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By Nenad N. Bach | Published  06/25/2002 | Politics | Unrated


Carol S. Marinovich, Mayor of Kansas City mayor2.html    

Carol S. Marinovich is the Mayor of Kansas City, KS. Population 146,866 Phone (913) 573-5010 Mayor's e-mail address:
  city's web site: 

By Melanie Fonder - WEnews correspondent

MADISON, Wis. (WOMENSENEWS)--She doesn't want to sound sexist, but Mayor Catherine Melchert believes thatwomen mayors do their jobs a bit differently than do their male counterparts.

"I think that women probably bring the hearts and souls out of our community a little more," Melchert, the mayor ofBartlett, Ill., told a panel of her peers at an early-morning meeting of women mayors at the U.S. Conference of Mayorsearlier this month.

About 50, or about 17 percent, were women were among the approximately 300 mayors attending mayors' meeting lastweek. More than 1,000 mayors are members of the mayors' conference and about 20 percent are women. The conferenceconducts leadership training for its members and works to strengthen cooperation between officials at the city, stateand national levels.

Melchert and many other women mayors believe to win and retain public office they have to put greater emphasis ontheir strengths as problem solvers. And one of their big problems now is the lack of women in the leadership ranks of themayors' conference. While women do have leadership positions within the mayor's conference, their numbers aresmaller than many members of the conference would like them to be. The paucity of females in leadership does not bodewell for women who are trying to leverage their experience as mayors to run for state or national posts.

The issue is one of concern to the Women Mayors' Caucus, a group within the mayors' conference designed to encouragewomen mayors to fully develop their leadership roles. The caucus was founded in 1983 by now-U.S. Sen. DianneFeinstein when she was mayor of San Francisco, but her rise in politics has been the exception rather than the ruleamong women mayors.

Mayor Thalia Kay of Pemberton, N.J., said that while the women mayors had done much to change the reality of the"good ol' boys' club," the fact that there had only been three women to serve as president of the 70-year-old mayors'conference was troubling. Not until 1981 was a woman--then-Mayor Helen Boosalis of Lincoln, Neb.--elected the firstfemale president of the group.

"We've got to do something," Kay said. "Wherever you go, people will still rush to shake your husband's hand and say,'Mayor.'"

11 Women Are Among 52 Conference Leaders

Four women mayors serve as trustees on the conference's 22-member executive committee and eight women--one ofwhom is stepping down at the end of the month--serve on the 30-member advisory board. The president of the groupmust serve first on the advisory board and then move to the executive committee in order to even have a chance of beingelected president. Both the committee and the board are the starting point for the mayors in determining their publicpolicy positions and lobbying efforts in Washington. Getting to know representatives on Capitol Hill is often a boon tomayors who later run for Congress.

J. Thomas Cochran, executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, told the women that they must run for keypositions within the mayors' conference to ensure that the group's leaders represent its membership.

"While we're doing homeland security, there are other things we have to do to keep this nation strong and keep citiesstrong," Cochran said. "We need good women on our board."

Members at the meeting elected Shelia Young, mayor of San Leandro, Calif., as the caucus interim chair. Her hometownis in Alameda County, across the bay from San Francisco. Mayor Sara Bost of Irvington, N.J., stepped down from theposition as chair with a year to go in her term and decided not to run for re-election as mayor. Bost, the first AfricanAmerican to chair the women's caucus, made her decision to retire from both positions following federal corruptioncharges brought against her earlier this year. Bost has entered a not guilty plea and the trial date is uncertain.

Others who attended the meeting said it was difficult to juggle the demands of public life with family and that taking onanother role would only exacerbate that problem. Kay noted that some women officeholders step down when theybelieve they have accomplished what they set out to do when they ran for office.
"I think we're more focused on how we get it done rather than power brokering," Kay said.
Women Mayors Needed to Connect with Women in Congress

Still, women mayors who talk with their counterparts in state and federal government about common policy goals aremore likely to rise through the ranks of the mayoral leadership, Cochran said. The mayors' conference often takes stanceson urban issues that can have a great impact on the state or federal level, he said.

"We need to get back a strong relationship with women senators and House members," Cochran said. "I think if we'vegot 40 or 50 women mayors working with 13 senators we'll get something done."

