Meet the Issue Chairs

The following people are volunteer lobbyist on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Washington State. 
Please click on the name below to read a biography and see contact information. 

Kimberly Abbey - Healthcare

Catherine Ahl - Education

Barbra Chevalier - Election Methods

Amy Davis - Economic & Social Justice

Phyllis Farrell - Climate Change

Martin Gibbins - Water

Raelene Gold - Forests & Rivers

Pat Griffith - Gun Safety

Heather Kelly - Criminal Justice

Nora Leech - Fair & Adequate Revenue

Karen Luetjen - Shorelines

Alison McCaffree - Redistricting

Kirstin Mueller - Election Security 

Kathy Sakahara - Democracy

Cynthia Stewart - Housing and Homelessness; Transportation

Elyette Weinstein - Energy

Kimberly Abbey

Healthcare, Behavioral Health, & Reproductive Rights

Ensure access for all residents to comprehensive, uniform and affordable physical and behavioral health care and reproductive services.

Kim Abbey is a member of Thurston County LWV since 2017. Retired from Public Health of Seattle King Co. in 2012, she was a Registered Nurse and ARNP in clinical services for thirty years. Kim Abbey has been politically active for Universal Health care since 1999 and was on the Board of Health Care for All-WA for two years. She and her husband left north Seattle and moved to Olympia in 2015.

Contact Information:

kabbey48 [at]


Catherine Ahl


Ensure the state follows through with its promise of fully funding education. Support student health and safety legislation.

Prior to moving to WA State in 1995, Catherine was the Education Specialist with the National Military Family Association in Washington, DC and advocated for military children’s education at the Pentagon and in Congress. She also served as Director of Government Relations for two years and received the Association’s Most Valuable Volunteer Award in 1994.

In 1997 Catherine was appointed Education Chair for the League of Women Voters of WA and has been following legislation and advocating for education in Olympia ever since. She served on the state League Board from 1998 to 2003, was on the LWV Kitsap Board from 1997 to 2012, serving as President from 2009 to 2012, and served on the North Kitsap School Board from 1999 to 2007. She received the WEA’s Friend of Public Education Award in 2005, the North Kitsap PTA Advocacy for Children award in 2008, and the Kitsap County Bar Association’s Liberty Bell Award in 2013.

Catherine represents LWVWA on the NEWS (Network for Excellence in WA Schools) Coalition, that is a part of the McCleary lawsuit, and also represents LWVWA in the Charter School lawsuit.

Contact Information:

cathahl [at]


Barbra Chevalier

Election Methods

Promote the adoption and implementation of election methods that maximize representation and citizen participation.

Barbra Chevalier grew up in Oklahoma and attended UC Santa Cruz where she earned a B.A. in Psychology. She moved to Washington in 2010 and fell in love with both the state’s natural beauty and her husband, a lifelong Washingtonian. They live in Bellevue, where she is a stay-at-home mom to their two young children.

She currently serves as the Voter Services Committee chair with the Seattle-King County League and is passionate about working to improve electoral processes and engage people in their own governance.

Contact Information: 

barbra.n.chevalier [at]


Amy Davis

Economic & Social Justice

Ensure equality of opportunity, prevent and reduce poverty and promote fair policies for all struggling to realize their human potential. 

Amy Davis was born and raised in Seattle, Washington and received her BA from Western Washington State in Education majoring in History with a double minor in Political Science and Psychology. After living 30 some years in Southern California, she moved back to the Pacific Northwest, and discovered the League of Women Voters of Mason County. She served two terms as President of the LWVMC, is currently on the Voter Services Committee, and is co-chair on Programs Committee. 

Her other interests and activities include reading, gardening, residential architecture, raising and tending chickens and sheep.

Contact Information:

adavis [at]


Phyllis Farrell

Climate Change

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions, put a price on carbon, and enact measures to promote climate resiliency. 

Phyllis was born in Birmingham and still has relatives in the deep South she likes to visit. She was raised in Iowa and received her B.S. and M.A. degrees from the University of Iowa. She moved to Washington in 1976 and the Olympia area has become home. She retired from the North Thurston Public Schools after 35 years of teaching and is enjoying her retirement! She volunteers with political, community and environmental groups.

Phyllis lobbies for policies to improve civic engagement, address climate change, and to protect public lands and clean water. She enjoys hiking, traveling and reading.

Contact Information:

phyllisfarrell681 [at]


Pat Griffith

Gun Safety

Limit accessibility of firearms, including assault-style weapons and high capacity clips. Enact safe storage requirements for guns. 

Pat’s first experience with LWV was in Columbia, MD in 1970 when the League studied welfare. Its facts were so convincing that she continued with the league when she moved to New Jersey, then to Seattle in 1974. Her interest in gun issues started in the late 80’s with the shooting of a student in front of Ballard High School. Pat organized the forums on gun safety, human trafficking, and internet privacy for the Seattle league. She spent many afternoons collecting signatures for I-594. 

