Today, the League of Women Voters maintains its commitment to Making Democracy Work ®. As a powerful national network that includes 800 state and local chapters across 50 states, the League of Women Voters empowers people every day to tackle the most important issues facing our communities and to improve local, state and federal government.
In an ever changing civic and political environment, the League has remained a steadfast protector of our democracy and continues to fight over 95 years to keep the power of our democracy in the hands of the people. To ensure that the League remains an effective advocate and trusted source of information, our Leagues should reflect the many and varied voices of our communities.
Over the last several years, the League of Women Voters of the U.S. (LWVUS) has actively partnered with state and local Leagues to focus our efforts on traditionally underrepresented populations. Through LWV voter registration and voter protection programs, we’ve helped ensure that everyone has a voice in the political process. Additionally, League-building programs, such as the Young People's Task Force and the Membership and Leadership Development (MLD) program, have encouraged Leagues to strengthen relationships with allied organizations that have strong roots throughout underrepresented communities.
Building on this work and following discussions at the LWVUS Convention 2014 in Dallas, the national Board has been exploring how the League can engage a diversity of individuals in our communities across the nation. The Board committee reached out to a range of members, soliciting ideas on possible steps to move this conversation forward.
The Board has also been exploring the changing ways that people are choosing to engage and affiliate with organizations seeking to have impact. As the League seeks to broaden our affiliation and connect more fully with new people and new communities, attentiveness to engaging in the ways they want to be engaged (e.g. through social media, via cell phones, etc.) will also be important.
In order to continue growing and strengthening the League as we move towards our 100th anniversary, the LWVUS Board has asked a group of League leaders (see bios below), along with the already appointed Young People's Board Advisors , to help them better understand and share how the League of Women Voters can reflect the values, traditions and issues of a broader spectrum of people. Our new advisors will help the Board more fully develop a range of ideas and tools for engaging people, especially those underrepresented in our democracy, to move forward in the years to come.
Meet the Advisors
Annie Betancourt is a Director of the League of Women Voters of Florida. A League member for more than three decades, Betancourt has shown true dedication to the cause of citizen participation and good government. She learned the ropes by conducting voter registration drives, monitoring local elections and participating in study groups focusing on Florida’s fiscal policies.
Betancourt served as President of the League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County from 1988 to 1990 and was later appointed by Governor Lawton Chiles to serve on the South Florida Water Management District. Elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1994, Betancourt championed laws that promoted job opportunities and access to higher education. In addition, she fought public corruption on several fronts along with law enforcement agencies. Betancourt served in the House until 2002 when term limits forced her to step down. Between 2007 and 2009, she served a second term as League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County President.
Mony Flores-Bauer is currently serving on the League of Women Voters California Board of Directors, as Co-Director of Voter Service. She has been a member of the Oakland League of Women Voters since 1995. In addition to serving as a Board member, she has volunteered for a number of leadership roles in Voter Service, Membership and Nominating Committees, and also Chaired the Host Committee for LWV California’s President’s Council in Oakland. She was elected to serve as President of the Oakland League of Women Voters in 2000-2001.
In 1996 she represented the LWVUS as a civic engagement speaker and trainer in Chile and Mexico. These projects were funded by a USAID Grant. In 2003, Flores-Bauer was invited by the LWVUS to represent the League as a speaker in a live video conference with representatives of the Venezuelan government, NGOs, and journalists exchanging views on the referendum process.
Amy Hjerstedt has been living in Michigan's Eastern Upper Peninsula with her husband and two sons. Before motherhood, Hjerstedt was in the U.S. Coast Guard training Coasties on boat handling, saving the lives of recreational boaters, chasing drug runners, and regulating fishing vessels on the west coast of Oregon and California.
After military service Hjerstedt earned an A.A. in Liberal Arts, a B.S. in Social Science, and an M.S. in Political Science. Hjerstedt founded a Member-at-Large League in Michigan (LWVEUP) in 2013, and she is currently the co-President. Hjerstedt also served on the LWVUS Young People Task Force and on League boards in San Diego, CA and Portland, OR. Hjerstedt is also in her second year of serving as a LWVUS National Coach/Shur Fellow.
Cecilia McKay is an active community volunteer and has held leadership positions in numerous nonprofit organizations since moving to Dallas in 1988. McKay began with the Dallas League in 2000 as a member of the Education Fund Advisory Board. McKay served as Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee for the League of Women Voters’ National Convention held in Dallas, June 6-10, 2014.
Her volunteer efforts have been recognized by many organizations, and her awards include: American Cancer Society Volunteer of the Month, American Jewish Congress’ Women of Spirit, Girls Inc. She Knows Where She is Going, SMU’s Profiles in Leadership, United Way Award of Honor, Women’s Center of Dallas Maura Award and the YWCA Volunteer with a Heart. She was nominated for the U.S. President’s Service Award and The Volunteer Center Outstanding Volunteer in Education.
Melissa del Valle Ortiz is a lifelong Brooklyn Resident, who graduated from Norman Thomas High School in 1988. I became involved with the nonprofit sector, after leaving the United States Army. It was while working in the nonprofit sector that she quickly evolved into a volunteer and community activist. Ortiz currently serves on a variety of boards including New York City's Department of Youth and Community Development Community Action Board, the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, Inc., the National Alliance of HUD Tenants, Inc., and Turning Point, Inc. Ortiz is now serving as the President of the League of Women Voters of the City of New York.
Doris Welch has been a League member for three years and has enjoyed her time as a League member greatly as it has introduced her to so many new people with whom she has developed many strong bonds and had the opportunity to learn so much. Doris now serves as the Vice President of the LWV of New York City. She also serves as a member of the Membership Committee and the Affordable Housing Committee.
Doris is retired and involved with several other organizations in addition to the League.