Each month we’ll feature a Q&A with one of the commissioners of the Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. Up first: Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch.
Q: As Chair of the Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, why is it important for Hoosiers to mark the centennial of women’s suffrage?
A: With 2020 marking 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment, it is important to take the time to reflect on the efforts of so many brave women and men that ultimately won women the right to vote.
Indiana’s first Women’s Rights Convention took place in October 1851, yet the 19th Amendment was not ratified for another 70 years. A lot of organizing and courageous actions took place between those two points in time, and we do not want Hoosiers to forget about that history or take for granted their right to participate in our democratic process today.
The Commission has therefore been working for the past several months to celebrate this important milestone with events throughout the year, beginning with an Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial Celebration at the Statehouse on January 16th.
The Commission is also working to create a legacy through several projects for future generations to enjoy. Hoosiers across the state can learn more about the Commission’s activities on http://indianasuffrage100.org/ and are also encouraged to plan their own events to celebrate the centennial to be included on the website’s master events calendar.
Q: Who is a woman who has inspired you in your life and/or career?
Many of my early mentors were some of our state’s great leaders, including Senator Richard Lugar and Governor Mitch Daniels. In fact, my very first avenue into politics was organizing a phone bank in support of Senator Lugar.
Now in my current role, I am inspired daily by the women with whom I serve. Five of our seven statewide offices here in Indiana are held by women, in addition to our numerous female state legislators, and they inspire me to do better and truly work to serve Hoosiers each day.
Q: How do you think we can encourage Hoosiers to exercise their right to vote?
A: The centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment is really a unique and important platform to remind Hoosiers all across the state that the right to vote has not always been available to all of our state’s citizens. The right to vote should not be taken lightly, and I am looking forward to reminding Hoosiers of this important right through our 2020 events and legacy projects, so that the reminder lasts well beyond the work of the Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission.
Q: What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
I would tell them to never stop trying new things or give up in the face of adversity. I always say that we learn so much more from our losses than our wins. My first ever campaign for public office was unsuccessful, but I took what I learned from that experience and went on to serve as County Auditor, State Representative, State Auditor, and now Lt. Governor.
Our young Hoosier women, and really all our young Hoosiers, are so important to the State of Indiana, and I want to ensure they know that we need them, that we look forward to them taking leadership roles in our state, and to never stop pursuing what they love and what they think will make a difference.