I was first introduced to the League of Women Voters when I graduated high school. My town’s local chapter had awarded me a small scholarship for some of the activities I was involved with at the time. I sent my thank you note and then did not spend much more time thinking about the League as college and then my career soon became the focus of my attention.
I was reintroduced to the League a few years back. I realized that my job was all-consuming and wearing me thin. I did not have a moment free for a personal life, let alone time to give back to the community. I finally gained the courage to quit my job and start my own engineering consulting firm. At last I had control of my own schedule. I knew I wanted to be more involved in the San Francisco community.
There were many groups and organizations I was interested in but, after participating in many of them, I found that they were only networking organizations that when it came down to it, did not really do much. After my experience as a busy consultant, I understood the value of my time – I wanted to make the time I spent volunteering really mean something. That is when I remembered the League.
After exploring the San Francisco League of Women Voters I found that the League does not just do something – the League does a lot! I had found my match. My first responsibility with the League was as the Bay Area Liaison. In this role, I was the San Francisco League representative of the Bay Area League, which dealt with greater Bay Area affairs, including transit, water, and environmental issues that cross city boundaries. We held forums with hundreds of attendees educating them on local issues such as Bay Delta water issues, climate change, zero waste programs, and water recycling.
I then took on the responsibility of producing Pro/Con Interviews each election cycle. In this role, I contacted representatives for and against each San Francisco ballot measure and set up informative interviews. The interviews were taped by San Francisco Government Television and aired on local access television and available on the League’s website prior to the election.
I appreciate how the League does not just tell you who to vote for or how to vote on an issue, they actually educate voters to they can think for themselves. Do not get me wrong, the League does take positions, but only after years of educated study and research. I also respect the tough topics the League has decided to tackle – for instance, redistricting in California and privatization (i.e. of our military) on the federal level.
For all of my efforts as a member of the League to educate voters, I myself have been so educated. I have learned about the inner workings of San Francisco government, the measures that have been passed over the years, and the groups that are actively pursuing change. I now have the confidence to make informed decisions and pro-actively participate in issues that affect my community.
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