LWVF Board of Directors
Pamela Goodman, President
Pamela Goodman currently serves as President of the Florida State League of Women Voters. Educated at the University of Iowa in journalism and business, Goodman spent her professional career in retailing, rising to President/CEO of Limited Express, with $1.5 billion in revenue and over 850 stores nationwide. Her international business relationships involved the Far East, Europe, India and Israel.
She served as president of the League of Women Voters of Palm Beach County from 2005 to 2009 and has been serving on the League of Women Voters Florida Board of Directors from 2007 to the present. Since 2006, she has chaired the Fair Districts campaign statewide for the League and was responsible for coordinating all League work during the campaign to secure passage of the two Fair Districts constitutional amendments. She continues to work with all litigation regarding this issue.
Goodman has also served on the League of Women Voters of the United States Nominating Committee and Membership Recruitment Committee. In addition to being a member of the first “Sisters Across the Straits” delegation that traveled and met with women in Cuba, she has received numerous awards, including the 2008 Susan B. Anthony Award for Outstanding Feminist from the National Organization for Women.
Goodman also serves as President of The Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County, a nonprofit organization that has more than quadrupled its revenue under her guidance and now serves as the key fundraising, education and advocacy organization in Palm Beach County supporting the Ten Year Plan to end homelessness.
Goodman also serves as a Director on the Board of Hospice of Palm Beach County Foundation.
She resides in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Patricia Brigham, First Vice President
Patti grew up in Orlando and attended the University of Central Florida where she earned a B.A. in philosophy and an M.A. in Liberal Studies. After several years at We Care, Inc., a suicide prevention/crisis intervention center, Patti forged a career in radio with responsibilities as a reporter, writer and producer. During this time she was recognized with several awards from media organizations including American Women in Radio and Television and the Associated Press. She also worked as a freelance reporter for the Orlando Weekly, writing about the arts
Patti formed the League’s statewide Gun Safety Committee, which she chairs. In her spare time, Patti volunteers for a marathon training program and cares for her retired racing greyhound, Callie, who is the fastest runner in the family.
Cecile Scoon, Second Vice President
Cecile Scoon received a Visual and Environmental Studies undergraduate degree from Harvard and is presently a small town civil rights lawyer in North Florida, commonly called “L.A.,” for “Lower Alabama.” After graduating from U. Virginia School of Law, ’84, she spent five years as an active-duty Air Force JAG prosecuting in military courts martial. She retired from the A.F. reserves as a Major in 2005.
Cecile attempts to protect the rights of those wronged at work due to their race, religion, age, disability, place of birth, or unwanted sexual advances made to them.
When not burning the midnight oil drafting lengthy pleadings, Cecile enjoys parenting her three children, 18, 21, and 24 and along with running, gardening, painting, and watching soccer with her best-friend, husband, law partner, and LWV member, Alvin Peters.
Cecile attended high school at National Cathedral School for Girls in DC. She has an under graduate degree in art design and a lot of art history from Harvard, more formally called Visual and Environmental Studies.
Patricia Drago, Secretary
Pat Drago was born in Florida and with the exception of twelve years in New England, has lived in Florida her entire life. She attended Eckerd College (Florida Presbyterian College at the time). Pat worked for the Volusia County School system until her retirement in 2009 from her position as Executive Director of Facilities. During her 22 years of service with the school district she oversaw a $750 million building program, was responsible for management, operations and maintenance of 9 million square feet of education facilities and supervised a staff of 350. It was a privilege to serve in her home county and make a difference in the future of Volusia students. She treasures those years of hard work and creativity.
Pat has been a League member since 1981 and credits her League education and exposure for securing her the position with the school district. Pat has served as a local League President, Natural Resources Chair and on the State Board in the 1980’s. She is excited to be in a position to once again be an active and contributing League member.
In addition to her League activities, Pat participates in several local government boards, reads, cooks, sews, gardens and travels. Her husband, Arnie, is also a supportive League member and participates in many League activities. They have one daughter, Daria, who lives in Denver, CO., and is an environmental engineer. Due to her efforts, they have three terrific grandchildren.
Theresa Francis-Thomas, Treasurer
Theresa has lived in the Orlando area for over 25 years. Theresa has spent most of her career with a background in public service. She has served as a Legislative Aide, a Business Analyst, and for almost 30 years worked for the Florida Department of Revenue and currently is a Tax Audit Supervisor. She volunteers with the American Red Cross.
