Her mom told her she should join the League of Women Voters. So she did – in 1972.
Caroline Emmons-Schramm, LWVOC president from 1994-1997, remembers something else her mother told her when Caroline was a child in Germany, where her dad served in the military. “We lived off-post and I played in a nearby turnip field. There was a trench there, and my mom said it was where Jews had been lined up and killed by Nazis, that this is what happens when you don’t keep track of government.”
That’s one of the main reasons Caroline is an LMVOC doer. “The League is for nosy people,” she says. “They want to know how government works and how we can make things happen. Many join to register voters or to get involved with natural resources or immigration – I wanted to join because we have good ideas and can teach people how to affect government. “
She is an LWV advocate. “One thing we do well is teach members how to lobby effectively and civilly.”
Caroline worked on election reform & gerrymandering for 35 years: “I took part in three unsuccessful campaigns and one successful campaign,” she says, referring to Florida voters’ approving two fair-districts amendments in 2010.
Another project was upgrading the area transportation system, in particular establishing a long-needed funding stream for transit needs. Now, Orange County Commissioners have approved putting a sales-tax-increase amendment on this year’s ballot to provide that funding stream. “We need this increase,” Caroline says.
You’ve heard the old saw “all politics are local”? Caroline is a believer. “People need to understand that national and state don’t affect you as much as local. It’s the so-called pothole issue. Not as sexy, but people can affect their quality of life at an immediate level. People need to talk to their representatives all the time. If they know you, they’ll listen.”
Caroline, who was working at Walt Disney World on opening day in 1971 (Polynesian Hotel), says her WDW days taught her how to relate to people better, a trait that has served her well with the League. “I love my friends in the League,” she says. “We’re a group of interesting people.”