Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Gretchen Stadler was eager to join the second-annual Women’s March Saturday in La Grande, but creating a political movement, she believes, takes much more than a single day, or event.

Stadler, who joined a group of about 15 other Baker City residents in carpooling to La Grande, said last year’s inaugural march, which coincided with events in hundreds of cities nationwide, seemed to her largely a reaction to Donald Trump’s surprising election as president.

But this year Stadler sensed a “more forward-thinking” attitude among the estimated 300 people who marched in La Grande.

She’s excited at the prospect of more women not simply expressing their opinions, but also taking more direct action such as running for office and writing to their congressional representatives.

“Women are being more outspoken about their values and what they think is acceptable behavior,” Stadler said. “We’re in this together, and this is our country.”

Stadler said the wave of revelations during the second half of 2017 about women being sexually abused and harassed by celebrities, particularly in the entertainment industry and in politics, definitely encouraged women to participate in Saturday’s rallies across America.

But she believes the publicity about those incidents also served to maintain the momentum from the 2017 marches that has prompted women to take a more active role in the political realm.

“For me, as someone in her late 50s, I always thought being a citizen meant that you voted,” Stadler said. “But now I don’t think that’s enough. We need to write to our representatives and go to meetings and encourage other people to vote. It is kind of an awakening.”

See more in the Jan. 22, 2018, issue of the Baker City Herald.