A History of Cherry Creek Republican Women
by Jane Bales
CCRW’s 10th President
updated by Andi Allott & Mary Wenke
Cherry Creek Republican Women was established in Arapahoe County in 1954 when it was apparent there were many new residents of the area with a budding interest in politics and not much background knowledge of the Republican Party they had chosen to support when they voted for “the man” Ike.
Though a League of Women Voters had been formed in 1950 from a neighborhood study group, the Republican members of this group realized that it could never bring the opportunity of political education oriented to the newly dominant Republican Party that the National Federation of Republican Women sponsors. With the encouragement of Grace Giehm, a past President of the Colorado Federation of Republican Women (CCRW); Mrs. James Arneill, past President of the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW), and the aid of Marcia Spencer, Vice-Chair of the Arapahoe County Republican Party, and four active committeewomen of contiguous precincts, the club was organized.
We named our organization Cherry Creek Republican Women because our newly consolidated Cherry Creek School District presented us with a challenge to recognize a community of interest that would grow out of this legal association, and we wanted new residents of this fast-growing district to know we Republican Women stood ready to welcome them. At the same time, in the best tradition of the NFRW, we set no boundaries geographically from which members could come and join us.
Our first president was Gere Wessel, an enthusiastic and able committeewoman from Hampden Hills, who though a newcomer to Arapahoe County, had been active in El Paso County Republican work. The charter meeting was held at Gere Wessel’s house with eight people in attendance and the first meeting was held at Christ Episcopal Church at South University at Bates. We held a membership tea that first year and ended the year with eighty members.
Since our bylaws originally provided only for meetings in the winter months, we found it increasingly difficult to get the membership back in the swing in time for the fall election-year activities. Consequently, we revised the bylaws to provide for year-round meetings which were again held in semi-public meetings places instead of members’ homes, as had become the custom in the past years, as well as mandatory board meetings to plan a continuous program.
Jane Bales was Cherry Creek’s 10th President and served as President in 1968.
The Republican women activists who established Cherry Creek Republican Women were dedicated Republican volunteers passionate about the Republican Party, Republican candidates, and ideals as well as a commitment to community service and involvement. This equal emphasis of politics and philanthropy is Republicanism at its very best and strongest. Many members have stated that our commitment of practicing our Republican philosophy of compassion in our community was a determining factor for joining Cherry Creek Republican Women. Above all, they felt that political education was essential for an informed electorate.
Past presidents of Cherry Creek Republican Women have served the club, the Republican Party and their communities with distinction. Marcia Spencer, Jane Bales and Sally Loomis served as vice chair of the Arapahoe County Republican Party; Betty Ann Dittemore was a vice chair of the Arapahoe County Republican Party and went on to become Arapahoe County’s first woman County Commissioner and an Arapahoe County state legislator; Judy Broadway became president of the Colorado Federation of Republican Women; Carolyn Allen was elected to serve in the Arizona legislature; Sue Thomas became the chair of the Arapahoe County Republican Party; Andi Allott served as secretary of the Arapahoe County Republican Party; Mary Wenke was elected vice chair of the Arapahoe County Republican Party; Cindy Acree was elected as State Representative for House District 40 and Candy Figa who is so active in various legal groups. And....the Honorable Nancy Spence. Nancy was active in her children’s school and PTO groups and was elected to the Cherry Creek School Board where she served as President of the School Board, was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives and to the Colorado Senate. Many more officers and members of Cherry Creek Republican Women serve in as Republican Party Officers, District Captains, precinct leaders, higher assembly officers, school board members, Mayors and members of City Councils as well as all around activists making a difference and making their community a better place to live.
This is the spirit, commitment, and compassion of Cherry Creek Republican Women. In this new year, please join us - either as a renewing member or as a new member. You are always welcome and remember . . . the best is yet to come.”
“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.”
Vince Lombardi, Hall of Fame football coach