Trailblazing Governors

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About the author:
Gail Johnson worked in the federal government for over a decade before pursuing a career teaching public administration at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. She currently is an adjunct at Portland Community College.

She holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a Master of Public Administration and a Doctorate in Political Science from the University of Connecticut.

Her most recent book is Research Methods for Public Administrators, 2nd edition (2009 M.E. Sharpe) and she is starting to work on the 3rd edition.

She maintains the and blogs. For fun, she works with friend Mary Williams on the blog. And she sometimes work on her son's website,, to make it easy for people to locate and support local businesses in Portland.

Trailblazing Governors

Six Remarkable Women

Authored by Gail Johnson

Boldly going into an uncharted universe, the trailblazing governors demonstrated that women could succeed in politics, effectively lead state government, and have fun in the process! They believed politics was an instrument of service, and courage, intelligence, and integrity were their defining characteristics.

Who are these six remarkable women? Connecticut's Ella Grasso, Washington's Dixy Lee Ray, Kentucky's Martha Layne Collins, Vermont's Madeleine Kunin, Oregon's Barbara Roberts, and New Jersey's Christine Todd Whitman. They are among the nine who comprise the first generation of women governors. Their political careers spanned fifty-plus years of American history: the rise of the women's movement and its backlash, the political shift to the right, and rising anger toward both politics and government.

What drew them to politics? What factors enabled them to succeed? What was it like to govern a state? Did gender matter? What are the lessons learned that could help other women pursue a political life? Offering an insider's view, Trailblazing Governors explores these questions and highlights the essential qualities of these everyday women who had the gumption to stand up for what they believed. Seen collectively, their common experiences and unique differences reveal what it takes to balance one's life and climb to the most powerful political position in state government. From blue collar to blueblood, their diverse histories confirm that there is no single formula for success. Their different policy viewpoints demonstrate that women do not all think and act alike anymore than men do.

Governors work in dynamic political environments and are always in the spotlight. They manage large bureaucracies, oversee state budgets, command the National Guard, respond to natural disasters, and make high-level appointments. Their stories provide insight into the intersection of gender, politics and leadership. The lessons they learned may help the next generation of women in politics, including those who aspire to become President.

Based on actual interviews, news stories, and information from state archives, readers will discover an abundance of historical and personal stories. However, it is more than a political "how-to" book. These six remarkable women will inspire all who wish to lead a meaningful life.

Publication Date:
1466277696 / 9781466277694
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6" x 9"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Biography & Autobiography / Political

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