Census and Redistricting Forum

In anticipation of the 2020 Census and subsequent Reapportionment that is the foundation for Congressional and Legislative Redistricting, the League of Women Voters has encouraged Leagues throughout the county to be involved and educate citizens about these important topics. The Washington State League took steps to do so by establishing a grant program to facilitate local League educational events.  Thurston County League was privileged to have received one of these Forum in a Box Grants. Those funds were instrumental in enabling the public meeting that is described below.mp

On January 15, 2020 Thurston League members and members of the public gathered at the Olympia Center for a three-hour Census and Redistricting Forum.  The aim of this forum was to help people learn what they need to know about these two vital, but infrequent, aspects of our democracy.  The presenters focused on how the census works, how the census affects all of us, and what citizens can do to help, as well as the nuts and bolts of redistricting, and why it all matters. The program began with a very informative presentation by Lisa McLean, the Census Coordinator for the State Office of Financial Management. She offered a lively, very informative presentation that laid out the importance of the Census, as well as some of the problems and pitfalls that must be faced to get a complete and accurate count of everyone on April 1, 2020.

Following Lisa's talk, we were told about local efforts to address some of those problems and pitfalls. Sherry Sullivan, a volunteer with the Centro Integral Educativo Latino de Olympia (CIELO), and Lisa Crowley, the Census Area Manager for the South Puget Sound chapter of the Asian Pacific-Islander Coalition, both described activities that their organizations are doing to reach people who might be reluctant to participate in the Census. 


An appeal for people to sign up to be census takers was then made by Karen Burke who works for the US Census Bureau.  Click there to see a video of the 2020 Census program that was taped by Thurston Community Media (TCM).


The focus of the forum then shifted to Redistricting.  Alison McCaffree and Dean Foster worked together to provide an entertaining look at this rather complex topic.  While they both mainly spoke from the perspective of the Washington State Redistricting Commission, they also shared information about examples of less successful approaches to Redistricting.





2019 Benefit Luncheon

The Education Fund Benefit Luncheon, held at the Indian Summers Country Club on October 26, 2019, was a great success.  

This is our annual fundraising event, as well as an opportunity to hear inspiring words from a government or community leader, present awards to individuals or organizations who make a difference in our community, and generally celebrate our work.

League members and friends attending the Luncheon were able to mingle and visit during check-in and lunch,, as well as while checking out Silent Auction items. While a portion of the registration for lunch, and donations that were so kindly provided, are for the benefit of the Education Fund, the bargain filled Silent Auction was held again this year to raise funds for our League’s operating account.   

We took a new approach to awarding our Citizenship Awards this year.  Rather than giving this award to an individual, two separate organizations were recognized for their contributions to our community.  They are:  CIELO, an Immigrant Support Organization, and Cascadia Research Collective, founded by John Calambokidis, a Marine Mammal Biology and Marine Ecology research group.  Click Here, or click on the ABOUT/Awards & Honors page to learn more about the award recipients.

We were honored to have Michelle Gonzalez serve as our keynote speaker.  Michelle is the inaugural director of the Washington State Women’s Commission, which was established slightly over a year ago. She spoke about the purpose of the Commission, which is to improve the well-being of women, by enabling them to participate fully in all fields of endeavor, assisting them in obtaining governmental services, and promoting equal compensation and fairness in employment for women.  It is also the purpose of the Women’s Commission to address issues relevant to the problems and needs of women, such as domestic violence, childcare, child support, sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, equal compensation and job pathways opportunities in employment, and the specific needs of women of color.  

Given the limited resources of the Commission, Michelle has called on her extensive experience in both public and private settings to work with the 13 Commissioners to make sure they focus their efforts on a limited number of priorities.  She told us this is being done through a committee structure related to Economic Opportunity, Economic Security, and Safety.  These are the areas where they were active in advocacy during the last legislative session.  In addition to looking for opportunities to influence policy related to their priorities,  Joint Taskforce for a Centennial Celebration will also be busy in the coming year. 

MC Kelsey May Crane presents Keynote Speaker Michelle Gonzalez a copy of the League of Women Voters' textbook, The State We're In: Washington.


A big thank-you for their GOOD WORK goes to the Luncheon Planning Committee, who once again did a fantastic job.  Special thanks also go to our Ambassador for the Education Fund, Jill Severn, and the Master of Ceremonies, Kelsey Mae Crane.



Port of Olympia Candidate Forum

On Monday, September 30, 2019, the Thurston County League of Women Voters hosted a public forum for the candidates for Port of Olympia Commissioner.  Although we were not able to video tape this event, we are providing links to the websites of the two candidates who will be on the November 5, 2019 General Election ballot.

Joe Downing -- click here

Helen Wheatley -- click here

Suffragists of Color

"Women Vote NOW: Suffragists of Color Who Made a Difference" 

One August 26, LWVTC co-sponsored this program with the Olympia chapters of NOW and Zonta. Click here to see the TCM videotape.  

2019 Summer Picnic

It was a grand day for LWVTC to have a picnic in the Percival Park Rose Garden.  Not only were we able to acknowledge and thank several of our long-time members, we enjoyed good company and fine food.

And, thank you Rita for these fun pictures.




In-Person Candidate Forum -- Olympia Mayor

On July 12, 2019, an in-person forum for the office of Mayor of Olympia was co-hosted by the Thurston County League of Women Voters and The Olympian.  The four candidates were asked a series of questions predetermined by the LWVTC, as well as questions from the audience.  

A video-tape recording of the forum can be viewed if you check here. 


The candidates are, from left to right in this picture: Cheryl L. Shelby, Brenden Clerget, David Ross, Nathaniel Jones.



Streams, Salmon, and Orcas


Where’s the Water: Streams, Salmon & Orcas 

The final community meeting to explore this topic and collect information for the update of the LWVTC Water Study was held on May 7, 2019.   Click here to see a Video of this meeting.

Paula Holroyde, Water Study Committee Chair, welcome folks to the Olympia Center and thanks all who have made the Water Study Public Meetings such a success. 




ANN MARIE PEARCE, Education Outreach Specialist, Thurston County Planning Water Division: “HOW CLEAN IS YOUR STREAM?

GABE MADEL, Fish Biologist, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife: “WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH SALMON IN THURSTON COUNTY?”


 KIRSTEN HARMA, Lead Entity Coordinator, Chehalis Basin Partnership, Department of Natural Resources, Chehalis Tribe:  “CURRENT STRATEGIES TO ENHANCE SALMON HABITAT RESTORATION”

CINDY HANSON, Education Coordinator, Orca Network, Whidbey Island, Washington: “WHAT ARE WE DOING TO PROTECT OUR ENDANGERED ORCAS?”


To find out more about the Thurston League's involvement in Thurston County water issues, please take a look at our water study page by clicking here.              



Donate Join Contact Us