Utah County Women’s Legislative Council: a bipartisan effort to get women involved in politics
The Utah County Women’s Legislative Council is starting its meetings for the year Monday to discuss Question 1, a gas tax to increase funding for education and local roads.
Ever since women were given the right to vote in 1920, the Women’s State Legislative Council of Utah has organized women to be informed and involved on political issues.
A statewide organization, the council is open to women of any political affiliation and meets with lawmakers throughout Utah’s legislative session to hear both sides of legislative issues in the state.
The state organization meets monthly September through April, but meets weekly during Utah’s legislative session, while the Utah County branch meets every third Tuesday of the month from September through April.
The Utah County meetings in the past have been held on anything from homelessness to candidate Q and As.
Both sides of the issue will be there to present on Question 1 on Monday, said Kari Malkovich, past president of both the state and Utah County branches of the council.
Making sure that both sides of every issue discussed are present is one way the council keeps itself nonpartisan.
“We tend to live in our own bubble,” Malkovich said. “When we are always surrounded by like-mindedness, we may ever reach out to see other points of view. Our organization allows people to see both sides.”
At the state level, leadership of the group also alternates between Republicans and Democrats
The council allows women to express political opinions, but also be brought to the table to help craft legislation that is beneficial to the state, Malkovich said.
“I think diversity of voice is important,” Malkovich said. “Our legislative members and officials, I think they see the value in having that outside opinions.”
This upcoming Tuesday, the Utah County WLC will meet at Joe Vera’s Mexican Restaurant in Provo at noon. Anyone can attend, though they need to buy their own meal. Those who wish to join the WLC can do so for a nominal fee.
“I think it’s a wonderful organization that allows women to come together from different political backgrounds to unite in purpose of understanding legislation and conveying that knowledge in a way that helps Utah be a better place,” Malkovich said.