Group calls for women’s action: Organization focuses on civic process, politics


HANCOCK COUNTY – Kari Bergsagel was scrolling through Facebook when she stumbled upon the group.

She had been looking for a way to get more politically involved in her area when she found a newly created women’s organization in Hancock County.

Though she lives in Indianapolis, she spends a lot of time in Hancock County, living just 3 miles away from the county line. She wants to help educate future generations about the importance of voting and to encourage more women to become involved in the world around them.

Her own hopes aligned well with others who joined the new Hancock County organization, Women 4 Civic Action, which formed to foster discussion about local and national political issues, while brainstorming ways to get more Hancock County women involved in the civic process through voting or running for office.

The group will host one of its first big events Friday, when a staffer from Sen. Joe Donnelly’s office visits Hancock County to speak about several federal issues, including the current health care bill and gerrymandering.

The meeting, which begins at 11 a.m. at the Hancock County Courthouse Annex, 111 American Legion Place, is open to the public. People will be able to ask questions and are invited to talk about their concerns, too.

It’s the first of what members hope are many meetings that give voters a chance to ask questions and address concerns with their representatives.

The group currently has about a dozen members and is looking to grow. Though many members identify as liberal or progressive, the group is non-partisan and open to anyone who wants to join, said member Linda Dunn.

Women 4 Civic Action launched after two groups with similar goals came together to form one non-partisan organization.

The Hancock County Progressives and Like-minded Women of Hancock County had been meeting separately, unaware the other existed until April, when members decided to join forces.

They hope to eventually start a local chapter of The League of Women Voters, a citizens organization that has fought since 1920 to encourage people, especially women, to vote. The organization operates at national, state and local levels through more than 800 state and local leagues all over the country, its website states.

Women 4 Civic Action wants to see higher voter turnout in Hancock County by helping to promote voting during election season and after.

Hancock County makes it easy for residents to vote by offering convenient early voting and vote centers, where registered voters can cast a ballot at any polling place, Dunn said.

The group wants to educate residents on the political process and promote conversation about local and federal issues that will impact Hancock County families, Dunn said.

How is taxpayer money being spent locally and nationally? Are elected officials being transparent? If residents recognize the issues facing them, they might be more tempted to voice their opinions at the ballot box, group members hope.

Bergsagel said she hopes the group will encourage more people — especially children — to educate themselves about what happens in government and how they can effect change.

“We can’t just sit around,” she said.

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Women 4 Civic Action – Hancock County is hosting a town hall Friday with Brandon Herget, deputy state director for U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly.

The event begins at 11 a.m. at the Hancock County Courthouse Annex, 111 American Legion Place, and is open to the public.

For more information about the group, email [email protected].