With the swearing in of three new Hutchinson City Council members at 9 a.m. Tuesday, a majority of the council members will be women for the first time since the city was founded in 1872.
Current Council Member Cindy Proett will be joined by new members Nancy Soldner, representing the Southwest District, and Jade Piros de Carvalho, the new at-large representative.
Hutchinson’s first female council member was Blanche Openshaw, who was elected in 1967 and served a two-year term. Eight years passed before Hutchinson elected another woman to the Council, Dorothy Hall in 1977. She stepped down the following year.
Joan Schrag was elected to the first of several terms in 1979 and served until 1994.
With the appointment of Virginia Fesler in 1982, there were two women on the Council for the first time. Fesler was elected in her own right in 1983 and served two more years.
Although Fesler left the Council in 1985, there were still two women on the Council because that’s when Frances Garcia was elected to the first of several terms.
Garcia was the only woman on the Council for a short period after Schrag retired from the Council in 1994. In 1995, there were two again when Linda Lair was elected as a write-in candidate. She served until 1997.
That left only one woman on the Council until January 1999, when Garcia resigned after being elected to the Reno County Commission.
There were no more women on the Proett were elected. Rose resigned in January 2011 after she was elected to a district judgeship. But she was replaced by another woman, former City Attorney Carolyn Patterson, who served about three months until the end of Rose’s term.
Since then, Proett had been the only woman on the Council.
-Ken Stephens, It’s this or anarchy