First Female Lieutenant Governor of Missouri —
HARRIETT WOODS devoted her life to public service and to the advancement of women in public decision-making. Her public service included eight years as a city council member in University City, Mo.; eight years as a Missouri state senator; and two years as a state transportation and highway commissioner. She was the first woman to serve on the highway commission as well as the first and only woman elected as lieutenant governor. Woods also served as the president of the National Women’s Caucus from 1991-1995. While a state senator and as lieutenant governor, she concentrated her efforts on assisting the elderly, minorities and the homeless.
Before beginning her career in public office, Woods was a journalist serving as a newspaper reporter and then in a pioneering position as a television moderator and public affairs director for KPLR-TV in St. Louis. She later ran her own small business as an independent film producer.
In 1989, she created the Institute for Policy Leadership at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) to focus on the issues of affordable housing and homelessness and to improve the way legislators make decisions. She served on the board of the Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life at UMSL.
Harriett Woods died on February 8, 2007, at the age of 79.