At Jacksonville University she earned her bachelor degrees in Management and Economics and continued post-baccalaureate work in accounting at the University of Central Florida. Theresa has served not only as Chairperson of the Budget Committee for the last three years but has also served as a member of the LWVF Board.
Shawn Bartelt, Director
Shawn Bartelt recently retired as Vice President and General Manager of WFTV, Channel 9 and WRDQ, Central Florida’s TV27. Bartelt joined Cox Television in 2000 as director of sales at WSOC-TV and WAXN-TV and was promoted to General Manager in Orlando in 2006. She began her broadcasting career at WWSB-TV in Sarasota, Florida in 1977 as a reporter on the late-night shift and left in 1978 to become a daytime reporter and weekend anchor at WMBB in Panama City. In 1979 she returned to WWSB as daytime reporter and weekend anchor. She joined Storer Cable in Sarasota as local origination manager from 1981-1986 where she coordinated and hosted local programming covering Sarasota County and then launched and managed the sales team there from 1986-1988.
In 1989, she returned to WWSB on the broadcasting side as a local account executive and was soon promoted to national sales manager. She held positions as national sales manager at WESH from 1990-1992, local sales manager at WTOG in Tampa from 1993-1994 and general sales manager at WPBF in West Palm from 1994-2000.
Since coming to Central Florida Shawn has managed the continuous growth of WFTV 9 Family Connection, the public service arm of Channel 9 that helps raise awareness and millions of dollars in funding for several non profit programs that are invaluable to the residents of our area.
Personally, Shawn is on the Board of Directors for Heart of Florida United Way and has chaired a United Way Campaign and Chef’s Gala. She is on the Florida Citrus Sports Board, and is a member of the Metro Orlando Economic Development Council. She is also a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Metro Orlando, and was nominated as a Community Gem for the Hispanic Community by the chamber. She has been a volunteer in the Read 2 Succeed program reading to second grade students; and was instrumental in the launch a groundbreaking mentor program, Operation Positive Direction, with Orlando Police Chief Val Demmings.
Shawn is from the “Conch Republic”. She was born in Key West, and has lived in Marathon, Miami, and Sarasota before college. She attended USF and graduated from UF. Shawn has two children and lives in the Delaney Park neighborhood of Orlando.
Annie Betancourt, Director
Annie Betancourt is a Director of the League of Women Voters of Florida. A League member for more than three decades, Betancourt has shown true dedication to the cause of citizen participation and good government. She learned the ropes by conducting voter registration drives, monitoring local elections and participating in study groups focusing on Florida’s fiscal policies.
Betancourt served as President of the League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County from 1988 to 1990 and was later appointed by Governor Lawton Chiles to serve on the South Florida Water Management District. Elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1994, Betancourt championed laws that promoted job opportunities and access to higher education. In addition, she fought public corruption on several fronts along with law enforcement agencies. Betancourt served in the House until 2002 when term limits forced her to step down. Between 2007 and 2009, she served a second term as League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County President.
Paula Dockery, Director
Senator Paula Dockery left the Legislature after 16 years—six in the Florida House and 10 in the Florida Senate. She served as Environmental Protection Chair, Criminal Justice Chair, a budget subcommittee chair and for three stints as majority whip. She has been very active on transportation issues and has been recognized nationally for her expertise on water resource issues.
Dockery earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master Degree in Mass Communications, both from the University of Florida. She has provided political analysis for ABC Action News in Tampa and is a frequent guest on political TV and radio programs. Her political opinion columns have been published in many of the 30 Florida newspapers that had the syndication rights.
Active in her community, Dockery is a board member of the Polk Education Foundation, a board member of Lakeland PigFest, a member of the Lakeland Kiwanis Club, and is organizing a citizens support organization for Colt Creek State Park. She has been married for 25 years to Doc Dockery and currently resides in Lakeland.
Anthony Dutton, Director
Tony Dutton, a 22-year resident of Florida, grew-up outside of Philadelphia where he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with an A.B. in International Relations. He later attended Penn Law School. Tony has practiced law for more than 50 years, always with the same firm, Hodgson Russ LLP, in Buffalo and Albany, New York, and Boca Raton, Florida, specializing in corporate and banking law. He now serves as “Of Counsel” to the firm.
