Harriett Woods, the first woman elected to statewide office in Missouri, has died.
She was 79.
Woods died about 10 p.m. Thursday of leukemia, the Associated Press said. She was surrounded by family, her son said.
“She will be remembered most as a loving mother and grandmother, but we are also incredibly proud of her life devoted to public service and her passionate and determined efforts to aid society's most vulnerable — the elderly, minorities and the homeless, to obtain equal opportunities for women, and mentor future generations of leaders,” the family said in a statement.
Woods, a Democrat, served one four-year term as the state's No. 2 executive. Before that, she served eight years in the state Senate, two years on the state transportation commission and eight years on the University City Council. She also made two unsuccessful bids for the U.S. Senate in the 1980s against Republicans Kit Bond and Jack Danforth.
But the closeness of those races heralded a new day in Missouri politics, and that was that women could be significant players on the statewide scene.
"I tried it twice. I gave it a shot and moved on. No regrets," she once said of those races.
Woods was diagnosed with leukemia in March while teaching political and community involvement courses at two New York colleges. She also has taught at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and served as a commentator for KWMU radio in St. Louis.
Woods will also be recalled for her devotion to electing women political candidates. She served as president of the National Women's Political Caucus.
Posted by Steve Kraske