More than 50 community members attended the League of Women Voters interest meeting June 26.
The group is a nonpartisan organization that is devoted to educating and helping to equip voters.
Diane Robinson, who is part of the group, previously told the Log Cabin Democrat that the organization hasn’t been active since the 1980s but there seemed to be a lot of interest in reestablishing it in Conway again and the interest meeting would help determine if that was a possible option or not.
Robinson said they weren’t sure what to expect but the meeting ended up going really well.
She said they talked about the purpose of League of Women Voters and what it would take to get it up and running again, including the need for at least 15 due-paying members.
“We had way more than that,” Robinson said.
As a result of the positive interest, she said, they are able to move forward now and have already hit the ground running, which is important because they want to build on that interest momentum and don’t want to lose people who wanted to engage with the group.
Robinson said they have already formed and established multiple committees to start working to be ready for election come fall.
“We’ve got the energy and the interest and we need to take advantage of that,” she said.
Included in that is a committee to work on bylines and nonpartisan policies and a leadership committee to help put together a board that will lead the organization — people who are not affiliated with any party of candidate, uninvolved in any politics.
For example, Robinson said, because she serves as a Conway Board of Education member, she would likely be ineligible to serve on the new board.
She said while it isn’t impossible to find people who fall under that criteria, it would be a decision that a person would have to make and commit to 100 percent.
Other committees, Robinson said, include one that is working on putting together a candidate forum in the fall for local races as well.
The meeting not only helped them establish a plan but also revealed how much of a lack of resources were there in the first place, she said, and to be part of giving people a more cohesive, non-partisan source is exciting.
“I think it’s really important to have a source of info,” Robinson said.
She added that the education on the issues is crucial but equally as important, is getting people registered to vote, referring to voting turnout in the past as “abysmal.”
Conway’s Faye Shepherd and her husband were one of many participants who attended the meeting.
“I’m so excited about this for the women of Faulkner County,” she told the LCD in a Facebook message. “There is a true need for a non-partisan platform and since I believe that it will be women who can make the positive impact going forward, it is time for the League of Women Voters.”
Shephard said they both plan on getting involved with the group.
“We want to be a vehicle for civil political debate and a means for knowing something more about candidates than who had the most signs and the meanest attack ads,” she said. “We want to know what candidates plan to do, what led them to run, what their experience is, and what their ties are to the community.”
The organization is open to those 16 years of age and older and to both men and women.