About the League of Women Voters Nashville (LWVN)

A Nonpartisan Organization Encouraging Informed and Active Participation of Citizens in Government

As a non-partisan organization, the LWVN maintains two components:

  1. 501(c)(3) Organization (tax-deductible donations)
    All of our unbiased, non-partisan information on voting and citizen education is funded through tax-deductible donations through the League of Women Voters of Tennessee Education Fund, a 501(c) (3) organization.
  2. 501(c)(4) Organization (non-deductible donations)
    After our members thoroughly study an issue of public policy, we develop an advocacy position. When legislative bills in the state legislature are introduced that directly address stated LWVTN positions, LWVTN volunteers and the LWVTN paid lobbyist make our organization’s positions known to state legislators. Lobbying for specific legislation (on either the local or state level) is not a tax-deductible activity and is paid for out of the non tax-deductible 501(c)(4) component of the organization.

The LWVN never supports or endorses political parties or candidates. While we encourage and enable all of our members to be civically and politically active, the organization maintains a strict non-partisan stance.

Strategic Focus

In addition to the positions adopted by The League of Women Voters at the state-level (LWVTN), the members of the Nashville League (LWVN) have adopted the following positions to guide their Strategic Focus for 2020-2021.

  1. LWVN provides resources for current and emerging voters:
    • Voter registration, including outreach to under-represented voters
    • Voter information regarding upcoming elections and candidates
    • “Hot Topics” programs that inform the community about complex issues
    • Candidate forums
    • Support for restoration of voting rights for former felons
  2. LWVN advocates for free, fair, and transparent election processes:
    • Secure, accurate voting procedures with voter-verified paper trails
    • Full implementation of the Voting Rights Advancement Act
    • Poll watching and reports for the public
  3. LWVN advocates for public policies to address needs of Nashville residents:
    • High quality public education
    • Efficient and accessible transportation options — biking, walking and mass transit
    • Environmentally responsible reduction and management of waste
    • Sustainable approaches to land use, growth, and development
    • Improved access to high quality health care for Nashville residents
    • Sensible gun control measures requiring background checks and restriction of guns in public places
    • Programs to reduce poverty and promote self-sufficiency
    • Efforts to sustain Nashville’s efforts as a welcoming city for immigrants and refugees
Join Us Today

Current Board Members (July 2020 – June 2021)

Leadership Team

Madeline Garr
Madeline GarrLWVN President
Madeline Garr spent most of her professional life in the classroom teaching and
learning from students who came from around the world to learn English as a
Second Language.

In addition to serving on the LWVN Board since 2015, she has been active for years in the community as an advocate for accessible and affordable health care for all Tennesseans, as a volunteer for the Nashville Public Library, and as a support for TIRCC’s ESL classes for immigrants and refugees. Since 2013, Madeline has also been involved in ACA enrollment efforts in the Nashville area and in educating Tennesseans about their health care options. Garr enjoys using her language skills and love of writing in service to LWVN.

She is married to Tony Garr and they have two adult daughters as well as two granddaughters and a grandson.

Ethel Detch
Ethel DetchLWVN Co-First Vice President
Ethel Detch was a career public policy analyst, attempting to “help government work better.” For 28 years, she worked with Tennessee’s Comptroller of the Treasury, as a legislative performance auditor, the Assistant Director of Local Government, and later as the Director of Research and Education Accountability. Ethel also worked as a consultant for the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations for nine years.

Ethel joined LWVN in 2011 and has served as Secretary, Co-Chair of Voter Services, Membership, and now helps coordinate the monthly “Hot Topics” programs.

A native of Lewisburg, WV, Ethel holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from West Virginia University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Tennessee. She lives in Franklin with her husband, Steve Rogers, and has two grown children, and one grandchild.

Carole Kenner
Carole KennerLWVN Co-First Vice President
Carole Kenner has lived in Nashville for almost 50 years. She has been active in the community politically and as a neighborhood activist, as well as serving as a member of several non-profit boards and community organizations. She is also an Elder at Second Presbyterian Church.

She retired from the faculty at Vanderbilt five years ago.