Between College and Law School, Tony served in a U.S. Navy airborne early-warning squadron flying surveillance flights over the Atlantic Ocean (crossed the Atlantic more than 200 times and never set foot in Europe). After Law School he remained in the Navy Reserve and had some interesting short tours on several aircraft carriers, the Pentagon and the U.S. Naval War College. He is now a retired U.S. Navy Commander.
Tony presently lives in Melbourne, Brevard County, Florida. For a number of years he and his wife, Barbara, have been active in the League of Women Voters of the Space Coast, where Barbara is its Membership Chair, and Tony continues as First Vice President and Voter Service Chair.
Tony has been interested in government and politics since 1940, when his mother had his sisters and him marching down the sidewalks shouting, “We Want Willkie!” Over the years Tony has worked on many local, state and national political campaigns and served on a number of public Boards and Committees. Among the government and community organizations in which Tony has had leadership roles are the City of Buffalo Citizens Advisory Board, Housing Opportunities Made Equal (civil rights organization), New York State Dormitory Authority, Coordinated Care Management Corporation (health care administrator), New York State Industries for the Blind, Visiting Nurse Corporation of South Florida, and City of Boca Raton Library Advisory Board. Several years ago, as a birthday gift to himself, Tony sailed around the world on a freight container ship. That adventure has been helpful in discussions of possible industrialization of the Port of Cape Canaveral.
Anna Eskamani, Director
Anna is not afraid of change, she leads it. The Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communications for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, she manages the nonprofit’s public affairs, field, and communications work through its 22 counties.
An Orlando native, Anna’s parents are both from different parts of Iran but found each other — and love — in the Sunshine State. Anna attended Orange County Public Schools and then the University of Central Florida (UCF), where she obtained two bachelor degrees, two master degrees, two certificates, and is now pursuing her PhD in Public Administration. In addition to her work at Planned Parenthood Anna is an adjunct professor at UCF, an frequent guest contributor to numerous publications, and serves on several nonprofit and advocacy boards.
Anna identifies as a feminist, and is committed to building collective power within her community and throughout the state. When she is not traveling across the state and working from her car, Anna loves to read, spend time with family and friends, run, and visit Florida’s state parks. She has been a longtime member of the League of Women Voters, first becoming a member at age 20 and working with then President Deirdre Macnab to establish a reduced membership rate for students. She then served as a board member for the Orange County League of Women Voters for 3 years.
Dr. Julie Kessel, Director
Dr. Julie Kessel attended New College in Sarasota Florida and then completed her medical degree at the University of Miami. She subsequently went on to complete a National Institute of Mental Health Fellowship in Psychopharmacology, Schizophrenia and Research in Philadelphia and formal training in Forensic Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. She is Board Certified in Adult and General Psychiatry.
Her areas of clinical expertise include psychopharmacology, serious mental illness and pain management. In 1998 she retired from direct psychiatric practice and began working in the insurance industry, first in Philadelphia and then back in Florida where she has resided since 2004. She has extensive experience in the insurer aspect of the implementation of the consumer protections under the Affordable Care Act including appeal rights and prevention, as well as other aspects of PPACA.
She is presently employed as the National Medical Director for Coverage Policy for Cigna, overseeing the development, maintenance and implementation of prevention, medical, drug and reimbursement coverage policy for the company. Throughout her long career in health care policy, she has maintained a private forensic practice with a specialty in homicide and death penalty post-conviction work. She has been involved in more than 50 post-conviction death penalty matters, performing psychiatric assessments, consultation, and expert testimony.
Dr. Kessel resides in St Pete with myriad cats and dogs and her partner. She enjoys the kayaking, paddleboarding and all things Florida involving the sunshine and the water. Dr. Kessel joined the board of the LWV of the St Pete Area in 2010 and has been the local president there since 2013.
Chuck O’Neal, Director
Chuck O’Neal graduated from Duke University with two majors – Mathematics and Public Policy. Since graduating from college he has started and managed numerous small businesses from real estate appraising to local television production. Since 1997, Chuck has been the president of a residential investment company that recycles older homes and rents them out to people with pets.
