Making Democracy Work

Honoring our 50 Year Members

Annual Membership Event


With Thoughts About Millie, our Star of the Day!

Millie started her professional career as a teacher -- teaching second grade and first grade for five years before her marriage. Thereafter, she performed the most important role as a wife, mother of three, community worker and eventually a grandmother of six. She took the care of her family and her community seriously.

Millie wasn't just any community resident. She first became involved with the League when she and her husband moved into a new development. Homes were being built quickly in her area near the line separating St. Paul and Minneapolis. It was just after WWII and we were part of the group she said -- "building homes and having babies. We wanted to see that the development was reasonable and meeting people's needs and that there would be a good council guiding the growth of the new area." There was so much to be decided and, thus, Millie became involved with the League. She says, "We needed to know the best ways to serve the people, to have open communication -- listening to people, repcresenting the people in a non-partisan way and taking the information to the council." Millie says, it seems "the more crowded you get, the less the niceties. People need to be willing to work together." Oh, to have more Millie's today in this heated partisan atmosphere!!Millie served as president of her League in Minnesota and vice president of the NW Maricopa County League. In Millie's words, " League members have their feet on the ground. It is a great organization with people who are trying to do their best and to make everything better and better." She says, "The League provides a nice logical way to approach things."

We salute you Millie for being a strong supporter of the League of Women Voters for 50 years. Your commitment to the League is an inspiration to all of us.


Dr Lila Schwartz was born and raised in Chicago and started her university education at Monmouth, Illinois college. She was a fish out of water in that rural environment, but luckily, a favorite high school teacher and confidante made it possible for her to get a scholarship to Northwestern, where she majored in languages, learning Spanish and German. Thinking she might be of use as a translator at the UN, she found that the State Department wanted her in Intelligence in Tokyo. So, off she went and there she met her husband as well as the spoken Japanese language.

The couple moved to New York City while Mr. Schwartz completed a Master's degree at Columbia. Not that long after, they found themselves living in New Jersey, then Dearborn, Michigan raising a family, two sons and a daughter, along the way. Lila's restive intelligence nudged her first to seek out stimulation via a Great Decisions course, given by the League of Women Voters and there, the 50 year journey began.

In time, she returned to academia, earning first her Masters' and then a Doctorate of Political Science at Wayne State University. Between stints in Lima, Peru, where she taught English to 4th through 6 graders and after another several year interlude in Venezuela, Dr. Schwartz settled IN for a career at University of Detroit. Even in 1980, she was the only female professor of Political Science. She made a Special Point of disciplining her students to consider carefully both sides of a question, whether Constitutional or commonplace--- a reflex that has served the League well. She also notes with pride her involvement with the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) and their collective bargaining efforts.

Over the course of 28 moves, including two periods of residence in Surprise, Arizona, Dr. Schwartz has generously given her time and talent again and again. Her League and civic achievements are many and diverse:

Through her League membership she has held positions as director of: -voter service, the newsletter, the political action committee and petitions, the 2001 Redistricting effort, the Growth mgt task force(which works to limit suburban developmental sprawl) and also the Legislative Day committee, a state league project to familiarize the public with their government

But her League accomplishments hardly stop there. She has been: -the State President of LWV AZ --Twice! -And President of LWVNWM (Northwest Maricopa) three times! 1x of which was with Jean Carr as well as -the League representative at the legislature

----But among her most cherished accomplishments, she ranks the push for clean elections foremost. She noted that of major importance was not only spending hours and hours working with other dedicated Leaguers writing, talking, or down at the Legislature, but that a big part of the battle was keeping certain high profile Legislators subdued! As president of the State League, and spokesperson for Arizonans for Clean Elections (aka ACE), behind which she was a prime motivator (along with several other dedicated Leaguers), Clean Elections passed! eliciting notice in the New York Times, where Dr. Schwartz was quoted, saying "If it can be done in Arizona, it can be done anywhere!"

Here in our local community she has been just as busy: working with the West Valley Mayors on the Luke AFB Restoration Council and serving as a P.O.R.A. board member and it's representative to the State Legislature

Because political education has always been a life passion, she has -Tutored at Dysart Community Center and -Taught classes at Rise (Rio Salado) on Constitutional Law/ How the govt works and /How the public can take an Active Role. She has even recorded Legal textbooks for the blind!