She strongly believes that the quality of life depends upon the quality of folks we surround ourselves with, so she tends to have friends who don’t mind laughing out loud and who value honesty, integrity, curiosity, compassion, and character. She believes that a small group of people, working together, can bring about great changes. She is inspired by the obstacles people can overcome and the tenacity they bring to the task. While being too pragmatic to get passionate about much, she does get excited about watching her grandchildren, seeing the first daffodil in the spring, eating orange popsicles, and having dog licks on her toes.

Elise Lamar
Elise LamarLWVN Secretary
Elise Lamar is a California transplant with a BA in English from UC Riverside and a PhD in Biomedical Science at UC San Diego, which she earned in middle age. She has spent most of her life doing molecular biology research in San Diego, Houston, and upstate New York, and before arriving in Nashville worked as a grant writer for City of Hope Cancer Center in LA. She is now a freelance medical writer in Nashville, writing for scientists and biomedical institutions worldwide.

In Nashville, she has volunteered with the Frist and healthcare-related nonprofits and has a long-term commitment to the Antioch office of the Nashville Adult Literacy Council, where she is a regular in their Start Now literacy program. Elise feels deeply honored to serve on the LWVN Board. In off-hours she expends energy on dogs, growing cacti and succulents, and worrying (constructively) about the future of our planet.

Susan Mattson
Susan MattsonLWVN Treasurer
Susan Mattson recently retired from her career as a public policy analyst with the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office and other state agencies. She has a B.A. in Economics and Urban Studies from Rhodes College and a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Kentucky.

Susan joined the LWVN in 2016 and has coordinated the LWVN VOTE411 online Voter Guide over the last two years. She also participated in the LWVTN Action Committee in 2018.

She serves on the Metro Nashville 9-1-1 Board and participates in several volunteer activities through her church. She is an avid tennis player and enjoys traveling, cooking, and reading. She lives in Nashville with her husband Rick and has two grown children.

Portfolio Chairs

Sabina Mohyuddin
Sabina MohyuddinLWVN Community Connections Co-Chair
Sabina Mohyuddin is a Bangladeshi American Muslim born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. She graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1993 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

She is an active member of the Muslim community participating in interfaith and youth programs. In 2010, Sabina helped launch the Sons and Daughters of Abraham Project which brings together Muslim, Christian, and Jewish youth across Middle Tennessee through interfaith dialogue and outreach programs.

Sabina has published a number of articles in The Tennessean and was an outspoken critic of the 2011 anti-sharia bill in the Tennessee state legislature. She is a founding board member and current Middle Tennessee Program Manager of the American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC), which fosters mutual trust and respect among all people through civic engagement, community building and media relations in order to protect all Tennesseans from prejudice and targeted violence. She serves as the chair of AMAC’s yearly Empowering Women conference. Additionally, Sabina serves on the Community Nashville board which combats bias, bigotry, and racism among youth and serves on the National Organization of Workforce Diversity board which helps promote diversity in the workplace.

Tamanna Qureshi
Tamanna QureshiLWVN Community Connections Co-Chair
Tamanna Qureshi is a lawyer and qualitative research analyst and provides legal, political, social, and economic research-oriented consultation to a range of clients.

She has practiced in areas of labor law, commercial arbitration, securities exchange, mergers and acquisitions, IT, general commercial law, insurance, banking, corporate law, consumer protection, and intellectual property law.

Lara Webb
Lara WebbLWVN Communications Chair
Lara Webb is excited to serve the LWVN in this capacity and looking forward to building relationships that foster civic engagement.

She moved to Nashville in 2000 to attend Belmont University for her Master’s in Teaching. She taught for eight years in the classroom. Lara worked as adjunct faculty for both Vanderbilt University and Belmont University supervising student teachers. She enjoyed this work because it allowed her to travel all over Nashville to meet and work with teachers and principals. She has taught masters level math and science methods courses for elementary educators. Lara also presented social-emotional education workshops and co-authored the book “Doing Science in Morning Meeting” for the Center for Responsive Schools. She teaches classes for gifted students through SAVY at Vanderbilt.

