League members Nancy Eddy and Ellen Story spoke at "250 years of Democracy in Amherst" program. This program was part of the Civics and Democracy series sponsored by the Jones Library. Some readers may have attended the well-received October program, co-sponsored by LWVAmherst, which brought Nancy Brumback, LWVMA legislative action chair, to speak on "How to Talk so Your Legislators Will Listen."
Cindy Harbeson, Special Collections curator and emcee for the program, spoke of the founding of Amherst, separating from Hadley. Controversy is not new or unique to the Town. She said the first requests to form a new district in the 1700s were defeated. In addition, the first attempts to have a representative instead of open Town Meeting were also defeated.
Democracy grew in Amherst when women were elected as "Selectmen." Nancy was the second woman Selectmen in Amherst; Eunice Mannheim, also a League member, was the first. Nancy said she is quoted as saying that she didn't mind being called a Selectman, since it was a honorable tradition. She said she does not think she would say that now. The name was changed to the Select Board in the 80s.
Another important indication of the growth of democracy occurred when the late Judy Brooks, another League member, was recognized as the first African American on the Select Board.
Ellen Story, Amherst's long-serving and much respected State Representative, noted the many community organizations which existed in town when she came to Amherst, and cited the League as a group of very intelligent women who would be CEOs now.