How our lives changed 

Southeast National Bank
3535 23rd Ave
Moline, IL 61265

State Bank of Orion
1114 4th St
Orion, IL 61273

3900 26 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

United Way of the Quad Cities Area
3247 E 35 St Ct
Davenport, IA 52807
355-4310 Bornhoeft Heating & Air Conditioning
620 15 Ave
East Moline, IL 61244

Dans Automotive
1504 16 St
East Moline, IL 61244

Derbytech Computer Works
700 16 Ave
East Moline, IL 61244

Achor Do-It Center
1505 1 Ave
Silvis, IL 61282

Bobb Chiropractic Center
813 1 Ave
Silvis, IL 61282

Ricks Lawn & Garden
1844 42 Ave
East Moline, IL 61244

Amador Chiropractic
924 1 St
Silvis, IL 61282

Community Health Care
1803 7 St
Moline, IL 61265

Vickroy's of Monmouth
120 E Archer Ave
Monmouth, IL 61462

Evans Manufacturing
4608 W 78 Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

Martin Equipment
Rock Island, IL 61201

Clinton Community College
Muscatine Community College
Scott Community college

United Personnel, Inc
1921 5th Ave
Moline, IL 61265

KDi Corporation
P.O. Box 1342
Bettendorf, IA 52722

5115 Utica Ridge Rd
Davenport, IA 52807

Careers, Inc
807 W 35 St
Davenport, IA

Midwest Human Resources
4601 16 St
Moline, IL 61265

Volt Services Group
100 E Kimberly Rd Suite 404
Northwest Bank Building
Davenport, IA

All Staff Human Resources
3401 16 St
Moline, IL 61265

All Staff Human Resources
710 E Kimberly Rd
Davenport, IA

Olsten Health Services Staffing
100 E Kimberly Rd Suite 301
Northwest Bank Building
Davenport, IA

Olsten Health Services
2525 24 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

Kelly Services
2001 52 Ave Suite A
Moline, IL 61265

Kelly Services
100 E Kimberly Rd Suite 504
Northwest Bank Building
Davenport, IA

Women entering politics: It was a brave new world

By Marcy Norton, Dispatch/Argus Staff writer

Kathy Kirschbaum

Ann Hutchinson

Ruth Klouda

When state Sen. Maggie Tinsman of Davenport was considering her first run for public office, the reaction from at least one of her confidantes was less than encouraging.

``What, you?'' she remembers a male friend saying. ``You're a woman! I mean, we've never had a woman on the (Scott County) board of supervisors. We thought women would spend property taxes like mad.''

That was in 1978. Sen. Tinsman served on the board for 11 years before being elected to the state Senate 10 years ago.

Gender was an issue for several area women who got involved in politics in the 1960s and 1970s. Most agree that attitudes changed once women proved they can do the job.

Even so, some current and former officeholders say they thought more women would be involved in government by now.

Kathy Kirschbaum became Davenport's first woman alderman in 1967 and went on to serve four years as the city's first woman mayor, from 1972 to 1976.

Like Sen. Tinsman, Ms. Kirschbaum took her children along when she knocked on doors during the campaign. ``It didn't seem to bother anybody. Maybe they were just in shock,'' the former mayor said.

When Rapids City Mayor Marj Dolan became the town's first woman trustee in 1979, the other trustees -- mostly older men -- put her in charge of the parks and recreation committee. The town didn't have any parks at the time.

``They gave me the committee that didn't have any function so that I wouldn't get into any trouble,'' Ms. Dolan said, laughing. ``I think I got into a lot of trouble. It ended up coming back to haunt them.''

She was elected mayor 10 years ago amid a town debate over whether to continue pursuing funds to build a boat ramp, a project she championed as part of her parks duties.

A potential opponent implied Rapids City would not elect a woman mayor. Now not only does the village have a female mayor, but half of its six trustees are women.

``I thought it was humorous that it was an issue,'' Ms. Dolan said -- especially since nearby Bettendorf already had a woman mayor.

Bettendorf Mayor Ann Hutchinson was a bank president before she became the first woman elected to that city's top post, in 1987. She said coming from a male-dominated work environment helped her adjust to political life.

``I came from an industry where I had to deal with men and I had to fit in,'' the mayor said.

It took her a decade to rise from a teller at Security Bank to bank president. When she left the business after it was sold, comparable jobs were hard to find.

``Women were just not getting those kinds of jobs,'' she said. She finally started her own company, First City Mortgage, because ``I got sick to death of every man I ever worked with telling me I didn't know what I was doing.''

The mayor still believes the banking industry is male-dominated, though women are slowly making strides.

Still, Mayor Hutchinson said, she never let her gender become an issue in either her banking or political career, and becoming the city's first woman mayor ``was really a non-event, as far as I was concerned.''

The mayor is proud that three of the city's seven council members are women. However, she said, it is hard to find women willing to get involved in civic causes because they tend to focus on family-oriented activities.

Like Mayor Hutchinson, Rock Island County Republican Party chairwoman Bess Meersman would like to see more women get involved in politics.

``They're more level-headed and judge things like they would in their own home, which brings a different perspective,'' she said. ``Women have a lot to offer in any political position.''

Ms. Meersman said she has seen women's roles in the party grow since she got involved in the Young Republicans in the mid-1960s, but they haven't changed as much as she would like.

``The men still want control and have a real resentment toward women, no matter what you do,'' Ms. Meersman said, and it's been difficult to change those attitudes because of the way the ``good ol' boys'' work.

``Not being able to go into the tavern and shoot the breeze with them and let them know what's going on'' has hindered her, she said.

Men with whom she works more closely have more confidence in her, Ms. Meersman said, while Republicans less involved in the party's everyday business question her more.

Ruth Klouda, a former Rock Island County Board member who also served on the county's board of review, said gender was not a problem when she became the second woman county-board member in the mid 1970s. Now she believes some men may have more confidence in women officeholders than other women do.

``I sometiems think we're our own worst enemy,'' said Ms. Klouda, a Mel Foster real-estate agent. ``Some women will resent another woman in office. We're more critical of each other than men are.''

None of the women said their gender drove them to political involvement. They just saw a job that needed filling and decided to try it.

All said they encourage more women to take that step.

``Women have lots to offer,'' Ms. Kirschbaum said. ``Gosh, why not?''

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.