‘The best kind of overwhelmed’ League of Women Voters meet

  • Attendees of the first meeting of the League of Women Voters of Franklin County file into a room at Temple Israel Sunday, January 29, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Attendees of the first meeting of the League of Women Voters of Franklin County fill a room at Temple Israel Sunday, January 29, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Attendees of the first meeting of the League of Women Voters of Franklin County listen to information about the new chapter from organizer Marie Gauthier Sunday, January 29, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Attendees of the first meeting of the League of Women Voters of Franklin County fill a room at Temple Israel Sunday, January 29, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Attendees of the first meeting of the League of Women Voters of Franklin County listen to information about the new chapter from organizer Marie Gauthier on Sunday. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt

  • Attendees of the first meeting of the League of Women Voters of Franklin County fill a room at Temple Israel Sunday, January 29, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

Recorder Staff
Published: 1/29/2017 11:51:19 PM

GREENFIELD — The newly-formed Franklin County League of Women Voters began work on Sunday, discussing local issues the group plans to work on once recognized by the statewide organization.

The League of Women Voters is a national organization that lobbies for specific issues at the state, national and local levels. The Franklin County chapter was started after the election by Marie Gauthier of Shelburne Falls.

“This is the best kind of overwhelmed there is,” Gauthier said at the start of the meeting.

There were about 150 women at the meeting, far more than organizers were expecting. The group ran out of handouts and informational sheets.

“This is the moment people really want to take action,” said Marissa Potter, a Buckland resident who attended Sunday’s meeting.

Jean Cherdack of Ashfield, president of the state organization, said there has been a lot of interest in membership since the election and new chapters have formed in response.

“We’ve gotten requests from one end of the state to the other,” she said to the crowd at Temple Israel in Greenfield.

The Franklin County branch still has several steps to take before it is recognized by the Massachusetts branch. It has to elect officers, including a president, treasurer, secretary and membership director. It also has to issue a nonpartisan statement, saying that the chapter won’t support specific political parties or candidates, but instead support certain issues and get-out-the-vote efforts.

The group discussed some possible topics for smaller committees including climate change, reproductive rights, voter registration and community engagement, and equality and justice.

Gauthier said after the election she wasn’t sure what to do. She wanted to get involved and heard about the League from friends in other nearby chapters. When she realized there wasn’t a chapter in Franklin County, she decided to start one.

“It only takes one person to say, “hey, let’s do it,”’ she said.

Gauthier said that those interested can join online, and can visit the group’s Facebook page, League of Women Voters of Franklin County - MAL Unit (bit.ly/2khxiN3), and sign up for the group’s newsletter.

Reach Miranda Davis at
413-772-0261, ext. 280
or mdavis@recorder.com.




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