leading each of the team meetings is divided among team members who each serve as facilitator for the respective meetings. The facilitator of the meeting solicits input for the agenda and directs the meeting. The Leadership Team has been an excellent way to continue to keep the league active and viable. Sharing of responsibility keeps any one person from being overwhelmed and experiencing burnout. This model has worked well for several years and no one has expressed a desire to return to the traditional governance model.


HOW WE "WORK"

The league has standing and ad hoc committees that do the "work" of the league. Committee chairs do not have to serve on the Leadership Team, but many do at some point. Flexibility in matching members' skill sets with their interests and time availability has provided a workable balance. As needed, committee chairs keep the leadership team apprised via the spokesperson and facilitator. These communications ensure that continuity of business is maintained by the subsequent facilitators.

As a league member, there are limitless opportunities to:
  • Build your participation in the democratic process
  • Study key community issues at all government levels in an unbiased manner
  • Seek positive solutions to public policy issues through education and conflict management
  • Increase public dialogue in your community
  • Create lasting change where we live
  • Have fun and make friendships for life

There is a place for everyone and each member's schedule. The League does its work is through its Leadership Team, committees, study teams and individuals. Every Lafayette member participates as time and preference permit.