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 2021 – June 2022)

Leadership Team

Madeline Garr
Madeline GarrLWVN Co-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.

Lara Webb
Lara WebbLWVN Co-President
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.

Karen Wieckert
Karen Wieckert LWVN Co-First Vice President
Karen Wieckert worked as a researcher, educator, policy maker and designer in the world of computers and the internet. Her interest started early in 1975 when she wrote a paper tape based program of her high school statistics homework. Originally from Wisconsin, Karen finished undergraduate in Oregon, spent time in graduate school in Massachusetts, worked in Washington and Philadelphia, finished graduate school and started a family in California, and in 2002, moved to Tennessee with her spouse and two children.

Along with her nerdiness, Karen is a Girl Scout as well as an avid hiker and canoeist. Even before the celebration of the first Earth Day in 1970, founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, Karen was dedicated to working for sustainable and equitable ways of living on earth.

In 2020, Karen’s mother died from COVID. One of Karen’s first memories is playing with the “kids” during her mother’s LWV meetings. Her mom was working to end above ground nuclear testing, something the LWV tackled in the early 1960’s, among many other things. Only a few months before her mother passed, she and Karen discussed problematic voter ID laws in Wisconsin and Tennessee. As a testament to her mother, Karen jumped into the local LWV. One final note: her mother’s best LWV friend was Corinne Goldgar, the granddaughter of Corinne Cohn for whom the Cohn School is named.

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.

Felisha Baquera
Felisha BaqueraLWVN Community Connections Co-Chair
Felisha Baquera is a professional writer who managed volunteers for a decade before moving to her current role in academic administration. Originally from Arkansas, she lived in California briefly before moving to Nashville five years ago. She has volunteered with Girl Scouts, Friends of the Library, and local foodbanks across three states.

To relax, Felisha enjoys reading the latest book club pick, strolling through the Farmer’s Market, or catching a movie at the Belcourt.

As a new member, Felisha looks forward to contributing to the vital advocacy and legislative work of the League. Education from the League and its members has helped her feel purposeful–and powerful–in a year of immense change. She’s excited to use her experience in communications and team-building to connect with others in Nashville who share our goals to educate and empower voters.

Ophelia Doe
Ophelia DoeLWVN Communications Co-Chair
Ophelia holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Columbia College where she also double minored in Communication and Political Science. During her time at Columbia College, she interned for United States Congressman James E. Clyburn, South Carolina State Representative Bill Bowers, and South Carolina State Senators John W. Matthews and Clementa Pinckney.

After college, Ophelia has focused her career efforts in the private sector specializing in supporting government programs for healthcare companies and state government. Currently, she works as a Consulting Communications Specialist for HCA Healthcare in Nashville, TN.

When she’s not working, she dedicates her time to the League of Women Voters and The Women’s Fund.

Jack McFadden
Jack McFaddenLWVN Communications Co- Chair
Jack McFadden spent the early part of his professional life utilizing video technology in education and community development before transitioning to Information Technology positions in telecommunications and planning.
Since retirement in 2018, he has been active in LWV voter registration and tracking of broadband legislation, as well as volunteering with other nonprofits in environmental, health and technology sectors. Jack also enjoys spending time hiking with friends on the many wonderful trails available to us in Nashville area parks.

Jami Oakley
Jami OakleyLWVN Education Co-Chair
Jami Mabile Oakley moved to Nashville with her husband and two boys six years ago, and whole-heartedly loves it. A native of south Louisiana, she lived in Houston, Zurich, Sao Paulo and Philadelphia, but is now happily to settling down.

Jami is passionate about the public education system and founded UniCycle in 2014, a nonprofit that collects gently used school uniforms and redistributes them to students in the Metro Nashville Public School system through the Homeless Education Resource Office and closets in schools throughout the district. The program is completely volunteer-run and distributed approximately 20,000 items during the 2019/20 schoolyear.
While living abroad, she served in various volunteer positions, utilizing her public relations and event planning skills as a founding board member of Hands On Switzerland and in several positions with the American Society of Sao Paulo, among other things. Prior to that, she was an account director at one of Houston’s largest public relations, advertising and event planning firms. She is currently a fellow of the 2021 cohort of Leadership Public Education, a leadership development program that supports community efforts to effectively serve Metro Nashville Public Schools.
She is excited to work with the League of Women Voters to increase enthusiasm for the democratic process among young voters, starting by growing relationships within schools to engage students and make them realize the power of their votes and voices.

