DENVER (CBS4) – Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed an executive order in creating the Women’s Vote Centennial Commission to commemorate 100 years since women were granted the right to vote. Colorado joins many states in marking this anniversary.

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The 19th Amendment was ratified on Aug. 26, 1920, and granted women the right to vote across the country. Colorado was the first state in the country to grant women the right to vote via state referendum.

At a press conference held on Thursday, Hickenlooper announced the commission. By his side stood Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne, History Colorado Chairperson Cathey McClain Finlon, and more of the 25 female women in public service who have committed to the Commission.

“We’re celebrating the undeniable impact women have had in shaping our state,” said Hickenlooper. “Today is about honoring a pivotal moment in the fight for access to voting that continues today. Suffrage changed the course of history, and we recognize the world of difference that comes when diverse people have the opportunity to vote and lead.”

The governor highlighted the importance of voting and praised Colorado for being 26 years ahead of the other states in granting women the ability to vote back in 1893. In present-day Colorado, 87 women have run for statewide or congressional office, 33 out of 65 house members are female, and 12 out of 35 Senators are women.

“We just want to make sure this anniversary does not pass unnoticed. I know that I am grateful that we have such strong women, leaders, in Colorado.”

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Throughout 2019, the WVCC will be developing programs and initiatives to carry out during the official centennial year, 2020. The program’s mission is to serve as a central organizing and information-sharing entity for programs, projects, and activities that commemorate the 19th Amendment, and promote education on the history of women’s rights, along with a stimulation of dialogue to advance the conversation and continue the ongoing fight for women’s rights.

Lt. Donna Lynne hopes that the WVCC will not only celebrate the history of women’s rights, but also contribute to the ongoing fight for women’s rights.

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“We are proud that Colorado was the first to give women the right to vote in 1893. But we know we have much to talk about in terms of that journey, not only in Colorado, but nationally. It wasn’t always pretty but we got there, and we still have work to do.”

The Commission will be working with History Colorado to promote educational opportunities, and highlight women’s contributions to Colorado history. Finlon spoke on the importance of the establishment of the commission.

“The Women’s Vote Centennial Commission allows us to bring new engagement and connection for Coloradans on the precious right to vote. It allows us to look at the issue around gender, race, ethnicity as these should never be factors in the choice to vote. We will look forward to Colorado’s leadership in celebrating this important milestone but also in advancing the conversation relative to the significance of the vote to democracy.”

They hope that the commission will not only celebrate the 100th anniversary of the right to vote, but the achievements of courageous women leaders in government, business, and the nonprofit world.

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