Bonnie Pitz, President
(2012-2013) Bonnie is a retired High School Guidance Counselor who retired in 2006 after 29 years in education. She joined League in 2000 and soon served as secretary for the Jasper County League. During that time she learned what League was all about, enjoying the contact with other League members who were informed and hard working. In 2006-2008 she accepted the job of Co-President with Lynn Herbold and then President in 2008-2010. State wide meetings, Lobby Day, Legislative Coffees, Candidate Forums, Observer Corps and the monthly meetings were great fun and valuabCle experiences. At this time, she is vice-president of the local Dollars for Scholars and has served on that board for 18 years. Other interests include time with grandkids, traveling with husband Dave, reading and gardening. She finds League challenging and so very worthwhile in the impact it can make on Legislative Issues and giving local citizens the information they need so that they can make the best decisions in the voting booth.
Deborah Turner M.D. J. D. Vice- President (2012-2014) Dr. Turner is a native of Mason City. She says she is just a “corn -fed kid”. She received her B.S. from ISU and M.D. from UI in 1978. She specializes in Gynecologic Oncology completing a residency at UI and a fellowship at M.D. Anderson Cancer Institute in Houston in 1985. Turner has practiced both in the academic and private sector. Currently she serves as Director of Gynecologic Oncology at Mercy Medical Center Des Moines. She received a JD from Drake in 2008. She has served on the Board of Regents, been involved in many voluntary services, and currently serves as President of the Des Moines Metro League. One of her current interests is Global Health. She spent three weeks in Singida, Tanzania on a med/surgical medical trip in 2011 and returned in 2012. However, her children-son Daniyel, 20, a student in music business /production in Chicago and niece Danielle 26 are what make her “world go round.”
Carol Cooper, Secretary (2011-2013) Carol has served as secretary for the State Board. She has been Secretary and President of Black Hawk Bremer League of Women Voters and currently serves the local board as Director of Communications and webmaster. She has been retired from teaching in the UNI School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation for almost three years and delights in finding that “every day is Saturday.” Life-long single with five cats who wreak havoc at home and keep life very interesting. She was a bridge fanatic in college and took up the game immediately upon retirement. At first she took lessons but was amazed to see how the game changed over 40 years and she then played 4-5 times a week. That got old quite quickly and now Carol plays once a week at the club but a lot on the computer. She is about to get back into ham radio which had been left at the wayside about 11 years ago.
EJ Gallagher, Director (2011-2013) Edward J. (E.J.) Gallagher III lives in Waterloo, Iowa and is an attorney in private practice with Gallagher, Langlas & Gallagher, P.C. He has served the Black Hawk -Bremer League on Committees and as President. He now serves on the Boards of Iowa Citizens Action Network and Winnebago Council Boy Scouts of America. In previous years he has served on the boards of Peoples Community Health Clinic, Iowa Sierra Club and American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa. He has also been active in political activities. He has degrees from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota and Georgetown University Law School. E.J. has been active in legal associations and was president of the Iowa Association for Justice.
He has an adult daughter and son. Other interests include kayaking, downhill and cross country skiing and snow shoeing and traveling while taking lots of pictures.
Mary Rae Bragg, Director, Mary Rae retired in June 2009 after 13 years as a political reporter for the Telegraph Herald, Dubuque. As political reporter, she covered forums and legislative update sessions sponsored by Dubuque’s League of Women Voters. Upon retirement she joined LWV because of a personal commitment to the League’s goal of an informed and involved electorate. Through her League membership, she became active in the 50-50 in 2020 voter initiative and was named to that group’s board of directors early in 2012. A native of Jefferson, Iowa and a 1964 graduate of Drake University, she lives in Dubuque, with her three sons and their families living in Troy, Michigan, Zimmerman, Minnesota, and Bluffton, South Carolina.
Lauris Olson, Director, Lauris is a second generation League member. Her mother was active in the Mason City League in the 1960s and 70s, and Lauris remembers helping staff her first voter registration in the summer of 1968. Lauris joined the Ames League in 2003 and served as Legislative Liaison before becoming President Elect in 2007-08 and President in 2008-09. Professionally, Lauris is a journalist who left the Des Moines Register in 2005 to bring up a local news and events website, Ames 365.com. She purchased The Ames Bulletin Board, a quarterly information and events magazine serving Ames and surrounding communities. She served on the Ames Noon Kiwanis Board of Directors; the advisory board for an adult addiction treatment center, Community and Family Resources; the Eleven Days of Global Unity planning committee and completed a nine-month leadership program offered through the Ames Chamber of Commerce.
Dianne Bystrom, Director, Dianne Bystrom has served as the director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University since July 1996. She earned a B.A. in Journalism in 1975 from Kearney (NE) State College and an M.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication in 1982 and a Ph.D. in Communication in 1995 from the University of Oklahoma. She is a frequent commentator about political and women’s issues for state and national media. Bystrom is a co-author, co-editor, and contributor to 15 books--including “Gender and Elections” (2009 and 2005); “Legislative Women: Getting Elected, Getting Ahead” (2008) and “Gender and Candidate Communication” (2004). In addition to directing the Center, Bystrom teaches courses in leadership, women and politics, and political campaigns for Women’s Studies, Political Science and Speech Communication as an adjunct assistant professor of political science.
Fran Henderson, Director,
Fran and her husband owned a pharmacy in Newton for 28 years. She is currently retired and enjoying the freedom of not owning a small business. She joined League in 2000 and has served as treasurer, program chairperson and membership chairperson. She and her husband have two daughters and two grandchildren. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Newton YMCA and is treasurer of that organization. She, also, enjoys membership in Questers, which is a group interested in antiques and collectables. She likes to work out at the Y, ride bicycles, read, garden, and spend time with grandchildren. She enjoys being in League and helping educate citizens about current issues.