Pat is a former small business owner, now retired, and in her third year on the board of the Seattle-King County LWV, currently serving as Action Chair. She participates in lobbying activities with Grandmothers Against Gun Violence and the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.

Contact Information:

pgriffith [at]


Martin Gibbins


Continue improving the state and local governmental programs empowered to protect the quality and quantity of our water including municipal water, groundwater, and in-stream flows.

Martin Gibbins grew up in West Virginia with a brother and a sister. His father was a college professor and his mother was a LWV activist for over 50 years. He earned engineering degrees from Virginia Tech and worked 35 years for Boeing in design, analysis, research, and management. He is now retired, living on a lake in Carnation and enjoys snow skiing in the Cascades, travel, theater, and flying sail planes with Evergreen Soaring. 

Martin joined the LWV in early 2017, and joined the Lobby Team to promote legislation that ensured a healthy environment for people and wildlife.

Contact Information:

mgibbins [at]


Raelene Gold

Forests & Rivers

Protect our forests from destructive wildfires and logging practices. Protect our northwest public lands and rivers systems. 

Raelene has been a member of the Lobby Team since 2014 as Issue Chair of Water Resources and the Columbia River, but also working on Tribal Treaty Rights, Rivers, Forests and State Parks. She represents the LWVWA on the NGO and Tribal Caucus for the Columbia River Treaty. She has been active as a volunteer in a number of environmental groups and causes.

She was past President and current Executive Committee member of the Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs, as well as Editor of its newsletter Outdoors West. She also is a Past Board and current Conservation Committee member of the Seattle Audubon Society.

She graduated from the University of Washington and the University of Washington Medical

School, and practiced Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis in Connecticut, New York City and Seattle until her retirement in 2004.

Contact Information:

rgold [at]


Heather Kelly

Criminal Justice

Eradicate racial bias from the criminal justice system to uphold principles of fairness and due process of law.

Heather Kelly grew up in Ojai, California and met her husband, Brian, in high school. She left the citrus groves of Ojai for college in snowy Massachusetts, studying Psychology and Spanish at Mount Holyoke. After graduating in 2005, Heather returned to California and worked as a paralegal at the San Francisco Public Defender's Office. Heather fell in love with the face-paced world of criminal defense and decided to pursue a law degree. She graduated from U.C. Hastings College of the Law in 2011. Seeking a balance between litigation and motherhood, Heather branched into private practice and now offers legal research and writing support to other trial attorneys. She and Brian live in Phinney Ridge with their sons Liam (aged 5) and Gabe (aged 2). Heather joined the League in 2017 to become more engaged in the political life of her new city and is the Action Chair of the Seattle King County League.

Contact Information: 

hejokelly [at]

Nora Leech

Fair & Adequate Revenue

Adopt fair revenue policies to adequately fund services and functions critical to the well-being of the people of our state.

Nora has been with the League of Women Voters for more than 17 years. She is best known for her work on Privatization authoring the Seattle Leagues’ study, followed by the National League’s study. These efforts resulted in consensus positions for our local, state and nation on the topic. Nora currently serves as the chair of the Seattle League’s economic and taxation committee in addition to her work on the State lobby team. In the past Nora served as the Voter Editor and Program Chair while serving on the Seattle board of directors. She comes from a long career (20+ years) in public relations and fundraising for nonprofits in Seattle as well 5 years as a teacher overseas most recently as a Peace Corps volunteer (2012-2014) in Colombia.

Contact Information:

nleech [at]


Karen Luetjen


Protect our Shoreline Management, Growth Management & State Environmental Policy Acts from efforts to weaken them. 

With a background in regional environmental history and watershed volunteerism, Karen has been involved with several nonprofits in King County, including the Friends of the Cedar River Watershed, Seattle Tilth (now Tilth Alliance), and WSU King County Extension. She completed a certificate in Wetlands Science and Management at the University of Washington and has worked as a grants and contracts manager for UW for nine years. Since 2017, she has shadowed former Lobby Team member Ann Aagaard in her work with the Environmental Caucus, the multi-agency group assisting the Puget Sound Partnership. Karen is aware that we Washingtonians are making decisions now that will impact generations to come. She hopes to assist League members and state voters to make informed decisions.

Contact Information: 

khluetjen [at]

Alison McCaffree

Census & Redistricting

Ensure the redistricting process is accessible and transparent with time frames that enable input and strengthen results and support an accurate and complete 2020 Census.

Alison McCaffree has a wide range of leadership, management and community organizing experience. Her experience with giving back to her community started at an early age - receiving the Girl Scout Gold Award at age 16. Alison holds mechanical engineering degrees from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA from the Sloan School of Business at MIT. 