Lara is married and has three sons, two of which are school-aged attending Metro schools. She is passionate about public education and has volunteered in various capacities at her children’s schools. Lara sits on the Academically Talented Parent Advisory Board for MNPS. Her boys keep her busy with their hijinks, but in her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, reading, or going to Target.

Barbara Gay
Barbara GayLWVN Environment Co-Chair
Barbara Gay holds a bachelor’s degree in French from Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky. She began her Master of Social Work degree at the University of Chicago, completing it at the University of Toronto in 1977, and received certification in school psychology at Tennessee State University in 1990.

Barbara has been a high school foreign language teacher, practiced social work at St. Joseph’s Hospital cancer ward in Hamilton, Ontario, and worked with the Comprehensive Developmental Evaluation Center at Vanderbilt University. A social worker with MNPS for 24 years, she also served as the department’s interim director. In addition, she administered a $1.1 million U.S. Department of Education elementary school counseling demonstration grant from 2000 to 2004.

Barbara has been a member of the LWVN since 1981. She served as director of the juvenile justice portfolio and on the education committee before becoming second Vice President in 2008 and is also chair of the LWVTN State Action Committee. She likes to read, paint and draw, swim, and ride horses.

Russanne Buchi-Fotre
Russanne Buchi-FotreLWVN Environment Co-Chair
Early on Russanne worked as an Outdoor Education instructor while living in Colorado. After moving back to Nashville she worked for 27 years as a social worker with the Metro Health Department working with homeless persons and HIV patients. Her family has served as a foster family for 25 years with numerous agencies in Nashville.

Russanne has served on Park Center’s Quality Assurance Board and on the Hillsboro West End Neighborhood Association Board. She is now retired and volunteers with various agencies involving the arts.

Anne Marie Farmer
Anne Marie FarmerLWVN Fundraising Co-Chair
Anne-Marie Farmer was born in Mississippi, spent a few years in Arkansas, and landed in Nashville with her family when she was eleven years old. She is the Connections Director at Woodmont Christian Church. She is also an attorney, having been a litigator at Bass Berry & Sims and later an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School and Belmont University Law School. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a law degree from Vanderbilt. She is married to Jonathan Farmer and together they have two children—Henry, a 9th grader at Hillsboro High School, and George, a 6th grader at JT Moore Middle School.

Anne-Marie has previously served on the board of the League as Education Chair, as well as the boards of Disciples Divinity House and the PTOs of both her children’s schools. She enjoys traveling, hiking, reading, gardening, and watching movies with her boys.

Debby Gould
Debby GouldLWVN Fundraising Co-Chair
Debby Gould has been an active member of LWVN since 2006 and also served as board president for six years. She is currently vice-president for LWVTN and chairs the state’s Advocacy Committee. Previously, she served as executive director for the Nashville Public Education Foundation as well as in a position at the Peabody Research Institute at Vanderbilt University, PENCIL Foundation, and other non-profit organizations. She currently serves on the Planning Committee for the TSUU Campus Democracy Project, the Public Policy Committee of United Ways of Tennessee, and the Advisory Council for the Pre-K Expansion in Metro Public Schools.

She holds a BA from Vanderbilt University, an M.A. in Sociology of Education from the University of Manitoba, and a Master’s in Public Administration from Middle Tennessee State University.

Clare Sullivan
Clare SullivanLWVN Health Care Co-Chair
Clare Sullivan recently retired from Vanderbilt University Medical Center where she worked as a family nurse practitioner and community-engaged research coordinator for 22 years. During her tenure she also worked under contract for the Tennessee Department of Health and Nashville Davidson County Health Department. Prior to attending nursing school, Clare worked on the occupational health and safety staff of the United Paperworkers/PACE/United Steelworkers Union, taught high school, and was an early advocate for school health in Tennessee.

She received a Master’s degree in Health Policy and Management from Harvard School of Public Health and a Master’s in Nursing Practice from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.

In addition to her work with the League of Women Voters, she gardens and volunteers with the Tennessee Health Care Campaign and Ten Thousand Villages. She is the spouse of Mark Brooks, and parent of Adria and Cade Brooks.

Constance Caldwell
Constance CaldwellLWVN Health Care Co-Chair
Constance Caldwell is a native of Durham, North Carolina.

