Flathead Republican Women note 80-year milestone

December 21, 2018

The Flathead County Republican Women reached another milestone this year, celebrating the club’s 80th anniversary.

The year 1938 was noteworthy for Republican women on several levels. That year saw the founding of the National Federation of Republican Women as well as the Montana Federation of Republican Women.

Flathead Republican Women recently celebrated their 80th year with a Christmas luncheon that included greetings from Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., which were shared by Daine’s local representative Ron Catlett Jr.

This year the organization has welcomed 15 new members, noted Heidi Roedel, a member of Flathead County Republican Women and president of the Montana Federation of Republican Women.

“It is exciting to see younger women getting on board and showing their compassion by being involved in local, state, and national government,” Roedel said. “Many of these women have volunteered their time to meet our club’s main goal, which is to get Republican candidates elected to office. We had an active part in helping some local Republican candidates with their mailers this past election.

“Mailers that are created by the candidates are a great tool to help voters get to know their candidates and the Republican ideas they value,” Roedel added.

Flathead County Republican Women have had strong leadership through the decades that has earned the club accolades on various occasions. In the late 1980s the club received a Gold Club Award from the National Federation. In 2004-05, under Lois Lauman’s leadership as club president, the club earned the highest honor, a Diamond Club Award, from the National Federation.

Although the organization is marking its 80th anniversary, archives show that women have been involved in the Republican Party since it was formed in 1854.

Republicans pioneered the right of women to vote and according to the National Federation, the Grand Old Party was the first major party to advocate equal rights for women and the principle of equal pay for equal work.

Republican women’s clubs started around the country decades before women won the right to vote.

In Montana, the GOP was at a low point in 1936 and party leaders saw the need for a new approach to revitalize the group. It only made sense for the party to turn to women to spur that revitalization, and it was an effective strategy. Republican Women clubs began springing up throughout the state, Flathead County included.

Flathead County Republican Women meet at the Hampton Inn in Kalispell on the third Monday of each month from September through May. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. and the meetings start at noon. The one-hour meetings are geared for working women, with a lunch provided for purchase if desired.

News Editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or lhintze@dailyinterlake.com.

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