54 photographs, 1 illustration, 2 appendixes
As a 1950s housewife and League of Women Voters volunteer who spearheaded the city of Lincoln’s switch to a “strong mayor” form of government, Helen Boosalis (1919–2009) never anticipated that she herself would one day be that strong mayor and chief executive of Nebraska’s capital city.
Helen Boosalis’s story, told by her daughter, Beth Boosalis Davis, is that of a true pioneer of women in politics. The daughter of Greek immigrants, Boosalis achieved national prominence as the first woman president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and as an outspoken advocate for economically distressed cities facing President Reagan’s “new federalism.” Winning the Democratic nomination for governor of Nebraska in 1986, Helen Boosalis ran against Kay Orr in the first gubernatorial contest between two women in U.S. history. The interwoven tales of conflict and challenge, from the mayor’s office to the campaign trail, combine personal insight into one woman’s trailblazing political history with a compelling memoir of a half century of public service and private devotion shared by two remarkable women, mother and daughter.
Listen to an interview with Helen Boosalis and Beth Boosalis Davis on AARP's Radio Prime Time show.
List of Illustrations
Note on Sources and Structure
Flash Forward: Calling Me Home
1. Call to Action
Flash Forward: Down to Two
2. Madame Mayor
Flash Forward: May the Best Woman . . .
3. This Is Not Your Father's City Hall
Flash Forward: Money Talks
4. Roll Up Her Sleeves
Flash Backward: Roots--All Greek to Me
5. Expect the Unexpected
Flash Forward: Getting to Know You
6. Everything Old Is New Again
Flash Forward: One False Move and . . .
7. Mayors' Mayor
Flash Forward: Issues, Debates, Polls, and Other Irrelevancies
8. Another Time Around
Flash Forward: Trails End
9. Life (After) Is Politics
Appendixes: Biography Timeline, City Councils