Mirror Staff Report

MONTROSE-When the Montrose County League of Women Voters gathered to parade on the lawn in front of the Montrose Courthouse in vintage outfits and carrying signs on Aug. 26, the rally was officially intended to celebrate Women’s Equality Day and the 94th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote and to run for elected office in America.

However, many of those who attended the rally did so for personal reasons as well. Young Montrose mom Ellen Angeles not only showed up in vintage hat and dress ready to march, but helped promote the event beforehand with an email blast reminding friends of her pride in being part of a family that includes three generations of female voters.  Ridgway’s Donna Green, 83, also took part in the Montrose march, where she shared memories of her years of work as one of the very first KidsVoting volunteers in Arizona.

Honoring women’s right to suffrage is not just part of our past, but essential to our future, and the League of Women Voters is non-partisan, national political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government while influencing public policy through education and advocacy. Here in Montrose and Delta counties, the league has a number of upcoming events and forums designed to encourage an active, informed electorate.

On Sept. 11, the Montrose  League welcomes the community to attend “Our Children, Our Future,” at Noon at the Montrose Library Community Room, a presentation by the Yes for Our Schools Committee on the upcoming ballot initiative to expand the financial resources available to Montrose County School District Re-1. The proposed mill levy override would increase taxes in the district by $2.913 million annually for the stated purposes of hiring additional highly-qualified teachers, purchasing instructional and curriculum materials and technology designed to be used in the classroom, enhancing professional development and training for educators, and completing needed maintenance and improvements to classroom and school facilities.

Though Congressman Scott Tipton has cancelled his attendance at a previously confirmed LWV Candidate Forum for U.S. Congressional District Three to be held in Delta County Sept. 23, there will be a candidate forum for the open State House 61 and Senate District 5 seats at Memorial Hall in Hotchkiss at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 7 and a ballot issues forum at 6:30 p.m. at Memorial Hall Oct. 14.

In Montrose, the League presents a ballot issues forum Oct. 2 at noon in the Montrose Library Community Room. Former Montrose League President Karen Connor will give a talk on the upcoming ballot issues at the Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli Forum at 8 a.m. on Oct. 8, and Montrose County voters will have the chance to hear from all four candidates for the Montrose Board of County Commissioners–Republican Glen Davis, Democrat Tammy Theis, and write-in candidates Scott Butler of Montrose and Rob Smith of Olathe have all been invited to take part in a candidate forum set for Oct. 9 in the Montrose City Council Chambers at 6:30 p.m.

“I am thrilled at the participation we are seeing locally this year, and thankful to our tireless league volunteers for getting so much accomplished with such a small team,” Montrose League of Women Voters President Caitlin Switzer said. “We always welcome new members with an interest in working for democracy.”

“As a non-partisan organization, the League of Women Voters has a big commitment to voter education,” Montrose-Delta LWV Vice President and Voter Service Chair Jean Aaro said. “Our Forums allow members of the community to ask questions directly to candidates about issues that interest and concern them.  Each candidate then gets two minutes to respond.  So, it’s not a debate, but truly a unique opportunity to hear, without edits, the candidates’ thoughts on the issues important to us in Delta and Montrose counties.”

Voters can learn more about candidates and issues by accessing the League’s www.VOTE411.org online voters’ guide, which will be up after Sept. 1.

The web site is a place where voters can enter their address, and pull up and print a side-by-side comparison of candidates in the contested races that they will be voting on in the 2014 election, Montrose Vote 411 Chair Karen Connor said.

League volunteers will register voters at various events statewide throughout election season, including on National Voter Registration Day Sept. 23 and at the Informational Insurance Fair in Montrose at the Centennial Room from 9 a.m. to Noon on Oct. 25.

To learn more about membership or upcoming events visit the web site at http://montrose.co.lwvnet.org/, call 970-275-5791 or find them on Facebook.