After starting and managing successful for-profit businesses, Alison moved to the nonprofit sector and has held the chief executive spot for last 10 years. She was the Director of Knowledge Transfer for the Leaders for Global Operations program at MIT, Executive Director at an IT consulting nonprofit called, NPower. From 2011 – 2016, Alison launched Washington State’s first nonprofit association, Washington Nonprofits, and grew it to be a powerful agent in enhancing the health and influence of the nonprofit sector. 

She has now turned her sights to citizen engagement by leading Politics of the Possible in Action; an organization inspired by the philosophies of her grandmother, a 4-term Washington State representative. Politics of the Possible in Action focuses on increasing citizen engagement in governmental processes, enhancing the public’s knowledge of civics and honoring the service of those who serve the public.

Alison is following in her grandmother's footsteps by heading up the LWVWA's Redistricting efforts for the 2021 redistricting cycle. 

Contact Information: 

alison.mccaffree [at]


Kirstin Mueller

Election Security

Promote security, accuracy, auditability, and transparency in elections.

Kirstin was born and raised in Seattle, and graduated from the University of Washington with a B.S. in microbiology. She went on to attend Washington University in Saint Louis where she obtained her doctorate in physical therapy. For the last 12 years she has lived in Snohomish County working as a PT and running a small software company with her husband. In her free time Kirstin enjoys practicing sustainable living, and spending time outdoors with her family.

Recently Kirstin became passionate about the need to insure accuracy and security in our elections. 

Why I am on the Lobby Team: 

“After significant research on the issue, I learned about LWV’s guidelines for conducting evidence based post-election audits. I am proud to lead our advocacy on important election security bills. I hope to continue to expand my focus on advocating for positive election reforms in the future.”

Contact Information: 

kpmueller [at]


Kathy Sakahara

Elections, Voting Rights & Campaign Finance

 Improve access to the ballot, reduce the influence of special interest money, and increase transparency in government and politics.

Kathy Sakahara is a lifelong political activist. She ran for the WI House of Representatives at age 23 and has been fascinated by the political process ever since. She served on the board of LWVWA for six years, and most recently served as Vice President of Advocacy.  She personally manages all advocacy relating to campaign finance and elections. Kathy served on the board of League of Women Voters of Seattle-King County for two years.

Kathy had a successful career as a presentation coach and trainer to Fortune 500 executives and technical experts. Her specialty was teaching scientists, engineers and other technical specialists to present complex information in a clear, understandable way that facilitated decision-making. She carried that work into her nonprofit career, providing speakers’ bureau consulting, communication, advocacy, and media outreach training to several nonprofits across Washington.

Why I am on the Lobby Team: 

“My mantra has always been a combination of a quote from Letters from a Birmingham Jail and the Serenity Prayer: ‘The problem is not words and actions of our enemies, it is the silence and inaction of our friends. I cannot control the former by I can-and will-do something about the latter.’ Being on the LWV Lobby Team is a wonderful opportunity to do just that.”

Contact Information:

ksakahara [at]


Cynthia Stewart

Housing and Homelessness

Achieve policies and funding necessary to address the homelessness crisis and assure an adequate supply of affordable housing for middle-to-low income people.


 Achieve a balanced transportation system that is integrated, adequate and effective, prioritizes maintenance and emphasizes emissions reduction and traffic reduction strategies such as public transportation.

Cynthia Stewart has worked for decades in the field of public works, including in management roles on the King County Council central staff, King County solid waste division and King County airport, where she was designated Airport Manager of the Year by WA State DOT. She also has consulted with small cities on development of capital facilities plans and served as Deputy County Manager in Thurston County, responsible for finance, including funding of the capital facilities plan. After retiring, she became an active League of Women Voters member and has served on the LWVWA Lobby Team for transportation and as support for health care and revenue.

Contact Information: 

stewdahl [at]

Elyette Weinstein


Protect the Energy Independence Act, increase renewable power use and promote energy conservation in building and lifestyle practices. 

Elyette is a graduate of Douglass College, Rutgers University, Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa and a graduate of New York University School of Law. For approximately forty years, I practiced law in New York and Washington State as an attorney for federal, city and state governments. This work included litigation, analyzing and drafting legislation, amendments and regulations. I also advised and testified before Washington State legislative committees and agencies. My work for the legislative committees required that I review fiscal notes and budget issues.

I have a moral obligation to fight climate change. I think that I can be useful working with the League Lobby Team on environmental issues through written analysis and testimony.

Contact Information:

eweinstein [at]


The League of Women Voters of Washington is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization.
The League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. LWVWA Education Fund contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. The League of Women Voters Education Fund does not endorse the contents of any web pages to which it links.

League of Women Voters of the United States

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software