"Democracy and Me" was the title of Dave Long's talk at the May 16 Annual Meeting of the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County.

Prior to the speech, Long was presented the LWV's 2012-2013 "Making Democracy Work" Award. This award recognizes and honors a member of our community who has been a leader and actively engaged in the hands-on work to keep Montgomery County a strong, fair, and vibrant place to live and has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to making democracy work.

David Long has a lifetime of service to his country and community!

Long began his remarks stating "Community involvement is next to impossible without the support of others close to you." He introduced his wife Gloria and entire family, noting they had been investors in most of his better efforts and deserve some of the stock of the award.

Our form of government is a republic. For Long, the key factor of a republic form of government is while it represents the majority, it also protects the rights of the minority. "Protecting the rights of the minority can be very unpopular during stressful situations, but it's one of the things that make this nation the envy of freedom loving people around the world," he emphasized.

A member of the Indiana National Guard for forty years while also working as a full-time federal employee, Long developed in those years "a deep appreciation of those basic rights and ideas that we often talk about but rarely put into practice." He came to understand that without "participation of all, democracy would not flourish and might even fail," and that education is the key to that participation.

One of the first things Long remembers about the LWV years ago related to its voter education-education that makes a difference. "Through its various programs, events, activities, advocacy and educational material, the League serves as a vital grass roots, non-partisan advocate for make democracy work," he stated.

Long has tried to stay abreast of events and become involved in local projects important to the community. Being a member of the Guard and working in the Community convinced him that "community was an important part of democracy." His second life at the Chamber of Commerce provided him access to a wide range of people from all of Indiana as well as the national Chamber who have stimulating ideas on government and how it should govern.

The Legislative Breakfast series each year provide "one-on-one give and take with our elected representatives and is what democracy is all about." The Chamber and the LWV have also co-sponsored candidate forums for a number of years at which Long has served as moderator.

Long truly believes that each and every citizen needs to be involved in our democracy in some form at some level. He quoted George Bernard Shaw, "Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve."

Education and involvement are key elements of our Republic's continuing success. Long urged us all to invest a little time and effort in helping make democracy work at all levels. It can be as large as running for office or as small as casting a single vote on an issue or candidate. "Each of us is a small piece of the Democracy Puzzle. How complete that puzzle becomes is up to each of us!"

The League of Women Voters of Montgomery County is pleased to honor S. David Long as recipient of 2012-2013 "Making Democracy Work Award" and has added his name to the Making Democracy Work Plaque which is displayed in the Carnegie Museum. Former awardees have been Judge Thomas K. Milligan and L. Ann Malott.

The League of Women Voters,encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase public understanding of major policy issues and influences public policy through education and advocacy.