Mayor Thalia Kay, from New Jersey, noted how her former Republican Gov. Christine Todd Whitman broke the glassceiling on the state government level there. Whitman is now head of the Environmental Protection Agency for the Bushadministration. Kay also noted that longtime N.J. Republican Rep. Marge Roukema is retiring this year, thinning theranks of women politicians in the state.

Similar to the mayor's conference, not enough other women are volunteering to take over the leadership roles, accordingto Kay.

In addition to encouraging each other to run for leadership positions within the conference, Arlene Mulder, mayor ofArlington Heights, Ill., said women mayors should utilize each other more than twice a year at conference meetings. Partof that ongoing dialogue, she said, should include travel to other cities to discuss strategies against problems in theirown cities, including how to run for re-election.

Still, for all that needs to be done, 75-year-old Evelyn Lord, mayor of Beaumont, Texas, remembers when women andpolitics did not quite mesh the way they do today. Now, Lord says, strong bonds between women mayors have aidedwomen who go from city hall to state politics and even Congress.

"I can remember the time when women did not help each other," Lord said. "Women back then had to compete so hard tobe in the rat race. Now they realize they can help each other on the way up."

Melanie Fonder is a freelance writer and former staff writer for The Hill, a weekly newspaper that covers Congress. She'sco-author of a new book, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to American Government."

For more information:

U.S. Conference of Mayors: - 

Women Mayors' Caucus: - 

National Women's Political Caucus: - 


Carol S. Marinovich
Unified Government 
Term of Office: April 1997-April 2001, April 1, 2001-April, 2005 

Personal Information

Bishop Ward High School, 1968 
B.S. in Education, Saint Mary College, 1972 
M.S. in Education, University of Kansas, 1980

Occupation (Past)
Mayor of the City of Kansas City, Kansas, April 1995 to September 30, 1997 
Kansas City, Kansas City Council, 1989-1995 (Councilwoman, District 2) 
Coordinator, Special Education, Unified School District 500 Wyandotte Special Education Cooperative, 1981-1995 
Educator, August 1972-June 1981 

Civic Activities 
League of Kansas Municipalities Governing Board 
U.S. Conference of Mayors 
Children's Miracle Network Board of Directors 
Chair, Juvenile Corrections Advisory Board 
Metropolitan Arts Council Board of Directors
International Women's Foundation 
Partnership for Children Board of Directors 
Mid-America Regional Council 2nd Vice President 
Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, 1996 to present 
KCK Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, 1997 to present
Rosedale Development Association Member
President of the League of Kansas Municipalities Governing Board, 2000 
Vice President of the League of Kansas Municipalities Governing Board, 1999 
Member, Fannie Mae National Advisory Council 1997-1999 
Advisory Board of the Kansas City Year 2000 
Coalition, 1998-1999 Convener, State of Kansas Juvenile Justice Authority Judicial District 29, 1998 
National League of Cities, Community and Economic Development Steering Committee, 1998 
Kansas Development Finance Authority, Board of Directors, 1997-1999
National League of Cities, Public Safety and Crime Prevention Steering Committee, 1996-1997 
Attorney General's Committee on Brighter Sunshine 
Past President, Kansas City, Kansas Women's Chamber of Commerce, 1987-1995 
Past President, Kansas City, Kansas Administration & Supervisor's Association 
Leadership 2000 (Graduate of first class, 1987) 
Civic Leadership Training Council, Inc., Board of Directors 
Association of Aid Physically Impaired Children of KCK (Member of Advisory Board)
Avenue Area Inc. (Board of Directors)
Economic Opportunity Foundation, Inc. (EOF) Board of Trustees
Salvation Army Advisory Board 

1999, Ingram's of Kansas City's Most Influential Business Women's Award 
1999, Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award from the National Boy Scouts of America 
1998, Distinguished Leadership Award Recipient, National Association for Community Leadership 
1995, First woman elected Mayor of Kansas City, Kansas 
1994, YWCA Hearts of Gold Award Honoree 
1994, Santa Fe Trail Council of Girl Scouts Woman of Distinction Recipient 
1990, Listed in Who's Who in Government Services
1990, Recipient of the "Hats Off Salute" Award to women who have made a difference in thecommunity 
1989, First woman elected to the Kansas City, Kansas City Council 

© Unified Government - 701 North 7th Street - Kansas City - Kansas - 66101

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