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Stepping up to the plate for democracy

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

The year was 1919. A man named J. Leb Watkins was serving as the third mayor in New Castle history. Babe Ruth was sold by the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees. World War I officially came to an end with the Treaty of Versailles.

Meanwhile, for women all across the United States, it was a new beginning. That year, the United States Congress approved the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which would guarantee women the right to vote, and sent it to then 48 U.S. states for ratification.

It is a right members with the League of Women Voters of Henry County do not take for granted.

“It’s an important time to realize the efforts women made 100 years ago to get the right to vote,” said Nan Polk, the local league’s president, at a candidate forum Tuesday in New Castle. “We all have roots of people who have fought in different ways to get to vote.”

The local organization co-sponsored Tuesday’s well-attended candidate forum with the Henry County Chamber of Commerce, just one of the ways it strives to be an active voice in local issues. 

“Our mission statement says we are a non-partisan political organization.” Polk explained. “We encourage informed and active participation in government. We work to increase understanding of major public policy issues and influence public policy issues through education and advocacy. We are not partisan and even though we are the League of Women Voters, we do welcome men and have several men who are members”

“We do important work and we get people out to vote,” Polk added. “We try to make sure there is accurate information out there on issues.”

Tuesday, voter information pamphlets were distributed by League members containing a variety of information pertaining to the Nov. 5 election. The pamphlet included a list of voting centers on Election Day. In New Castle, those will be at the American Legion, Ivy Tech Community College and the Henry County Art Center.

Other examples of recent events sponsored by the League of Women Voters included a discussion at Bundy Auditorium during the 2018 Indiana General Assembly session about the need for redistricting reform.

The group meets at 5:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month in the New Castle Friends Church Meetinghouse.