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Nelle Horlander’s Legacy: ‘She was CWA in Kentucky’

A savvy political activist and outspoken feminist, Nelle P. Horlander, retired CWA Kentucky state director, died Jan. 21 at a care center in Louisville at age 78.

"Nelle was a pioneer in the early implementation of our union's nationwide legislative and political programs," said CWA Secretary-Treasurer Barbara Easterling. "She was a close confidant and labor adviser to several Democratic governors and state legislators. She was CWA in Kentucky."

In 1949, she became an operator for Southern Bell Telephone in Louisville and immediately joined CWA Local 3310.

Over the years Horlander worked her way through the ranks at the local, serving as steward, secretary-treasurer and treasurer, and in 1969 she was elected local president.

After working to enact the tax referendum that created the Transit Authority of River City, she was in 1973 appointed to its board. She was elected board chair in 1974 — the same year she joined the CWA staff as Kentucky director — and was reelected every year through 1979.

Politically active throughout her career, Horlander served as her state's legislative-political coordinator for CWA and she was a Democratic precinct captain for 30 years.

Active in several women's organizations, she served on the executive committee of the Kentucky Commission on Women until 1993.  Horlander retired from CWA in 1996.