Chuck has a lifelong attachment to Florida’s natural resources and beauty. His participation in the League of Women Voters has given him an opportunity to put that interest to good use. Prior to running for the Florida Senate in 2016, he previously served as Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee and as First Vice President of the League of Women Voters of Florida. His varied background has helped him draw media and community attention to Florida’s water and land conservation crisis as well as assisting in the operations of the League. He helped organize Speak Up Wekiva, an event that drew 1200 people to Wekiwa Springs State Park, educating the public about factors that affect our water quality and quantity.
Chuck wrote one of the early drafts of the Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act. He has worked closely with Senator David Simmons (R), former Governor Bob Graham (D), former Senator Lee Constantine (R) and Senator Darren Soto (D) on various legislative efforts for the benefit of Florida’s citizens and their natural resources. Most recently he authored the Florida Black Bear Habitat Restoration Act which was sponsored in the House by Minority Leader Mark Pafford and in the Senate by now-Congressman Darren Soto.
In 2015, Chuck won the Cox Conserves Hero award as a leading conservation advocate in Central Florida. The League of Women Voters of Florida Education Fund was awarded $10,000 in his honor from the Cox Foundation and the Trust for Public Land.
Penny Walker Bos, Executive Director
Penny Walker Bos is a 32-year veteran of Florida politics having worked within public and private sectors. She is well versed in many critical issues affecting Florida and brings a wealth of expertise and insights in her new role as Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Florida.
Ms. Bos’ career began as a legislative aide immediately after receiving her Political Science degree from Florida State University in 1983. She served as a lobbyist and press secretary for a state attorney, public information officer for Senate Reapportionment Committee, and senior policy analyst for the Joint Legislative Committee on Juvenile Justice, program administrator overseeing the design and implementation of three state websites promoting health care transparency. She has worked on issues including welfare reform, Everglades’ restoration, and hunger/food security, developmental disabilities, food stamp fraud, and vocational rehabilitation. She has written and/or managed millions of dollars in federal grants. As a senior consultant for a national management consulting firm, Mrs. Bos helped state and local governments across the country improve efficiency and effectiveness through strategic planning, performance reviews, and program evaluations.
“The League has always been a leader in starting the conversation, whether that is through voter registration tables at community events across Florida or on the steps of the Capitol during the Legislative session.” Bos continued, “The League’s reputation for detailed analysis and non-partisan assessment of key issues is unparalleled. It is my privilege to take on this exciting challenge during this important time.”
Ms. Bos is married and has two sons in public schools. She is active within her church, secretary of her son’s Boy Scout troop and volunteers with the homeless shelter and Meals on Wheels programs.
Debbie Harrison-Rumberger, Legislative Advocate
Debbie Harrison Rumberger brings 3 decades of public policy experience to her position as Legislative Advocate for the Florida League of Women Voters. Working with local, state, national and international conservation organizations she has been a key player in the establishment of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the Tortugas Ecological Reserve, Everglades Restoration, growth management and water quality issues and climate change initiatives. Ms. Harrison Rumberger has worked with World Wildlife Fund, The Wilderness Society, National Parks and Conservation Association and the Florida Keys Land and Sea Trust during the course of her career.
Ms. Harrison Rumberger has also served on numerous state and federal Commissions including the Governor’s Commission for a Sustainable South Florida, the South Florida Regional Planning Council, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Council, the Monroe County Land Authority, and the Florida Energy and Climate Commission. She also served as the President of her local School Advisory Council for five years.
Throughout her years of service, Ms. Harrison Rumberger has been recognized with the Chevron Conservation Award, the nation’s oldest conservation award for conservation achievements by an individual; NOAA’s Environmental Hero Award; The Nature Conservancy’s Conservation Colleague Award; Audubon of Florida’s Conservationist of the Year and Florida Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Conservationist of the Year. Recognitions have also been bestowed by the Department of Interior, the Department of Commerce, the South Florida Regional Planning Council and the Monroe County School District for her work.
Ms. Harrison Rumberger is a graduate of Central Michigan University, Lambton College of Applied Arts and Technology (Canada), an AICP certified planner and a member of the American Planning Association.
Abdelilah Skhir, Office Manager
Abdelilah is a native of Miami and has called Tallahassee home for the past five years. He is a Master’s candidate in the Applied American Politics and Policy Program at Florida State University. He graduated from Florida State in the Spring of 2014 with a double major in Political Science and International Affairs. After joining the League as a Legislative Intern in 2015, he also signed on as the LWVF bookkeeper. Abdelilah hopes to continue to be a part of the legislative process after obtaining his Master’s degree.