By professional training, she is a Registered Nurse, now retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Tennessee Air National Guard. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, NC; a Master’s of Public Health degree from the School of Public
Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and a Master of Science degree in Counseling from Tennessee State University.

She loves to travel, and that experience has acquainted her with the varied statuses of women in different cultures, especially in the area of women’s health. She currently serves as the Coordinator of the Mission Ministry for Temple Baptist Church, where she is involved in outreach ministries in Haiti and Belize, Central America. She also serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for Samaritan Ministries, Inc. and was nominated by her sorority chapter, Nashville Metropolitan Alumnae of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. as a candidate for the ATHENA Award in 2012.

Reba Holmes
Reba HolmesLWVN Membership Co-Chair
– coming soon –
Karen Hernan
Karen HernanLWVN Membership Co-Chair
Karen Hernan joined the LWV of Nashville in 2019 to become involved in discussion and action for important civic issues. Karen will serve on the Membership team and work to retain members, help them access programming they are interested in and recruit new individuals.

Karen is a registered nurse and has worked in many roles within the healthcare field. She is certified as a psychiatric nurse, works as a quality consultant for Maximus and works at Vanderbilt Medical Center as a PRN labor pool nurse. She also earned a degree in Public Administration-Healthcare Policy, Research and Management—to understanding the intricacy of government systems affecting the healthcare industry.

Karen has grown to appreciate a broader perspective and critical understanding of politics, communications, effectiveness, citizen rights and how to effect change. Karen contributes patriotism, loyalty, readiness to be involved and respect for differing points of view.

Winnie Forrester
Winnie ForresterLWVN Metro Government Chair
Winnie Forrester has a lifelong commitment to social justice issues and the environment having been born into a family whose dinner table conversations centered upon the importance of diversity, civil rights, education, and service to the community.

Ms. Forrester is a retired Certified Financial Planner with Wells Fargo Advisors. She is a founding member and current secretary of the Haynes-Trinity Neighborhood Coalition, a board member for TennGreen Land Conservancy Finance and Investment Committee, and serves on the Metro Nashville Industrial Development Board. She is past-president of the Haynes Heights Neighborhood Association and has served on the State of TN Advisory Council for the Education of Students with Disabilities. Ms. Forrester lives in Nashville with her two children.

Perry MacDonald
Perry MacDonaldLWVN Voter Service Co-Chair
Perry MacDonald returned to Nashville in April 2014 after a 30-year ‘sabbatical’ in the Washington, D.C. area, where she earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Columbus School of Law and then worked as an attorney for technology-based corporations. She holds B.A. and M.A.T. degrees from Vanderbilt and worked as a public-school teacher, health educator, and administrator in non-profit organizations both before and after the years of law practice.

A longstanding League member, MacDonald remembers many Saturday afternoons in the 1970s registering voters outside the Baskin Robbins in Hillsboro Village. After moving to Alexandria, Virginia, she joined the efforts of the local League to finally move voter registration out of City Hall and into the community. Moving later to Reston, Virginia her commitment to assuring voter registration and access continued.

MacDonald volunteers at Planned Parenthood, the Tennessee Prison for Women and the St. Augustine’s/Thistle Farms community. She is currently serving as President of the Arden Place Board of Directors.

“The Voter” Newsletter

Madeline Garr
Madeline GarrLWVN Nashville Voter Newsletter Editor
Madeline Garr spent most of her professional life in the classroom teaching and learning from students who came from around the world to learn English as a Second Language. In addition to serving on the LWVN Board as the Voter Editor, she has been active for years in the community as an advocate for accessible and affordable health care for all Tennesseans, a volunteer for the Nashville Public Library, and as a support for TIRCC’s ESL classes for immigrants and refugees. Since 2013, Madeline has also been involved in ACA enrollment efforts in the Nashville area and in educating Tennesseans about their health care options.

Garr enjoys using her language skills and love of writing in service to LWVN. She is married to Tony Garr and they have two adult daughters as well as a new granddaughter.

Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee serves as mentors to the Leadership Team.

