A group of Gig Harbor and Key Peninsula residents is spearheading efforts to create a local chapter of the League of Women Voters. Several organizational meetings were held last spring to get the Gig Harbor-Key Peninsula unit of the Tacoma-Pierce County League of Women Voters off the ground.

At its September meeting, the unit will address plans for issues the group would like to tackle. One of the group’s study topics includes the traffic situation in the Purdy area at the interchange between State Route 16 and State Route 302. The topic was proposed by Lakebay resident Mary Mazur, one of the group’s members.

Mazur said she had attended several meetings of the Key Peninsula Planning Board, where SR-302 safety and the Purdy bottleneck were topics of discussion.

“I felt that would be a good study topic (for the League unit), of concern not only to people on the Key Peninsula but also in Gig Harbor,” she said. “I felt local support or knowledge about it is important.”

The issue has been accepted by the unit as a topic of study for the next year, which means a subcommittee will examine what has already been addressed, what are proposed possibilities, and what may be good solutions. Once the study is concluded, the unit will educate the local public on what can be done with regard to local action, and mobilize public opinion once a solution is proposed, Mazur said.

The League of Women Voters is a nationwide, nonpartisan political organization whose mission is to encourage “the informed and active participation of citizens in government, and influence public policy through education and advocacy.”

“The League believes that democratic government depends on informed and active participation of citizens at all levels,” said Mazur, who was active in the organization when she lived in other parts of the country.

“The League program consists of governmental issues that League members chose for study and action… After consensus on an adopted issue is reached by the members of the organization at the local, state or national level, action is taken to influence people in the community and the government,” she said.

The organization does not endorse nor oppose political parties or candidates, although it may sponsor public meetings for candidates from all parties. Public education is a major focus of the group.

The Gig Harbor/Key Peninsula unit is one of five that are part of the Pierce County chapter. Each unit works on local, countywide, statewide and nationwide issues. Current study-discussion topics include the voting process as well as the Pierce County Library System.

The meetings are currently held in Gig Harbor; however, future meetings may be held on the Key Peninsula if enough local residents express interest in membership. Despite its name, the League welcomes men as well.

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