By Lisa Medway
Jun 13, 2021 01:00 AM - Reposted from Mail Tribune
When I moved to the Rogue Valley in the summer of 2018, the only person I knew was my Realtor. Within one month of my rebirth as an Oregonian, a familiar name from my way-distant past began popping up in the news every day: Jeff Golden.
Jeff moved to Oregon 50 years before I did. He was running for state senator to represent the 3rd District — my district. Jeff and I went to high school together. Or, to be more accurate, we attended the same high school. He had triple the IQ, double the GPA, was student body president, and was voted “Brainiest” in his senior year.
I was in the Spanish Club and school plays. We never met. I voted for Jeff Golden for student body president at Beverly Hills High School and again in 2018 for state senator. He won both elections.
Besides his top-notch education (Harvard, Stanford), Jeff is an author, outdoorsman, producer, TV host (PBS series “Immense Possibilities”), husband, father, conservationist and protector of Planet Earth.
Senator Golden holds virtual town hall meetings (the first Thursday of the month at 5 p.m.), and it was during the February 2021 town hall that he touted the League of Women Voters: a venerable, nonpartisan, can-do organization that’s been around for 101 years.
When the town hall ended, I joined the LWV of Rogue Valley. The “League” (its short-hand nickname) was founded by a key leader of the American suffrage movement, Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947), as a grassroots, nonpartisan, nonprofit and educational organization to celebrate women getting the right to vote in 1920. Her vital role led to the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
Today, the LWV has thousands of members in all 50 states and 700 communities across the USA. My first encounter with the LWV of RV was in a ZOOM meeting in March. My reaction was: “OMG! These overachievers are super-smart and more well informed than most hosts on MSNBC. “Energizer Bunny” Margie Peterson is the president of the LWV-RV and our spokesperson. She reminded us that “we are one voice.”
Brilliant Barbara Klein is the action chair and head of local issues. Lovely and patient Jackie Clary, membership coordinator, was my LWV “doula” who introduced me to the whirlwind world of the LWV. Sage member Bill Walsh (yes, there are many male members — it’s 2021 people!) summed-up the No. 1 goal of the League: “Our job is to urge lawmakers to do what’s best for the common good.”
The way in which the league succeeds cannot be better illustrated than by the indefatigable work of Shirley Weathers, climate change coordinator for the LWV-RV and LWV Oregon, along with a team of league members from Klamath, Coos Bay and Umpqua. I love a good David and Goliath story — this one’s fantastic.
Shirley and her team of superheroes helped get the Canada-based energy behemoth Pembina to drop its application to build a natural gas pipeline. The Jordan Cove Energy Project was, thanks partly to Ms. Weathers and the other leagues, thwarted after 10-plus years of dogged effort and unrelenting persistence.
Along with everything good, fair and kind it stands for and strives to accomplish, the League of Women (and men) Voters continues, among a litany of other important issues, to protect and defend Oregon: its beauty and natural resources. And I still have never met Jeff Golden.
Lisa Medway lives in Medford.