The Nashville Voter
 Volume 75, No 6-- June 2022
Welcome to this issue of the LWVN Voter. You'll notice that the Emma page design allows you to access the LWVN Calendar by pressing a button at the top of the page! 
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League Events ( 

Saturday, June 18, 2022 from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m. Voter Information Forum with Davidson County Election Commission and League of Women Voters Nashville in Bellevue.  Sponsored by Gloria Hauser, Council Member District 22.  The League of Women Voters Nashville will be participating and registering voters. The Bellevue Regional Community Center is located in One Bellevue Place and is located in 7638A Highway 70 South, Nashville, TN 37221.  
All are welcome! Click here to learn more.
Metro Nashville Council Meetings
It was so great to see so many of you at the annual meeting! We accomplished the business of the LWVN by approving the Strategic Focus, Bylaws, and budget. The new slate of officers on the board was also approved. Linda McFadyen-Ketchum from Moms Demand Action was there to present a thank you to our group in recognition of our longstanding partnership. The Molly Todd award was given to Susan Mattson, a dedicated member who has served the LWVN and her community for many years.
After the meeting, we visited the Votes for Women Room at the Downtown Public Library. If you haven’t had a chance, I encourage you to go!
I want to thank the board members that are leaving the board this year:
  • Jami Oakley and Mary Claire Dismukes, thank you for your advocacy over the last year regarding school funding and other education legislation. You helped us stay informed and understand these complex issues.
  • Barbara Gay, thank you for your many years of service on the board. We will miss your expertise and wisdom.
  • Karen Hernan, thank you for the many hours watching council meetings to keep us informed. We appreciate how you reinvigorated this important role on the board.
  • Carole Kenner, thank you for your creativity, flexibility, and your expansive connections in the community. Hot Topics thrived under your leadership!
Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not thank Co-President, Madeline Garr. Thank you for your incredible leadership during the last couple of very challenging years. You led our group as we learned more about Zoom than we ever wanted, and with your guidance and leadership we were able to focus on the goals and the mission of the League during unusual circumstances. We are profoundly grateful for your leadership and dedication!  
Lara Webb

Who was Molly Todd?

Mary “Molly” Hart Todd was a powerful and effective leader not afraid to push the boundaries of citizen advocacy in public policy. Her first job was as a social worker in birth control clinics in New Jersey and in Kentucky.  In 1939, she moved to Nashville with her husband, James Todd, and began her work as a volunteer.  

In 1948, she helped reinvigorate the League of Women Voters of Nashville, which had lost momentum after the passage of the 19th Amendment.  Under her leadership, the LWVN mobilized support for a host of public policy issues.  She engaged the League in vigorous campaigns to develop government support to ease overcrowding in county schools, improve library services, establish a family service agency, and invest in child welfare programs.  The League also published the city’s first brochure on voter education, worked to abolish the poll tax, and engaged in efforts to consolidate city and county government services.

Todd joined and usually held positions of leadership in an impressive number of organizations, and in every group, she sought an agenda dedicated to social and political advancement. In 1962, she became a plaintiff in the Baker v. Carr case that came before the Supreme Court.  The decision of this case by the Supreme Court led to the “one person, one vote” standard for legislative reapportionment.

In 1995, the Nashville League established the annual Molly Todd Award. It is given in recognition of a member of the League who has followed in Molly Todd’s footsteps, providing leadership and service to both the League and the voters of Nashville. And it identifies someone who shows the same bold spirit and optimism that Molly always demonstrated.
Molly Todd Award Recipient 2022: Susan Mattson
Susan Mattson earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Urban Studies from Rhodes College in Memphis. She went on to receive a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with an emphasis on Public Policy Analysis from the University of Kentucky. She has spent her career researching, writing, and explaining to public officials how various parts of government could work better for the citizens. While working as a Principal Legislative Research Analyst for the State Comptroller’s Office, she took big complicated subjects and boiled them down into easier to understand conclusions. She became highly respected by members of the General Assembly and even Governors for her knowledge and understanding of complex topics such as transportation funding, immigration, judicial caseloads, and senior long-term care. 

