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League of Women Voters making a comeback

January 11, 1998

League of Women Voters making a comeback

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer

About 35 members of the newly reorganized Washington County League of Women Voters held their first major function since disbanding nearly four years ago when they hosted a legislative breakfast Saturday for eight members of the county's delegation to the General Assembly.

The league, once an active force in politics and local elections until it disbanded in 1994, is determined to make a comeback in Washington County, one of its leaders said Saturday.

Elizabeth Early, past president and now adviser for the local chapter, said about 50 members have joined since a reorganizational meeting in October. Early said she's hoping for an eventual membership of more than 100.

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In its heyday the League had about 115 members and was one of the most active chapters in the state, she said.

Margaret Comstock, who Early said is "the mother of the Washington County League of Women Voters," helped organize the group in 1964.

A retired teacher, Comstock said joining t the League is the best way to learn what is going on in government and the community. Members used to attend County Commission and other government agency meetings.

Early said the league went into decline because of changing lifestyles. Women started to work more hours leaving them less time to volunteer. Also, she said, people are becoming more involved in single-issue special interest groups.

Still, she said, interest in the league is picking up. Saturday's breakfast with the legislators was held to "let people know that we're back. We have a lot of work to do. We need to register voters, set up candidate forums, let people know what their elected officials are doing and publish our voter guide," she said.

She also said the league will soon publish its "Know Your County" handbook, a list of government and community agency functions. The league's newest member, Florence Riedesel of Hagerstown, signed up at Saturday's breakfast.

"I joined because I need an accurate, unbiased and detailed look at what my elected officials are doing," Riedesel said.

The league has a home page on the Internet that can be reached at http://www.bcpl.lib.md.us/lwv.

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