What does PCRWC do?
We work to improve our political awareness, and to make politics a real and vital source in the lives of Tucson-area women. Prior political knowledge or experience is not necessary.
We support the objectives of the Republican Party – our Grand Old Party (GOP) – and work for the election of Republican candidates.
We promote an informed electorate through political education, and work to increase the effectiveness of women in government through political participation.
PCRWC holds monthly meetings with educational programs on current issues and political candidates. Lunch or dinner meetings are held on the fourth Thursday of each month throughout the year.
The PCRWC Story
The Pima County Republican Women’s Club was established in 1924 under the guidance of Mrs. Clifford W. Parson when a group of 16 politically concerned women joined together to discuss having good government over tea in Tucson, Arizona.
Women’s Republican Club of Pima County, as it was called at the time, existed even before there was talk of forming the State Federation made up of “units” in every county of Arizona. In 1924 Arizona Republican leaders gathered at the Old Pueblo Club for a luncheon given by the Tucson Chapter of Republican Women.
Republican Women were involved in a variety of issues as reflected by the speakers attending their meetings. Members met at the courthouse, the Old Pueblo Club, Republican Headquarters, private homes, Veteran’s Hospital, Tucson Electric Building, or any place available to them. An article by the Tucson Citizen dated October 24, 1924 noted that the Pima County Woman’s Republican Club was hosting a luncheon at the Old Pueblo Club honoring the wife of the candidate for Governor, Mrs. Dwight B. Heard. Entertaining national candidates wives was common and speakers came to Pima County from all over the nation.
In 1931, the membership discussed bills pending before the state legislature. They collectively studied bills and would send their opinion to the legislators as a club. Examples of meeting where bills were discussed; Bill #31—Provided payment of $7.00 per day for each Legislator amounting to $1,000 per session and an allowance of 20 cents for mileage. Another bill called for an annual salary of $800 and 10 cents for mileage. The club opposed both of these bills. Bill # 16–provided for workers at the polls to be kept a distance of 1,000 ft. away instead of 50 ft. The Club did not favor this bill.
In 1935 the club passed a motion to accept an invitation by the National Defense Council to have Pima County Republican Club members take full charge of organizing and running a soup kitchen in case of an emergency. Also in 1935 Club members circulated petitions to successfully have the Right to Work law enacted.
Club members often experienced frustration in dealing with different issues affecting the state as reflected in their minutes. Some quotes: “What’s the use”, “The public is fickle “, “We have got to get people to registered to vote”, and “Start early with our party campaign.” The members were feisty. During a political organization meeting after recommending precinct chairman contact precinct committeemen, Mrs. Emma Parsons was quoted as saying, “Do not let Republican men rest; have them do something or hand the job over to the women.”
Registering voters especially 18 and 19 year old high school seniors was a high priority for the Club in 1940. They circulated initiative petitions for the purpose of calling a Constitutional Convention to decrease taxation and eliminate unnecessary government.
The issues have really not changed over the years. In 1945 members were concerned about how “our” money was being spent by our politicians. In 1947 they talked about how teachers were underpaid. They also discussed having problems dealing with Colorado River water. Mr. Maddock of Safford spoke on water issues at the club’s luncheon, “The women need not feel hesitant about taking up this matter, for men have handled it for a long time and have made a mess of it”. In 1948 the Club referred to media hype as newspaper propaganda.
By 1955 membership had risen to 1,760 and members were pioneers in making things easy for themselves. The club purchased an electrical mimeographing machine and donated it to Republican Headquarters where they reproduced the club’s monthly newsletter.
Compiled by Sheilah Bowen, President 1998-1999
In 2004, PCRWC celebrated our 80th anniversary and we are proud to be the longest standing Republican women’s club in the state. We cherish our history dating back to the 1920’s with memorabilia, scrapbooks and pictorials. We pride ourselves on educating our members, support women’s education through several scholarship programs, volunteer time and contribute funds to local organizations, and continue to work to elect Republicans at the local, state and federal level.
Our members have served or are currently servings as state senators, state representatives, as precinct committeemen, district chairmen, judges, and county treasurer. We serve on numerous boards including the State and National Federation of Republican Women. Our members have been candidates for congress and statewide office. Several of our members are campaign managers, campaign chairs, and campaign treasurers. PCRWC members are politically active. We are never politically correct!
Cyndi Collins, President 2004-2005