LWV of the Copper Country History

LWV of the Copper Country History

1960 - January, after a year of work achieving provisional status, the Hancock-Houghton League of Women Voters became an official local League with 65 members. The name was changed to League of Women Voters of the Copper Country in 1968.

60s - Adopted positions on local education, home rule, Ho. Co. Medical Care facility (did first advocacy campaign in support of millage); began observer corps.

70s - Published "Know Your Towns"; advocated for changes in the conduct of county board of commissioners meetings for more openness, obtained a legal opinion from MI Attorney General calling for more public access to deliberations. Due to no response, LWVCC initiated formal monitoring of the board. Following passage of MI Open Meetings Act 1976 LWVCC charged the board with violations. Observer was called as a witness in case brought on that issue by a fired county employee and testified. Daily Mining Gazette article: "A six-person jury took the word of a League of Women Voters member over that of the board members that the meeting had been closed to the public." This suit was reported by DMG to be "...apparently the first in MI in which public officials have been penalized for violation of the open meetings act." During the same time period there was a controversy of voting irregularities and league members were involved in an ad hoc committee that brought a civil suit to bring attention to voting and jury errors that were found to have occurred.

80s - Investigated and monitored refuse dumping on hillside to Portage Canal. Supported research on high priority listing for Torch Lake Clean-Up as a Super Fund Site. Adopted Keweenaw Waterway position. Participated in a pay-equity meeting in Lansing.

90s - Held a community forum attended by 300 citizens, US Rep. Stupak, members of the medical community on proposed national health care reform (imitative chaired by first lady Hillary Clinton).

2005 to 2008 LWVCC conducted a study of the conditions at the Houghton County Jail and adopted a position in support of building a new facility. Supported the County Plan published by the Ho. Co. Planning Commission. Held public forums for candidates and published the Voters Guide in the local newspaper.

2009 to 2012 Member, co-chaired the Houghton Co. Justice Center study group which published its finding and an architectural design for a new county facility to house the jail, district court, and sheriff's office. A millage proposal for the building of the facility was defeated. Did public information programs hosting presenter from WUP Health Dept. to increase understanding of the new Affordable Care Act healthcare program. Held public forums for candidates and published the Voters Guide in the local newspaper.

2013 to 2018 Studied Home Schooling in the Copper Country Studied availability of public transportation in the Houghton and Baraga area and adopted a position in support of adequate funding for coordinated regional and local public transportation. Offered public education forums on redistricting, the Electoral College, and National Popular Vote Initiative. Held public forums for candidates, ballot proposals and published the Voters Guide in the local newspaper. Participated annually in voter registration efforts and distributed informational materials on MTU campus regarding the pay gap on "Equal Pay Day".

2018 - Activated the Jail Study committee in response to County Board of Commissioners plans for a new jail addition proposal. Conducted public meetings and efforts to gather public input regarding a broader scope of the needs of the jail, courthouse and sheriff office facilities. Public education on proposed national constitutional convention.

2019 - Member appointed to the task force by county commissioners to address the county jail issue. Community education programs on the Open Meetings Act, governing the Townships.

2020 – Using a “Making Democracy Work” Grant from LWVMI Education Fund, LWVCC presented 8 programs including the kick-off hosting MI Secy. Of State Benson in Hancock. These covered new registering and voting rules in MI, the Independent Citizen’s Redistricting Commission, and the 2020 Census.

Partnered with riseUP to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote. As part of that, we brought the exhibit “Petticoat Patriots: How MI Women Won the Vote” for display at the Carnegie Museum. Due to the pandemic, a virtual tour was created and posted on the museum website.