Meet JCRW President Janice Watson



Janice Watson


I learned to love America, our constitution, and our political system from my folks.  I was raised in the buckle of the Bible belt in a household where dinner-time discussions and civic duties included heart-led contributions of time and money, to the church, candidates, and to people and issues we held dear. 

Both my folks grew up in the Ozark Mountains in small agricultural-based communities.  Most of my mom's family were conservative Yellow-Dog Democrats.  They were teachers and farmers and small business owners and school board or utilities civil servants.  My Grandpa owned a poultry and feed store, raised milk cows and truck garden produce and made deliveries to four surrounding states.  My dad's family were mostly conservative Red-hot Republicans.  They were teachers and farmers and raised cattle and ten children on 1,200 acres of flint-rock bottom land.  My dad's father raised prized Missouri mules before the Depression and after the war, raised beef cattle and feed and was elected county clerk three times. 

Both families had sons and brothers who served in military and daughters and sisters who served in the war effort.  Both had deeply held convictions about the government and constitutional rights and responsibilities.  Both families sought the best solutions for the realities of the American family struggles through the Great Depression, the Great Society social experiment, the War, taxes and public goods, grappling with the economic engines of free enterprise and the right to work and the despair and disparity of the poor, and the political apparatus that orchestrated the lot.  They rarely agreed on the manner to achieve a perfect balance, or the candidates running, but they mostly agreed or could reach a reasonable consensus, on the local issues and tasks at hand.  And they shouldered their fair share - and in some cases more than their share to improve the next generation.

Our family get-togethers often included civil but impassioned discourse on the state of affairs from our town to our national capital.  And I recall working voter informational events and rallies, from the Eisenhower era through the Civil Rights movement and the revolutionary sixties, when I cast my first vote as an informed, citizen of the 200 year old American republic.  I am proud of our American system of citizen self-sovereign democratic republic governance.  I am also responsible to pass along why I can be proud of my country, as my folks did for me. 

In 2001, I went to Willamette University after nearly twenty years in media and nonprofit work, achieving a joint degree of juris doctorate in law and masters of business administration in government and the nonprofit public sector. 

My husband, Bill, and I have made our home here in the Rogue Valley since 1991 - with the exception of 2010-15 when his work took him to Utah and Washington and I spent nearly 3 years in Scotland to complete post-graduate degree in law. 

My research and thesis focused on our government's constitutional takings power for public use and the Scottish Enlightenment's influence upon our American interpretation for aspects of private property ownership and public good. 

It is very important to me to help young people understand the values and opportunities that our US Constitution provides to each one of "we the people" as well as their individual portion of responsibilities to uphold the whole of the "we" in a citizen participatory government. 

JCRW's annual essay competition scholarship program and our school-based outreach program that distributes US Constitutions, are doing just that. 

I am proud to be a part of that important and vital effort, and look forward to serving as JCRW President 2018-19.  




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"If the people fail to vote, a government will be developed
which is not their government. The whole system of
American Government rests on the ballot box. Unless
citizens perform their duties there, such a system of
government is doomed to failure."
Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the USA.