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News Release
Mar2023 Speaker Series Banner
Mar2023 Speaker Series Banner
CCHM Speaker Series "Defending Democracy: Founding of League of Women Voters in Clark County" (Photo) - 02/02/23

Vancouver, Wash. – Clark County Historical Museum continues its 2023 Speaker Series on Thursday, March 2, with “Defending Democracy: Founding of League of Women Voters in Clark County.” The event will occur in person at the Clark County Historical Museum (1511 Main Street, Vancouver, WA 98660). Doors open at 5 p.m. and the event begins at 7 p.m.

On the heels of the ratification of the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote in 1920, feisty Ruth Karr McKee gathered Vancouver's key women activists to found the League of Women Voters of Clark County (LWVCC). Join LWVCC members, Elizabeth Backstrom and Tracy Reilly Kelly, as they explore this astonishing advocate, as well as what the early League did for progressive, non-partisan action. Their discussion will cover 1920 up to the early World War II years. 

“Women are often forgotten when history is written,” said Reilly Kelly. “Ruth Karr McKee was an electric educator who is just thrilling to research! Thanks to, pairing her story with those of the dynamic early dames of the League of Women Voters is an adventure waiting to be found.”

Tracy Reilly Kelly retired as Program Manager of Community Education at Clark College. Initially a history major, Tracy received her BA in Human Services from Evergreen State College and an MS in Teaching Health Education at Portland State University. In 2008, Tracy was honored as a Woman of Achievement by the YWCA of Clark County and Clark College. She currently teaches at Clark part-time.

Elizabeth Backstrom is the Director of Grants and Contracts for YWCA Spokane, working remotely and enjoying life in Vancouver. She majored in journalism at Western Washington University and earned an MPA at Eastern Washington University. She enjoys reading, writing, and history. As a night owl, she gets through the day on coffee, humor, and sheer determination. She joined the LWVCC in August 2021 because of a longtime passion for voting rights and a belief that with enough effort, democracy can work for everyone.

The CCHM Speaker Series is sponsored by the Clark County Historic Preservation Commission and League of Women Voters of Clark County. General admission is $5; seniors and students are $4; children under 18 are $3; and the evening is free for CCHM members, veterans, and active-duty military personnel. 

Attendees are encouraged to arrive early, as seating is limited.

For more information, contact the museum at 360-993-5679 or


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