Sunday, February 11, 2007

In Memoriam - Harriet Woods

Former president of the National Women's Political Caucus and former Missouri Lt. Gov. Harriett Woods — the first woman elected to statewide office on Missouri, died Thursday from complications of leukemia. She was 79. Woods was a leader in state and national politics and a champion of women's rights and women candidates.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch report includes a statement from her family:

"She will be remembered most as a loving mother and grandmother, but we are also incredibly proud of her life devoted to public service and her passionate and determined efforts to aid society's most vulnerable — the elderly, minorities and the homeless — to obtain equal opportunities for women ... and mentor future generations of leaders.
Woods accumulated a number of firsts during her lifetime. She was the first female editor of her college newspaper, Missouri's first woman on the state Transportation Commission, and the first woman to serve as a major-party nominee for the U.S. Senate from Missouri.

While undergoing cancer treatment, Mrs. Woods traveled to Washington last month to witness the swearing-in of Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and the first female speaker of the U.S. House, Nancy Pelosi.

"It was a bittersweet, triumphal visit for her,'' said close friend Betty Van Uum, the first woman elected to the St. Louis County Council and one of many political activists who saw Mrs. Woods as a trailblazer.

Said McCaskill: "She never completely understood the impact she had on all the women who have struggled to follow her example. I can't really express how much we will miss her."
Harriet Woods once said: “You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims.”

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