By her own admission, she prefers to operate behind the scenes, and without Susan’s dedication and advocacy we would be falling short on one of our core missions, voter education. Her tireless efforts with Vote 411 have helped make this an important tool for the community. Every election requires tremendous work to contact candidates and ensure their participation. Susan’s experience with Vote 411 is known all over the state, and she has spent time meeting with members of other leagues in Tennessee to help them improve their Vote 411 information and outreach. Over the last few years in Nashville, Vote 411 has been used by more and more people to inform their choices before heading to the polls to vote. In the last local primary, the system had 1600 new users which is incredible for a municipal primary!

In addition to making Vote 411 a success, Susan has also served as the League’s treasurer for several years which is a major commitment. In addition to her work with the League, she has served as a board member on Nashville’s Emergency Communications Board since 1995. She is also a wife, mother, and grandmother.

Congratulations, Susan!

Molly Todd Award Past Recipients

Debby Gould, President of the League of Women Voters Tennessee presents Molly Todd pins to Pat Post, Marian Ott, and Karen Weeks, previous winners of the Molly Todd award.
Membership Committee
By Reba Holmes
Annual Membership Drive 
It's that time again....Our annual membership drive began on May 1, 2022.

Membership allows you to share a year’s worth of experiences promoting democracy, educating others in the community, participating in political discourse, registering new voters, to name a few. Plus, the annual membership includes membership to the national, state, and local LWV organizations. Details regarding the various support levels may be found on our secure website   

We Are Looking For Volunteers
We are thrilled to announce that we have established a Membership Committee to provide guidance during the annual membership drive and develop other vital programs related to membership. We invite you to join the new committee to serve as a communication lead, recruiting lead, social media lead, etc.

Membership Committee Job Description: 

  • The committee will provide a strategic vision to increase membership, focusing on effective, comprehensive growth, new member integration, and membership retention.  
  • Develop a program designed to mentor new members, specifically young adult members
  • Increase awareness regarding the League throughout our community by working with other portfolio managers to develop a communication and outreach program
  • Develop annual renewal implementation procedures, timeline, communication, and follow-up
  • Develop a strategy to recruit potential members across various demographics
    Work in partnership with other portfolio managers, e.g., Voter Services, Education, Metro Council, etc. 
Meeting Schedule: The initial meeting will be held in August via Zoom. We will meet monthly after the first meeting.  

If you are interested in serving on the committee please send an email expressing your interest to

Share Your Comments 
We want to hear from you.  Share your comments regarding why join the League of Women Voters? Protecting Voting Rights, Fairness in Voting, etc.  Email your comments to

Hot Topics
By Committee Co-Chairs Karen Wieckert and Melissa Hanson
Hot Topics took a vacation in June and will again in July! Organizers Melissa Hanson and Karen Wieckert are working on a slate of speakers starting the first Friday of August. More information is coming soon!
Health Care/Public Health Committee
By Committee Co-Chairs Constance Caldwell and Claire Sullivan

The Public Health Portfolio Committee had an opportunity to meet several weeks ago with Dr. Morgan McDonald, who spoke to us about some of the population health priorities of the Tennessee Department of Health.  This was just before she was appointed Interim Commissioner of the Department, so we focused mostly on the areas she was focused on as then an Assistant Commissioner--maternal and child health, and population health.  She provided a thoughtful and sensitive overview. 

On the plus side,  Tennessee has just expanded coverage to mothers not only through their pregnancy and immediate (3 month) post-partum period, but for the first year following birth, Yet there are still many areas of our state where obstetric services are not easily accessible, and where access to mental health care is limited.  The Department of Health will be exploring developing doula and community health worker training and certification programs to provide education, outreach, support and coordination of care. 

Currently, access to TennCare is available only to low-income women who are disabled,  pregnant, or caring for children and meet income eligibility standards.  We discussed the benefits of being able to provide comprehensive health and mental health care services to all Tennesseans who cannot afford private insurance, the need for paid family leave, and for school based programs that promote lifelong health, mental health, and social, emotional learning. 

