Alaskan Women in Politics

To celebrate a century of U. S. women’s suffrage on the eve of an election, here’s a reprise of an older post. Hope you all vote on (or before) November 3rd this year!

Alaskan women have always been involved in our politics, not just the former governor you may have heard of. In 1913, the first bill passed by our first legislature gave women the right to vote. Here’s a sample of women who have served in our state government over the years.

The first woman state legislator was Nell Chadwick Scott, elected in 1936. She had a background as a legal secretary, and was known as “Flying Nell.” She flew her plane around the state to talk with people individually instead of making speeches to large groups.

Crystal Snow-Jenne was the inspiration for my character Ada in my YA historical romances Worth Her Weight in Gold and Fools Gold. She grew up in Alaska as a young performer with her family during the Gold Rush, and became a legislator in 1940.

In my lifetime, we have had several firsts in Alaska women politicians as well:

Thelma Garcia Buchholdt, a Filipino American activist and historian, served in the legislature in 1975-1983. She also practiced law, worked with groups such as the Filipino American National Historical Society, and documented Alaskan Filipino history.

Bettye Davis, an African American, started a second career in politics after she retired from social work in the 1980s. She served three terms in the state legislature and served as a member of the Anchorage School Board three times.

The first Alaska Native woman to serve in Juneau, Georgianna Lincoln, (an Athabascan) was elected in 1993, serving there for 14 years. She is still active in groups such as Alaska Federation of Natives and First Alaskans Institute.

Another notable woman is Fran Ulmer, who served in the state legislature from 1987 to 1994, was our first woman Lieutenant Governor in 1994 to 2002, and serves on the U.S. Arctic Research Commission.

With this great legacy, I am sure we will have more Alaska women in politics in the future. I’m voting for a few this time around! Here’s my video on my first time voting for #RocktheVote

I love to share my passion for Alaska and its history in my writing for young adults and their grown ups.

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