Tag Archives: women

Women’s History in West St. Paul

Last fall I explored the history of women in Minnesota politics. One of the interesting angles was that West St. Paul had never had a female mayor—until now. In 2016 West St. Paul elected its first female mayor in Jenny Halverson.

It made me curious about the history of women in other roles in West St. Paul’s history, so I did a little digging.

Female Firsts in West St. Paul:

  • 1955: Police Officer, Dorothea Binder
  • 1963: City Clerk, Benedicta Southwick
  • 1967: City Council, Devona Weatherhead
  • 1996: City Manager, Dianne R. Krogh
  • 1996: Fire Fighter, Linda McMillan
  • 2005: City Attorney, Korine Land
  • 2008: Finance Director, Sandy Christensen
  • 2017: Mayor, Jenny Halverson

Continue reading Women’s History in West St. Paul

Women Shattering Political Glass Ceilings in 2016

This year’s election has felt more divisive and caustic than previous elections. That’s no secret. So in such an environment, it’s helpful to focus on the positive: Women achieving public office.

On my ballot there are at least three women running for positions that a woman has never held before. I think that’s exciting.

I think it’s worth talking about these potential milestones, regardless of your political leanings.

Let’s take a moment to address why celebrating this kind of diversity is important. Continue reading Women Shattering Political Glass Ceilings in 2016

Hattie Big Sky: Anti-German Fury on a Montana Homestead

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby LarsonThe cover of Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson looks like something my mom would read, but it’s Little House on the Prairie with a plot and girl power. 16-year-old Hattie is an orphan who inherits her uncle’s homestead in 1917 Montana and works to prove the claim on her own. The timeframe puts the story in the middle of World War I and anti-German sentiment is brewing on the prairie.

It’s a simple story that weaves together several complex threads to make a satisfying whole that focuses on faith, country and the power of what you can do when you have the strength of friendship.

The anti-German fury is disappointing, but the historical reality is that we have a long track record of demonizing our enemy by persecuting our neighbors. It’s maddening and you’d think a country of immigrants would learn. But we don’t.

The homestead details are very reminiscent of Laura Ingalls Wilder, except of course it takes place nearly 50 years later, which gives an interesting insight into the Montana homestead experience. It also features a strong and young woman striking out on her own, which was based on a true story.

It’s a solid story that gives a full impression of a place and time, not leaving out the cold, hard realities.

2012 Election Reflection

Obama family at 2012 election night acceptance speech

Presidential election night is such a nervous, glorious mishmash of emotions. I can think of no other event when something so big is decided so quickly. Sure, the election drags on forever, but despite the polls you never know for sure who’s going to win. Then everybody votes, we tally ’em up while some talking heads blather on, and it’s decided (usually: thank goodness for not repeating 2000). Done. The next four years are in place. History is written.

It’s big.

I have a hard time getting anything done on election day (that’s why I turned to a distraction). Even today I’ll need to process for a while (and I’m doing that here… get ready for a long post). Continue reading 2012 Election Reflection

Raggedy Edge, Women Vote! & Homeless Vet’s Home Impounded

“So here is us, on the raggedy edge. Don’t push me and I won’t push you.”

I think that quote from the beginning of Serenity sums up my life nicely right about now. Too bad I’m feeling pushed.

Moving on to better things.

Go Women
Today is the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. It’s hard to believe that before 1920 women couldn’t vote in this country.

Go Mark
And my friend Mark Horvath is traveling the country again, telling the stories of the homeless. Today he told us about Johnny (or is it Jimmy? Update: It’s Johnny), a disabled veteran who needs $350 to get his mobile home out of the impound. You can help by making a donation. Here’s the full story on what happened to Johnny.

Update: Johnny got his home back. Thanks!

(And wow, that felt like a disjointed blog post from 2004.)

Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign

If you haven’t seen Dove’s newest ads, they use wrinkled, freckled and full-figured women–instead of skinny waifs–to hock beauty products. What a concept, huh?

But it wasn’t so easy to convince some men on the marketing team that most advertising makes many women feel inferior. How did they help the men understand? A nice little analogy:

“Imagine thinking every day that your dick isn’t big enough. Men just aren’t surrounded by images that make them feel deeply insecure.”

They got the message. Read the whole story behind Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign.