On October 20, the League of Women Voters hosted a panel discussion on the state of democracy with four distinguished members of Congress. The panelists included Congresswomen Terri Sewell (AL-7), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Lauren Underwood (IL-14), and Nikema Williams (GA-5). Invitations were extended to Congresswomen from all parties.
Moderated by LWV CEO Virginia Kase Solomón and welcomed by LWV Board President Dr. Deborah Ann Turner, the panel discussed the challenges facing our democracy in connection with LWV’s 4-pronged Women Power Democracy programmatic focus. Women Power Democracy focuses on: addressing mis- and disinformation; increasing voter participation; creating fair redistricting processes; and protecting voters’ rights.
During the discussion, each Congresswoman shared insights on the importance of moving voting rights legislation forward in the Senate and ultimately to the president’s desk for signature. The four panelists are all House of Representative leaders on democracy issues in Congress and voted in favor of final passage of key pieces of legislation like the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.
The following are highlights from remarks shared by participants at the event.
We have to take ownership of our own democracy and our own part that we play in that democracy. Voting is the single most important thing you can do. So you have to know what your laws are now. Educate your community to go to the polls now. Then elect people who will do the right thing and be fair-minded in their drawing of maps.
— Congresswoman Terri Sewell (AL-7) on the importance of voters to get involved in fair redistricting processes.
Our role really is to call upon the social media companies to be more responsive. They need to be required by law, and fined by law, if they do not take the steps necessary to ensure that those who utilize their sites comply with their user agreements. And we have got to recognize our obligation in Congress to regulate them much more vigorously.
—Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14) regarding the responsibility of the social media companies to address the challenges of mis- and disinformation.
In many households, it’s Mom who is encouraging you to register to vote. Mom is reminding you to fill out that absentee ballot while you’re in college. Mom is reminding you to participate in our democracy. The role of women in our families, in making sure that we’re healthy, making sure that our country is healthy, is one that is unmatched.
— Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) on the role of women in American democracy, especially as mothers.
This is critical work, and I never thought that, sitting in the seat that Congressman John Lewis held, that I would still be fighting for the things that he was literally willing to put his life on the line for. So, thank you for being democracy and freedom fighters in 2021, when we shouldn’t have to.
— Congresswoman Nikema Williams (GA-5), who represents Congressman John Lewis’ former district, on the power of freedom fighters in passing federal voting standards.
It’s our job to work for women voters, to fight for them, [and] to keep the dream of democracy alive so that we can have fair elections, know what our candidates stand for, and hold them accountable for the decisions they make on our behalf. When we fight for and protect women, we fight for and protect America, because women power democracy.
— Dr. Deborah Ann Turner, LWV Board President, regarding the purpose of this discussion and the work of Women Power Democracy.
Watch and share the full panel discussion below.
The Latest from the League
‘Women Power Democracy,’ the new programmatic focus of the League of Women Voters, will advance a stronger, more representative American democracy.
On March 3, 2022, from 12-1 ET, LWV hosted a discussion featuring voices and perspectives of the League of Women Voters, SuperMajority, LULAC, and Black Voters Matter.
We covered the intersection of gender and race in the voting rights movement, fighting deliberate barriers to voting, and how to build community power, dismantle disinformation, and get out the vote in 2022.
The League was founded to empower women to fully participate in our democracy, and today, we continue that work alongside our allies who focus on empowering other marginalized communities.
To that end, we’re investing more than $5 million this year alone into a new programmatic focus — Women Power Democracy — to support initiatives that will help us realize a stronger, more representative American democracy.
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