From Member to Leader

The following is a continuation in a series highlighting members of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey.

Several years ago, Toni Zimmer attended her first meeting of the League of Women Voters of Sussex Highlands. Toni says:

“I attended, became hooked, and joined immediately.”

Toni’s enthusiasm and hard work for the League created an opportunity for her to excel further within the organization. Soon enough she became the Vice President of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey where she continues working diligently on making visible changes in our society. She admires the League’s ability to educate residents regarding all aspects of the government and at the same time, manage to uphold its firm tradition of remaining a political yet non-partisan organization. When asked about the importance of voting and actively participating in government, Toni says:

“So many people sacrificed so much to give us the right to vote. Why is it important? Perhaps Thomas Jefferson says it best ‘Should things go wrong at any time, the people will set them to rights by the peaceable exercise of their elective rights.'”

Appreciation of these sacrifices drives many to join the League and become an important part of such a remarkable organization. Many members continue to make sacrifices in order to maintain the important work the League continues to do for our community. Why should others get involved with the League? Toni says:

“Unlike most organizations that focus on one area of concern, importance, or interest, the League casts a wide net over many issues that effect everyone in all walks of life:  understanding government, environmental concerns, health, citizen’s rights, etc.”

League members come from a variety of backgrounds allowing them to share their wide array of experiences to create a stronger, much more effective League. These experiences enhance the work the League does for its very diverse communities. The League is an extremely important asset to the community. Toni explains that residents often rely on the League to provide specific services and information for their communities, including conducting voter registration, hosting candidate and issues forums, providing clarification to complex ballot questions, etc.  Without these services, New Jersey would look much different. Speaking of this, Toni says:

“New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the nation, and although we are known as the “Garden State,” there are many urban areas throughout.  The League continues to study the issues that are important to the lives of all New Jerseyans, and it continues to bring citizens the opportunity to learn about our government.  The League has proven to be a valuable and unique resource to its citizens, and I believe our state is better for it.”

Toni has been a key part of these services to the community. Her local League in Sussex Highlands has registered thousands of voters, moderated many candidate forums within the community, and held meetings for the public with prominent and informative guest speakers. Not only is she grateful to be a part of such a dynamic organization making real changes in society, but she has forged many strong friendships with other members. When speaking about her favorite part of the League, Toni says:

“The members are my favorite part of the League – past and present.  The early members — the founders — were incredibly strong and principled women whose proud legacy continues to follow us to where we are today.  The members of the League continue to represent the fabric that holds the organization together.”

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2 responses to “From Member to Leader

  1. Hi Toni,
    I just read your blog on the current LWV news item. We met a few years ago at a convention and enjoyed talking. My sister, Tina Steinberg, lives near you and I expected to visit whenever I got there. I didn’t go there because she always came to see us, for various reasons, but if I do, I still intend to let you know. Her daughter is getting married in Sept. so I may actually get there before, if only to see her dress. It’s great that you are vice president; it seems like a rapid rise. I am not at all surprised, in fact, very happy that you became so active.
    I think League is great. I joined when I was 23 and always loved it. League is lucky to have you. Marcia

    • Marcia – Thank you for your kind words regarding Toni and I will be sure to pass them on. She is a marvelous addition to the organization and you are 100% correct – the League is lucky to have her. The League is also very lucky to have you and it is wonderful to hear that you joined at 23. I hope more young people follow your example and get involved at a younger age! Best – Jesse Burns, Interim Executive Director, LWVNJ

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