Barbara Gay

Carole Bucy

Marian Ott

Karen Edwards

Jo Singer

Debby Gould

Brenda Wynn

Luvenia Harrison

Sally Levine

June Bond

Nominating Committee

Brenda Gilmore
Brenda GilmoreLWVN Nominating Committee Chair
Gilmore, a former Metro councilwoman from 1999 to 2006, is presently representative for District 54 in the Tennessee General Assembly, where she has served since 2006. Her career includes almost twenty years as director of University Mail Services for Vanderbilt University.

A strong voice of advocacy in the community, Gilmore has served on a number of boards in Middle Tennessee (e.g., Board of Vanderbilt’s Susan Gray School for Abused and Special Needs Children at the John F. Kennedy Center, Board Chair of the Margaret Cunningham Women’s Center) and received numerous awards. She is currently a member of the boards of TSU Women’s Center and Fifty Forward. In addition, she chairs the Davidson County Delegation, is vice president of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators, and co-chairs the STEM Caucus.
A life member of the NAACP, Gilmore holds membership in the Music City Chapter of the Links, Inc.; Top Ladies of Distinction; the National Council of Negro Women; and is president of both the National Hook Up of Black Women and the Minerva Foundation.

Betsy Walkup
Betsy WalkupLWVN Nominating Committee Member
Betsy Walkup has long been involved in issues that impact children and youth in Nashville. She is a former member and chair of the MNPS Board of Education and has served on the Board of Directors and is the current co-chair of the Middle Tennessee Advisory Board for Youth Villages, a nonprofit that works with children and youth who are in state custody. In addition, she is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

Betsy has a Bachelor’s degree in English from Millsaps College and a Master’s in library science from Emory University. She and her husband, Knox, have two grown
daughters.

Diane Dilanni
Diane DilanniLWVN Nominating Committee Member
Diane Dilanni is an attorney who began practicing law in Boston over two decades ago and focused her practice in the areas of complex civil litigation, civil rights litigation, public sector law, and government relations. Currently, she is an adjunct Professor of Law at Vanderbilt Law School. Dilanni has been long active in professional ethics and judicial selection issues, and in 2013, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights appointed her as chair of its Tennessee State Advisory Committee.

Since 2008, Dilanni has served on LWV committees at the national, state, and local level, most recently as a member of the LWVTN Action Committee. She earned her Bachelor’s from the University of New Hampshire cum laude, her master’s from the University of Virginia, and her Juris Doctorate cum laude from New York University School of Law.

Dilanni is also a playwright and was selected into the Tennessee Repertory Theatre’s Ingram New Works Lab and Festival during its inaugural season.

Constance Caldwell
Constance CaldwellLWVN Nominating Committee Member
Constance Caldwell is a native of Durham, North Carolina.

By professional training, she is a Registered Nurse, now retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Tennessee Air National Guard. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, NC; a Master’s of Public Health degree from the School of Public
Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and a Master of Science degree in Counseling from Tennessee State University.

She loves to travel, and that experience has acquainted her with the varied statuses of women in different cultures, especially in the area of women’s health. She currently serves as the Coordinator of the Mission Ministry for Temple Baptist Church, where she is involved in outreach ministries in Haiti and Belize, Central America. She also serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for Samaritan Ministries, Inc. and was nominated by her sorority chapter, Nashville Metropolitan Alumnae of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. as a candidate for the ATHENA Award in 2012.

Carole Kenner
Carole KennerLWVN Nominating Committee Member
Carole Kenner has lived in Nashville for almost 50 years. She has been active in the community politically and as a neighborhood activist, as well as serving as a member of several non-profit boards and community organizations. She is also an Elder at Second Presbyterian Church.

She retired from the faculty at Vanderbilt five years ago.

She strongly believes that the quality of life depends upon the quality of folks we surround ourselves with, so she tends to have friends who don’t mind laughing out loud and who value honesty, integrity, curiosity, compassion, and character. She believes that a small group of people, working together, can bring about great changes. She is inspired by the obstacles people can overcome and the tenacity they bring to the task. While being too pragmatic to get passionate about much, she does get excited about watching her grandchildren, seeing the first daffodil in the spring, eating orange popsicles, and having dog licks on her toes.