Women work to gain local leadership positions

Women are rapidly advancing in leadership positions in Kentucky. 

For years, people may have called her mom, sister or my wife, but now, the public calls her mayor, councilwoman, or judge.

Ann Deatherage

Carrollton Mayor Ann Deatherage was the first woman to become the mayor of Carrollton in the citys 168-year history. She is also one of a handful of female mayors in north-central Kentucky.

Deatherage started her political career as a councilwoman while teaching at Carroll County Schools. She was appointed in 1985 by the mayor to serve an unexpired term and was elected as a council member in the next year.

After serving three terms as a council member, Deatherage ran in 1998 for mayor. She ran unopposed that year and went from door-to-door to talk with people in order to clinch her position.

After she was elected to her first term, it took Deatherage a while to become acquainted as the leader of the city.

“I spent eight hours a day for months trying to just get accustomed to phone calls,? Deatherage said. “It was a fun year. They have all been fun.?

In her first role as mayor, she received mail from Nickelodeon, a children’s television network, to schedule a time for the station’s representatives to visit Carrollton because more than 600 Carrollton children called the station to have the station visit.

Later, she spearheaded the effort for the city to purchase and create a new office space for emergency services and the city offices.

“We’ve got to do something about this,? Deatherage told council members at the time.

Deatherage said it took a year for the council to approve the construction of a new building, which was finished in March 2000.

Last year, Deatherage was able to have the regional wastewater plant move forward through the efforts of 25 government officials and now, eight counties will connect to the new facility.

Throughout her two terms as mayor, Deatherage has attended meetings and training sessions to improve her service. She is also involved in a number of community activities.

“It keeps me involved,? Deatherage said. “I enjoy working with people.?

Because she decided to become mayor, she had to make some personal sacrifices. She said she had to give up birthday parties and other special occasions in order to serve as mayor.

“We always reschedule,? Deatherage said. “I have wonderful support from my children.?

Nancy Jo Grobmyer

Nancy Jo Grobmyer has served on Carrollton City Council for more than 30 years. She became Carrollton’s first female council member in the 1970s when Harry Berge was mayor.

She has been through four mayors, remembers Point Park when it was a “wilderness? and served on the council in increments of four years.

Grobmyer’s first major accomplishment as councilwoman was Point Park. At the time, Point Park was known as “Frogtown,? and was a wilderness area filled with trees, and was very primitive.

“It wasn’t very popular,? Grobmyer said about the council’s idea to turn the area into a park space.

Despite the site’s lack of popularity, the Council approved making it into what is known as Point Park.

Since her first accomplishment, Grobmyer has become involved with a number of clubs and organizations in the community and has received countless awards from local and state leaders.

“I love this city so much,? Grobmyer said. “I enjoy making decisions.?

Elizabeth Chandler Lester

Elizabeth Chandler Lester is taking her first step in trying to become the first female district judge for Carroll, Owen and Grant counties.

Lester has been campaigning for the last few months in order to come closer to realizing her dream. She had to work hard gaining votes this primary, and she will have to work twice as hard to become the overall winner in the general election.

However, Lester said she has loved her campaigning experience.

During her door-to-door campaigning, Lester has met people she would not normally have had time to meet with her regular schedule in her jobs as assistant Carroll County attorney and Carrollton city attorney. She has also had a chance to spend time with her father while campaigning because he is known in the district she wants to serve.

Lester had thought about running for district judge for six years, but she did not know when she should run. Now, she feels its the right time to campaign.

“I really think I could do the best job,? Lester said. “I believe we choose our own destiny. I believe God has a plan for our lives and we have a choice every step.?

She believes that by using common sense, treating people with respect and having the right temperament, she can serve the district. Lester also believes that her experience in district court as an attorney for the last seven years makes her a qualified candidate.

Even though Lester is a female, she does not see her gender making a difference in the race.

“I don’t expect people to vote for me because I am a woman, and I don’t want anyone to vote against me because I am a woman,? Lester said. “I think a woman or man could do a good job equally.?

If Lester is elected, she will have to leave her job as an attorney and only serve as a judge. However, that is a sacrifice she is willing to do to serve her community, she said.

Lester will be running against John Brent Threlkeld in the November election.

Reprinted from Madision, Inc. Couerier

Sara Denhart
Kentucky News Desk
Editors note:
In the May judiical primary a number of women advanced to the November election for the judiciary.  JOy Moore and Michelle Keller were advanced in their races for different divisions of the Court of Appeals.
Mary Noble of Lexington, and Ann O’Mally Shake of Louisville both advanced in their contests for the Ky. Supreme Court.

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