December 04, 2023

Letter to the Editor: Newton citizens makes their decision

Perhaps the biggest headline of Election Day 2023 was the election of Connie Boesen as Des Moines’ first female mayor. Congratulations to her.

But it’s also significant to note Evelyn George’s selection as mayor of Newton. She’s only our city’s second woman mayor.

It was 50 years ago that the first woman was elected to head the administration of Newton city affairs. Myrt Levin, now of Des Moines, was elected mayor in 1973.

Congratulations, Mayor-elect George, and to our people in electing her.

As far as the school board is concerned, Newton’s way ahead of the game.

On April 4, 1921, Mrs. Maggie Harp Smith (1875-1950), while serving as president of the Newton Woman’s Club, was unanimously elected by the Board of Education to fill a vacancy on the board created by the resignation of a member.

She went on to serve as a school board member for 18 years, for 10 of which she served as president.

Mrs. Smith also served as a member of the board of trustees of Drake University.

There were two women candidates for the Newton school board in March 1920, namely Mrs. Lulu Matney (c. 1870-?) and Mrs. Ethel Honnold Shaw (1881-1964), but neither was elected.

Under the provisions of the law women were not permitted to vote at this election (!). They’d have to wait until November to cast their votes for President.

Larry Hurto