In the move of our local League office from the now-sold Unitarian Universalist Church of Yakima to space graciously offered by the Yakima YWCA, a typed ten-page document was salvaged. “A History of the League of Women Voters of Yakima County,” indicates seven co-authors: Kara Kondo, Geneve Bowden, Marge Van Scoy, Laura Hopp, Pat Ball, Charlotte Kendrick, Marilyn Lane. The document is not dated, but the last information is for 1985.
Editor’s Note: Direct quotes from “A History of the League…” will be indicated by quotation marks. Some details and names will be omitted in these articles. At the conclusion of the newsletter series, the entire document will be made available to interested members.
“On March 14, 1950, a group of women, brought together by Charlotte Kendrick, met at the Y.W.C.A. (We come full circle! – Ed.) for an organizational meeting to form a Provisional League of Women Voters of Yakima… A constitution and by-laws committee was formed…. At a meeting in April, the constitution was adopted. Looking for guidance in forming a new League, several members attended a workshop put on by Richland for the Yakima and Walla Walla Provisional Leagues on May 4, 1950.
“The KNOW YOUR TOWN survey of city government (A precursor to our current They Represent Us directory?—Ed.)… to be conducted during the summer months… was a requirement for becoming a full fledged League. We were not to drop provisional status until two years later. The first dues of $3.00 were paid at the June meeting. Charlotte Kendrick served as temporary chairman until the September 18th meeting at the Y.W.C.A.” President Ann Gilbert Ulrich (Mrs. Louis) was joined in leadership by two vice presidents, a secretary, a treasurer, three elected directors, and three appointed directors. Membership was rounded out with three additional women, for a total membership of 14.
“At each meeting during our first year, two or three reports were given by members on the information gather for the KNOW YOUR TOWN study.” Meeting topics included the Fire and Police Departments and Ann Ulrich’s visit to the National Headquarters in Washington, D. C.
“Plans were completed for the candidates meeting, October 16, (Our first candidates’ forum – Ed.) and the distribution of questionnaires, provided by the State League, to each candidate in October. The third Monday of each month was chosen for the regular general membership meeting night. In addition, an executive board meeting was held monthly for board assignments and future plans.
The State Organization Chair spoke “on the subject, ‘The League of Women Voters and You.’ She encouraged individual members, but not board members, to be active in the party of their choice as well as in the League. We do not support candidates, but we do study issues of concern to both major political parties. The state study items were: juvenile protection, KNOW YOUR STATE study, constitutional revision and the state tax structure.”
The first Annual Meeting held on April 16, 1951, at the Yakima Valley Junior College featured election of officers. Laura Hopp (Mrs. Blaine) became president. The first vice president was also Historian and Program Chair; the second vice president was also Finance Drive Chair. Most of the three elected and 7 appointed board members also carried assignments such as Action, Unit Organization, Publications, Public Relations, Bulletin, Membership, Voters Service, and Librarian. It was noted that “Mrs. Marilyn Longbottom Lane filled out the term for Mrs. Ann Ingham (date with the stork).”