THE HISTORY OF THE
COMMONWEALTH CLUB


1961: Founded by a group of young mothers in their mid-to-late twenties, living in Parkfairfax, who had worked together on the Nixon-Lodge campaign.  They were well educated, moderate on social issues, conservative on fiscal issues, and were at home with their children with time to volunteer.  They enjoyed politics and enjoyed working together.  Thus came into being the Parkfairfax Republican Women's Club.  Within a year or two most of them had moved to nearby North Ridge, and so the name was changed to the Commonwealth Republican Women's Club.  Early members included Lou Cook, Betty McCann, Jane Ring and Shirley Jones.

As of that time, there had not been a Republican elected to City Council since Reconstruction.  In March, 1961, all eight Republican workers met at Jane and Connie Ring's house on Monticello Boulevard.  This became the first party headquarters because the Rings had a mimeograph machine in their basement.  Club members with their children in strollers, walked door-to-door to invite neighbors to join the party, to vote for their candidate in the coming election, or to vote their way on issues placed on election ballots.

The women held bake sales, auctions, flea markets and dinners to raise money for their candidates and the party.  They passed out mimeographed leaflets at shopping centers and public events, usually with children in tow.  To attract attention to the Republican cause at these events, children were dressed in pink elephant suits (which they hated).  Because they had the largest basement of the group, campaign headquarters was shifted to the home of Shirley and Homer Jones on Russell Road.




1967:  That year their organizing finally paid off as Wiley Mitchell was elected to City Council.  He was the first Republican elected to the Alexandria City Council since Reconstruction.  Club members also worked with the party against "massive resistance to integration," to abolish the poll tax and to lobby the State Transportation Department for bike paths.

The women learned about politics from the ground up and in a few years they were managing campaigns and running for office themselves.  In 2001, the Club celebrated its fortieth year while continuing to study issues, recruit, and train candidates, and manage campaigns.  The club is a member of the Virginia Federation of Republican Women and the National Federation of Republican Women.           

By CRWCer Rosalind Bovey

CRWC Presidents
2018  Eileen Brackens
2017  Eileen Brackens
2016  Laurie Kirby
2015  Susan Yonts-Shepard
2014  Susan Yonts-Shepard
2013   Linda Greenberg  &  Gail  Ledwig
2012   Elizabeth O’Neal  &  Gail  Ledwig
2011   Shari Bolouri
2010   Amy Millican
2009   Amy Millican
2008   Leslie Anderson
2007   Leslie Anderson
2006   Terri Hauser
2005   Allison W.Cryor DiNardo
2004   Ruth Cleveland
2003   Ruth Cleveland
2002   Nancy Dever
2001   Elizabeth Furash
2000   Gloria Bachman
1999   Paula  Potoczak
1998   Grace Flores  Hughes
1997   Lisa Cooper
1996   Mollie Worth Calhoun
1995   Regina Brown Schofield
1994   Emily Davies  Springer
1993   Cindi Bartol
1992   Devera  Allday
1991   Miriam  Kochensparger
1990   Betsy Davies Hood
1989   Heidi Wagner  Ring
1988   Diana Rodriquez  (Sargent)
1987   Loree Gunn
1986   Barbara McElroy
1985   Evelyn  Stratton
1984   Rebecca  Becky  Davies
1983   Betty McCann
1983   Karen Kilday
1982   Francine Barber
1979-81     Cindy Coolbaugh  (Doane)
1978-79     Jo Torpy
1976-78     Anne Lash
1975-76     Nancy McCabe
1974   Jane Ring
1973   Kay Mereness
1972   Florence ''Flon" Barkley
1971   Mary Rolfe  Cronin
1970   Anne Haffner
1969   Nancy Ward
1968   Gretchen  Heltzel
1967   Marilyn  Currier
1966   Nina  Anderson  &  Barbara Johnson
1965   Doriene  Steeves
1964   Joan Bradley  Cohen
1963   Betty Ockershausen
1961-63     Jan McNamee


Commonwealth Republican Women's Club

Alexandria, Virginia
The Club's Mission is to:

- Bring women together to shape the community's future
- Provide a forum for discussion and action on political issues
- Educate women in the political process
- Support activities in literacy, women's health and Caring for America
VFRW
This page was last updated on: February 4, 2018