County women’s GOP club forms

Published 8:03 pm Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Patsy Carroll wants women to know that they can be heard.

Carroll has been involved with politics ever since Gov. Bob Riley’s first bid for Congress. When she moved here two years ago, the longtime member of the Mobile Republican Women’s Club joined the club’s counterpart in Montgomery because there was not one based here in Chilton County.

Now, Carroll wants to change that. She hopes women of all ages will attend a charter meeting at Helen’s Place tonight at 6 for some conversation and food.

“I just want to have a positive impact on our county, to help work on women’s and children’s issues, and just get the women more involved,” said Carroll, who now calls Clanton home.

While working the GOP booth at the Chilton County Fair last year, she encountered lots of women who were interested in politics but did not know how to get involved. What might be surprising to some is the age range of those women.

“Ages 18-25 were very interested,” Carroll said, “and older women also.”

Republican Women’s Clubs date back to the 1870s nationally but did not begin in Alabama until 1962. The Alabama Federation of Republican Women has between 1,200 and 1,500 members, Carroll estimated.

Clubs are very active in political events and causes around the state. During the last governor’s election, they helped run campaign headquarters in Mobile. They assist with a literacy program for battered women’s homes, and every Christmas they work with Alabama First Lady Patsy Riley to collect blankets for the homeless.

They also have an annual event called Legislative Days every March, when all the state’s clubs converge in Montgomery to have breakfast with elected officials, participate in a press conference on the Capitol steps, and watch state lawmakers in action at the legislative chambers.

“All clubs participate in Legislative Days,” Carroll said. “Each club, we work on all campaigns.”

She said the presence of a club here in the county could attract more frequent and more prominent speakers to the area, especially during election years.

“I’ve already got judges — women and men — who will come speak for me,” she said.

As a member of the Chilton County GOP Club, Carroll indicated she hopes everyone can work together.

“Some things we will do as just women, but I want us to work together as a community,” she said. “I like to keep things in Clanton. I like to buy here, I believe in supporting our schools and churches, and keeping people in the community together.”

Officers will be elected at the charter meeting. For more information, contact Carroll at 280-7581.

—Scott Mims can be reached at