For Immediate Release
Convention Delegates Celebrate League's Accomplishments, Debate Issues
St. Paul, MN - The League of Women Voters of Minnesota held its biennial state
convention this week in Willmar, MN. The gathering gave League members from
around the state the opportunity to celebrate the organization's accomplishments
and to discuss important public policy issues that are impacting communities across
Minnesota. This year's theme "MN-Powered: Sustainable, Renewable-Food, Energy
and Economy" was embodied throughout the convention by speakers and local foods.
Attending the convention from the National League of Women Voters were 2nd Vice
President Judy Duffy and Senior Director of Membership Cheryl Graeve, both with
Minnesota ties. "We value our volunteer leaders for their commitment and contribution
to our communities. They bring forward the important voice of the people to
our elected officials and work tirelessly to reform our systems through education
and action from a nonpartisan perspective. I'm very proud to be with them!",
said Ms. Duffy.
At the conclusion of the gathering, Co-Presidents Vivian Jenkins Nelsen of Minneapolis
and Judy Stuthman of Roseville were unanimously re-elected to a two-year term by
the delegates gathered from across the state.
In their acceptance speech, Ms. Nelsen and Ms. Stuthman thanked members for entrusting
them with the state leadership of this almost 90-year old organization. "We
are excited and delighted to lead the League of Women Voters of Minnesota," Ms.
Stuthman said. "In the past biennium, we have had great successes in the areas
of Voter Service, our Diversity initiative "Cross Cultural Dialogues", and New Citizen
Voter Registration, and our grassroots leadership will continue to ensure that our
communities are fair, vibrant and strong in these especially challenging times,"
vowed Ms. Jenkins Nelsen. "We are the organization where hands-on work to
safeguard democracy leads to civic improvement."
LWV Willmar member Florence
Pendergrast was awarded the prestigious Peggy Thompson Award for outstanding
service to local leagues and community. Ms. Pendergrast joined LWV as a single
mother of four in the 1970's, with a passion for women's rights. She founded
the LWV Morris chapter, building it up to 70 members. After moving to Willmar,
Ms. Pendergrast focused on bringing cultural understanding to a community that was
rapidly immersed in diversity and awash with prejudice. She originated and
organized the Community Circles, involving business, community agencies and volunteers
interested in working with our immigrant population.
LWV Northfield/Cannon Falls member Mary Steen
was honored with the Hope Washburn Award for outstanding service to the League of
Women Voters Minnesota. Ms. Steen served in local LWV leadership roles for
many years, often working behind the scenes to convene conversations about health
care and important local issues. She served on the LWVMN board, leading state
studies and as Editor of the Voter newsletter. She also has demonstrated a
commitment to issues beyond Northfield and Minnesota, by attending the Conference
on Women in Beijing in 1999 and assisting in preparations for the 2000 and 2004
Peace Prize Forums at St. Olaf College.
Eight Local Leagues were honored with the Spirit of Democracy Award for their
achievements in up to ten categories promoting the health of their LWV. The
chapters are: Winona, Crystal/New Hope/East Plymouth, Brainerd Lakes, Edina,
Wayzata/Plymouth, South Tonka, Northfield and Eastern Carver County.
"The enthusiasm and passion displayed by the volunteers gathered at this Convention
remind me what an important and unique organization the League is; it reminds me
of why I joined and of why it is one of America's most trusted grassroots organizations,"
stated Ms. Duffy.
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The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages
the informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding
of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and
advocacy. Membership in the League is open to men and women of all ages.
Founded in 1920, it is one of America's most trusted grassroots organizations.
Join us in making democracy work!
Outgoing LWVMN Communications Chair