Political Groups: Raising votes for the GOP
(Editor’s note: this is part one of a series intended to provide information about local grassroots political groups and their roles in the 2000 elections. Look for part II of the series, featuring the North Tahoe Democratic Club, next week.)Get ready to pull out your campaign buttons – election season is here.To help residents make informed national, statewide and local decisions, grassroots political groups such as the Truckee-Tahoe Republican Women, Federated (TTRWF) are stepping up their efforts to educate the public.Formed in March 1994, Truckee-Tahoe Republican Women, Federated held a meeting Sept. 21 at OB’s Pub & Restaurant to discuss State Propositions 32 through 39. Each Proposition will be included on the November ballot.Vice President Nancy Lungren and Bulletin Editor Karen Meyer presented each Proposition, and read descriptions provided by officials from the California Federation of Republican Women.”It was a helpful meeting,” Secretary Elena Brady said. “It accomplished what we needed… because I don’t think a lot of people read those Propositions.”The Truckee-Tahoe Republican Women, Federated is a local chapter of a larger state and national political group called the Federation of Republican Women. There are nearly 100,000 members nationwide and 2,000 unit clubs.The Truckee-Tahoe chapter has 35 members and 30 associate members; despite their name, the club does include several men as associate members.”Our main goal is to educate. We do Truckee-Tahoe Propositions, we do profiles, and we’ve had focused projects,” TTRWF President Mavis Bowes said. “In our meeting on Oct. 19 we plan to have all of the Republican candidates running for local offices give presentations.”Bowes said the primary focus of the club is to educate the public, register voters and get people involved.Founding President Sharine Drake explained that Bowes was instrumental in creating the Truckee group in 1994.”[Bowes] was a longtime Federation member in Los Angeles. She and a group of other Republican women got a voter list and called all the Republican households to get an idea of how many people would be interested,” Drake said. “The response was good.”Soon thereafter the group organized an official meeting and elected officials.”Mavis didn’t know that many people at the time, but she had been very active with political groups before. She wanted to start a group here. There were already groups in Plumas and Sierra Counties,” Drake said.A few years later women from Tahoe City joined, and the group officially changed their name to Truckee-Tahoe Republican Women, Federated.One such woman was Nancy Lungren, who is now the club’s Vice President – and who has a rather famous statewide political name in her family.”Dan Lungren, my brother-in-law, was the Attorney General, and he ran for governor against Gray Davis in 1998,” Lungren said. “I was involved with that campaign and visited all of the counties in Northern California. It was a great experience.”A field representative for State Sen. Thomas “Rico” Oller for four years, Lungren has been very active politically. She was a member of the Placer County Central Committee and espouses a deep-seated love of politics.Lungren has the most statewide political experience, second only to club President Mavis Bowes.Bowes served as the second Vice President for three years to the Los Angeles County Republican Women from 1990 to 1992, which included 8,036 members and nearly 90 clubs.”I’ve been active in every presidential and gubernatorial campaign since the Goldwater days,” Bowes said. “I have about 1,000 [campaign] buttons, the oldest being a Theodore Roosevelt button from 1914 which I know to be authentic.”Activities in the community generally involve outreach and education programs. The club invites Republican speakers, registers voters and organizes fund-raisers.At the Truckee Town Portrait on Sept. 17, the group collected $58 in proceeds from the sale of Bush/Cheney T-shirts.”Some people criticize our club because we don’t invite Democratic speakers, but we welcome anyone to our meetings,” Drake said, “but the club has been instrumental in getting the Republican message out to our community.”For more information about the Truckee-Tahoe Republican Women, contact Membership Coordinator Robyn Newman at 582-1957.Next week: the North Tahoe Democratic Club
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