Mary Claire Dismukes
Mary Claire DismukesLWVN Education Co- Chair
Mary Claire Dismukes is the director of Career & Professional Development at Belmont University. In this role, she provides strategic vision and leadership for the campus career development team, creates innovative career readiness training programs, develops community partnerships, and coaches students in the areas of education, ministry, and public service. She is passionate about teacher attraction and retention.

Mary Claire is a graduate of the 2020 cohort of Leadership Public Education, a leadership development program that prepares business leaders for leadership roles in and around Metro Nashville Public Schools. She serves on the MNPS Parent Advisory Council as a school liaison and is on the board of Percy Priest Extended Day program. Mary Claire is the proud parent of a 6th grader at JT Moore Middle School and a 2nd grader at Percy Priest Elementary School and is an ardent supporter of public education.

Mary Claire has worked with college students her entire career: as career counselor, fundraiser providing access to education, advisor to student leaders and volunteer coordinator. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from University of South Carolina and a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Temple University.

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 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.

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 Chair
Coming Soon!
Pat McCauley
Pat McCauley LWVN Metro Government Co-Chair
Karen Hernan
Karen HernanLWVN Metro Government Co-Chair
Coming Soon!
Rita Bullinger
Rita BullingerLWVN Voter Service Co-Chair
I’ve been an enthusiastic voter ever since I first entered a voting booth back in the early 1970s as a young woman in my home state of Michigan. I used to watch and listen to my mother go through pages of lists of people, calling them to get out the vote on voting day. My activism continued as a feminist, progressive, and environmentalist from that day to this.

I have always been a writer but earned my living as an educator, teaching English to high school students in Northern California and Tennessee for 30 years. I presently work part-time for the Metro Nashville Public Schools system as an English Language Assessor, giving tests to students for whom English is not their first language. I currently write a column for the Sierra Club TN called “Dear Eartha: Advice from an Eco Guru.” I also live in Tennessee’s only Cohousing Community in Germantown, an experience that has taught me much about the consensus process and community decision-making – and it’s been a steep learning curve.

Working to address the ravages of fossil fuel abuse upon our planet requires the participation of voting citizens in a democratic system of governance. Involving people in the voting process seems complex on many levels but mostly an opportunity, as I see it, to learn a whole lot about America and the American people. I’m honored to be asked to serve on the board.

Beth Gordon
Beth GordonLWVN Voter Service Co-Chair
Beth holds a B.S. in biology and psychology and has worked in clinical research for over 25 years. The majority of her career was spent in quality control for pharmaceutical clinical trials. Working as an employee and later a consultant, Beth traveled to most U.S. states and 4 continents for work. A few years ago, following a desire to spend more time close to home, she shifted gears and began working part-time at Vanderbilt University in education research.

Beth consistently volunteers for local and national political campaigns and through Hands on Nashville, most recently with the COVID-19 vaccine effort through the Metro Public Health Department.

Beth is married to husband Dan, a fellow animal and nature lover and the two have a dog and 2 cats. In her spare time, Beth loves hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding and sometimes, travel.

Alison Haymer
Alison HaymerLWVN Voter Services Co-chair
Coming Soon!

“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.

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.

June Bond
June BondLWVN Nominating Committee Member
I have always valued the voting process throughout my life, believing in the voice it gives us. When my children were younger, I’d have them accompany me into the voting booth, so I could stress the importance of the voting process. In my retirement years I’ve participated in poll watching along with the initiation of the League of Women Voters in Williamson County.

I believe in helping others and have volunteered with Legacy Mission Village, an organization which helps refugee families in Nashville. I extended my advocacy work by initiating and heading the Immigration Task Force at the Brentwood United Methodist Church. Previously, I was a mentor at the TN Prison for Women in the Better Decisions program.

I have worked in Early Childhood Education for 35 years. I love reading and presently participate in three book clubs. I am a woman, wife, mother, and grandmother.

Hasina Moyuddhin
Hasina MoyuddhinLWVN Nominating Committee Member
Coming Soon!
Hasina Moyuddhin
Hasina MoyuddhinLWVN Nominating Committee Member
Coming Soon!