And once, involved in an LWV/AAUW joint program teaching young women about female achievement in government, the group went not just to the capitol, but to out to meet other women in government. Dr. Schwartz remembered with a chuckle that the admonition with the most impact came from Surprise, AZ mayor Joan Shafer, who practically commanded the young women t "Stay in school! and "Don't get pregnant!" Thank you Dr. Schwartz for your fifty year association without the League of Women Voters.


It is a pleasure to introduce our honorary life time member, Georganne Sears. Georganne joined the league in (year?) in Webster Grove, MO. Her goal in joining the league was participating in political activity. As a Republican in a Democratic state she believed this was the best way to make a difference.

She is proudest of the League of Women Voters' record in activities to preserve and protect Mother Nature. She was part of a group of Leaguers that rode U. S. Coast Guard boats on the Mississippi River in the 1960's to protest the pollution of the river. This activity generated news coverage that prompted the cleanup of lead levels in the water.

Georganne has served the League in many ways. She was president of the Webster Group League of Women Voters for three separate terms. She has also served as president of our Northwest Maricopa County League. She has attended two national conventions. Jimmy Carter spoke to the one of the conventions. Because Georganne disagreed with President Carter's position on Cuban refugees, she says she didn't stand in support of President Carter but rather in support of the Marine Guard that accompanied him.

During her years in Webster Grove, Georganne marched in two civil rights marches. The first of them was in support of the annexation of North Webster, an African-American community. The subsequent annexation aided the end of segregation in Missouri. The second march was in support of the female garment workers union in St Louis, MO.


It was great fun interviewing Mary. I found out that she, like some of us--me included--is a retired teacher. She taught high school Speech and English in her native Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Mary joined the League in Harrisburg 50 years ago because she was interested in the League's program in getting out the vote --she remembers going out doorbelling on dark, cold mornings to encourage people to exercise their franchise. Also, Mary was on the debating team at Penn State University, and became interested in public speaking. The Harrisburg League maintained a Speaker's Bureau on which she served, giving talks about the League's nonpartisan stands on issues of the day to local business and community groups.

Mary's special interest concerning Arizona league positions centers on her opinion that the League's primary focus should be on governmental issues, rather than on, say, environmental issues. She points out that in Arizona, for example, environmental decisions were made long ago and little can be done now to change things. The citrus farms and cotton fields were turned into housing developments. Roads and highways constructed back then encouraged more and more use of automobiles and more pollution. She thinks that the League can be more effective on issues of government.

Mary has held several positions on her local Board of Directors. Would you be surprised to learn that these included Get Our the vote and Speaker's Bureau committees?

You've already heard a little about Mary's personal life. Here's more: she's almost a native Arizonan, having come here in 1981. She's been a member of Temple Beth Shalom since then, and has served on the Social Action Committee as well as serving on the Board in several capacities. She outlasted three Rabbis! Mary has been married twice, now widowed. After her second husband passed away in 1998, she decided to stay in Arizona and not return to Harrisburg. she wanted to make a new life in her adopted state. She has seen a great many changes in our area over the years, some of them not so good. She enjoys the wide variety of activities available here, and is regular attender and NWV league meetings.

Her thoughts about the greatest challenges to the league include her disappointment in the fate of the Clean Elections law. She also regrets that after the Supreme Court's ruling, big corporations and businesses will have a disproportionate influence on politics.

Mary, you are a great inspiration to us all!


Lee joined the League sixty years ago when she was 12!

She was working in Washington, D. C. on K Street for a big lobbying firm. If that doesn't give you the fever, it is difficult to imagine what would. If you want to get on to the ground floor for women's issues, her experience would certainly serve as the "mother lode".

Lee also worked full-time for the State Department, so she didn't have time to hold an office.

After she moved to Acton, MA, she worked to help clean up the drinking water that had become contaminated by the big business on the waterfront. She became famous when the Daily Beacon's editor, Mr. Earl Tuttle, called the League a "Commie Pinks Front." So to get the attention of the polluter, W. H. Grace & Co., they sued and the water became the cleanest in MA. Subsequently, John Travolta made a hit movie, called "A Civil Action", about all those "going ons". The book written on the issue received an award from the national book critics.

In 1965, Lee put out a pamphlet, "Know Your Town". It may have been that writing experience which served as the seeds to help write the Clean Elections bill, to become a precinct committee person and ruin her chances forever of becoming an officer in the League. Her love of politics and admiration for the League has been her biggest challenge in her life.