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League of Women Voters to celebrate 100th anniversary of right to vote; all invited to join

PMG PHOTO:  BARB RANDALL  - Norma Jean Germond will be honored at the League of Women Voters Century Celebration March 7 for her decades of dedicated work to the League of Women Voters and her vast community involvement. The date Feb. 14 is memorable for several reasons: It is, of course, Valentine's Day, a day set aside to show love and esteem for sweethearts, friends and family.

On that day in 1859, the State of Oregon became the 33rd state admitted into the Union. And on that date in 1920, the League of Women Voters was founded in Chicago, just six months before the 19th amendment was ratified and women won the right to vote.

Formed by the suffragists of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, the League began as a "mighty political experiment" designed to help 20 million women carry out their responsibilities as voters.

On its website, lwv.org, the League states it "believes in the power of women to create a more perfect democracy. That's been our vision since 1920. For 100 years, we have been a nonpolitical, activist, grassroots organization that believes voters should play a critical role in democracy."

All across America, League of Women Voters will celebrate its 100th anniversary, and the League of Women Voters of Oregon will join more than 700 other local and state chapters to celebrate the milestone.

All are invited to attend a Century Celebration taking place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 7 at the Salem Convention Center. The focus of the celebration will include:

— A panel discussion by all the statewide elected women leaders, including Gov. Kate Brown, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle and Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Walters with former Gov. Barbara Roberts as moderator.

— A synopsis of women's past and future: How to empower voters and defend democracy throughout the nation.

— Award presentations of the Carrie Chapman Catt and Distinguished Service Awards.

Receiving the Distinguished Service Award will be longtime Lake Oswego resident Norma Jean Germond, who has a significant history of service to her community, and has held leadership roles in the League of Women Voters of Clackamas County and at the state level.PMG FILE PHOTO  - Norma Jean Germond has a large collection of awards and photographs of notable friends she made during her political career.

"Getting involved in the League of Women Voters changed my life," Germond said. When she first moved to Lake Oswego she was impressed with work of the League. They did studies and researched topics and issues of the day so they could share informed positions on the topics.

"It is a grassroots organization, organized from the bottom up," Germond said. "We build consensus and reach agreements on issues. It is a common sense approach and we tell it like it is, based on facts."

A review of Germond's community services includes serving as president of the West Clackamas County chapter of the League of Women Voters and as chair of the LWV Columbia River Task Force. She was elected to Portland Community College's Board of Directors five times for four-year terms, and served on a PCC Foundation.

She was elected to the National Board of Association of Community College Trustees for a six-year term, and served as chair of the Oregon State Advisory Committee on Adult Education and Literacy, authoring successful law for Oregon. She was president of the board of the Association of Environmental Education Centers at Clackamas Community College and first chair and founder of the Northwest Conservation Act Coalition (now NW Energy Coalition). PMG PHOTO:  BARB RANDALL  - This photo was published in the Lake Oswego Review in 1976. Norma Jean Germond is on the left, Hermine Blood is at the center and Hazel O'Brien is on the right. The article was about a fundraising luncheon the women organized to raise funds for the League of Women Voters.

She was also elected to Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition Board, the public representative on federal Technical Steering Panel of Scientists directing Hanford Environmental Dose Reconstruction Project, Hanford Advisory Board to USDOE, EPA and Washington State, and served on Oregon Hanford Cleanup Board.

Germond has been awarded a number of community awards including the Clackamas County League of Women Voter's highest award, the Carrie Chapman Catt Award, which acknowledges extraordinary service to the league.

"Like Carrie, our recipient's commitment to league principles inspired her recruitment of others to participate in league endeavors," said Libby Medley during the awards ceremony held in 2018. "Most of all both have shown extraordinary dedication and tenacity to the larger picture, going beyond the local scene to impact our state, nation and world."PMG PHOTO:  BARB RANDALL  - Norma Jean Germond, left, and Sonja Kollias are members of the Clackamas County League of Women Voters, and invite all interested people to join the organization.

Summarizing her work over the decades, Germond said that she "wrote and guided through the Legislature a little bill on adult literacy, which passed both houses unanimously and became law." She concluded her report with the affirmation: "Yes, the league had a significant presence at the Legislature. They all know we were there. We didn't win all the time, but every legislator gave us time and listened to our point of view, for the league has a conscience. League is realistic, and we are careful, honest and reasoned. The League of Women Voters is a most wonderful organization!"

Anyone age 16 and over is eligible to join the league. Men as well as women are encouraged to become members. The LWV is a grassroots organization. Members may fully participate in league activities and help decide on league priorities. Some meetings are open only to members and invited guests.


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