It was truly a pleasure to meet Dr. McDonald, and we are excited to know that her expertise and vision have been recognized in her promotion to the interim Commissioner position.
Environment Committee
By Education Co-Chairs Russanne Buchi-Fotre and Barbara Gay
The Environmental Committee is happy to share a change in Nashville’s residential zoning codes approved by the Metro Council that will help secure greater protections for environmentally sensitive natural areas.  Council member Angie Henderson was the lead sponsor for 2 bills that will revamp zoning regulations for ‘cluster lots’ under a newly created Conservation Development umbrella. This was strongly supported by the Nashville Tree Conservation Corps that provided case study analysis and supported legislation in crafting and amending these bills. This is a great step forward for environmental responsibility in Nashville.  

Thanks to all those involved in this process.  Together we CAN make a difference.
Metro Council Meeting
By Committee Co-Chairs Pat McCauley and Jack McFadden
Metro Council has been working on the Operating Budget.  Public hearings were held.  43 people spoke for affordable housing, services for the homeless, and Metro employees, especially Metro schools support staff, pleaded for more than the 4% cost of living raise in the budget.

After much controversy, on first reading, metro council voted to purchase a state property at 88 Hermitage Ave.  This is the old School of the Blind building. It is hoped to preserve the building and use the property for affordable housing.  Bills must pass 3 readings to become permanent.

ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) money, $2.6 million, was approved to provide legal representation to low and moderate-income Davidson County renters to defend against landlord eviction.  This funding includes outreach and education. Passed on first reading.

ARPA money, $1.8 million, was approved to expand critical immigrant legal services. Passed on first reading.

An ordinance to create an Office Homeless Services has passed on second reading.   It is still being amended to further define how the director will be selected, how independent the office will be, and how it communicates between the council and the mayor.
Williamson County Update
By Committee Chair Bette Holmes
Stained glass windows. Framed original art. Consumer Report. Evening and weekend hours. Notary public. Jigsaw puzzles. Hotspot device loans. Outdoor patio seating. In what one place are these found together? Could it possibly be a public library? 

On July 20, John P. Holt’s Library Director, Susan Earl, will speak via Zoom to LWVWC program attendees. She will give an overview of the wide-ranging services and programs offered at the John P. Holt Brentwood Library facility.

Director Earl earned both her B.A. and M.A. in Library and Information Science from the University of Tennessee and since then has served in a variety of positions in North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia and Tennessee. Before she began her position at the John P. Holt Library, she worked at the Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library. In 2003 Ms. Earl became Main Library Administrator of the Downtown Metro Nashville Public Library and in 2010 she accepted Directorship at the John P. Holt Library in Brentwood.

Please join us for this informative LWVWC program via Zoom, on Wednesday, July 20, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Click here to register or visit the John P. Holt Brentwood Library website calendar page.

Please let us know if there is a death in your family so that the membership may be aware of your loss.
Thank you!
Stay Informed about Upcoming Calendar Events!
If you get the electronic version of the Voter, we want you to know that the upcoming calendar events are available on our wonderful, new website –  On The calendar scrolls on the events of the current and upcoming events thanks to Tracy Depp, who keeps the calendar current.  If you haven’t taken a look, do so to make sure you mark your calendar so you won’t miss a thing!
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2021-2022 LWVN Board of Directors
Co-Presidents: Madeline Garr and Lara Webb
1st Vice Presidents: Carole Kenner and Karen Weikert
Secretary: Elise Lamar
Treasurer Susan Mattson

Portfolio Chairs
Communications: Ophelia Doe and Jack McFadden
Community Connections: Sabina Mohyuddin and Kate Benhoff
Education: Jami Oakley and Mary Claire Dismukes
Environment: Barbara Gay and Russanne Buchi-Fotre
Fundraising: Anne Marie Farmer
Health Care/Public Health:  Constance Caldwell and Clare Sullivan 
Membership: Reba Holmes 
Metro Government:  Pat McCauley and Karen Hernan
Voter Services: Beth Gordan, Alison Haymer, and Emily Grohs
Williamson County Representative:  June Bond
Nominating Committee Chair: Senator Brenda Gilmore

Nominating Committee Members: Betsy Walkup, Constance Caldwell, Hasina Mohyuddin, June Bond, and Brenda Wynn

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