As told to Dale Cousins, Membership Committee Co-Chair
Pat Butler first joined the League of Women Voters as the mother of two young daughters while living in Atlanta in 1974. She wanted to become well-informed about the candidates and the positions they advocated when they were running for the local Board of Education. After being involved in other League activities, she expanded her interests to be educated and informed on a number of political and community issues. She joined the League of Women Voters of Wake County soon after moving to Raleigh in 1986. Pat left a career in social work and social research in her 70s to become personally involved as a volunteer activist with community groups that are socially progressive and have social activism on the agenda.
As a member of Wake’s League, Pat became Chair of the resurrected Housing Committee, which was renamed and refocused as the Affordable Housing Committee in 2018. The Committee has sponsored programs at Timely Topics events and formed its own observer group to follow local government entities when affordable housing is on the agenda. They convey the League’s interest by their presence, while at the same time they continue to educate themselves and fellow League members on the topic of fair and affordable housing. The committee has visited various affordable housing units, including several sponsored by local nonprofit organizations. Pat and her committee have met with key City of Raleigh staff to become informed about the City’s involvement and future plans.
Pat was involved in planning Timely Topics for several years and has recently coordinated a variety of social outings/field trips for members. The outings enable members both to get acquainted with one another and to become aware of community offerings and services. Trips usually include a tour and are followed by lunch. Outings in the past years have included tours of the Union Train Station, local food halls, NCSU’s Gregg Museum of Art, the new Catholic Cathedral, and the NC Museum of Art.
Pat wants to see the League continue to foster members who want to be active and informed about issues affecting the community by observing, educating, and influencing elected decision makers in our government. She believes that membership and work on League committees that match an individual’s interests are the best ways to become involved with the League overall. In her experience, this work is where the work of real citizenship takes place and where participation in the League is most gratifying.
Introduce yourself to Pat at an upcoming event and register for one of her field trips soon!