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KU Women, Politics & Power - April 19, 2019

Western entrance sign to the University of Kansas (Photo by J. Schafer)

Q: In the 1990s, the two most power political leaders in the Kansas City metro area were women who had graduated from the University of Kansas. One was the mayor of Kansas City, Kansas... and the other was the mayor of Kansas City, Missouri. Name both of these groundbreaking women.

A: Carol Marinovich and Kay Barnes
In 1996, Carol Marinovich was sworn in as the mayor of Kansas City, Kansas. Just three years later, in 1999, Kay Barnes was the first woman elected mayor of Kansas City, Missouri. Barnes was reelected in 2003. 

Carol Marinovich grew up in the Strawberry Hill neighborhood of KCK. First, she became an elementary school teacher. Then, in an effort to serve and improve her community, she got involved with local politics. She was instrumental in the effort to get KCK and Wyandotte County governments to merge into one Unified Government, which it has today. Marinovich also played a pivotal role in bringing Kansas Speedway and the Village West development to western Wyandotte County. 

Kay Barnes is a native of St. Joseph, Missouri, and graduated from the University of Kansas and from UMKC. She was first elected mayor of KC MO in 1999 and was reelected in 2003. Some of her accomplishments include co-authoring a book entitled About Time: A Woman’s Guide to Time Management, co-founding the Central Exchange, Kansas City’s premier women’s organization that provides personal and professional development opportunities. Barnes also gained voter approval for the investment of over $2 billion in downtown Kansas City. She is credited with helping spearhead development of the Sprint Center in the Power and Light District.

#MyKPR salutes and celebrates these two Kansas City area women -- local leaders who got things done!

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