Jackson County Legislators joined County Executive Mike Sanders in honoring retired Missouri State Senator Yvonne Wilson for her more than half century of service to the community -- first as a teacher, then as a Kansas City School District administrator and finally as a state representative and senator.
"Here's someone who has dedicated her life to public service," said Sanders as he presented a proclamation to Wilson during the Monday, March 21 County Legislative meeting.
Wilson resigned her District 9 senate seat December 7, 2010.
After earning her undergraduate degree from Lincoln University (Jefferson City, Missouri) in 1950, Wilson embarked on a life in public service as a school teacher. She rose through the ranks of the Kansas City School District, becoming a principal -- and eventually the first African-American to ever serve as President of the Missouri Association of Elementary School Principals -- before retiring as the district's Director of Elementary Education in 1985.
Wilson won a special election to the Missouri House of Representatives in 1999 and was elected to the Senate five years later. The boundaries of District 9 lie entirely within Jackson County.
"When you went to Jefferson City and saw her on the House or Senate floor, she would be advocating and providing a voice for people who really didn't have a voice -- children, the elderly," Sanders said. "She has spent her life making sure those people would have a voice and that they would be heard."
In accepting her proclamation, Wilson simply said, "I do appreciate your compliments."
County Legislators rose to give Wilson a standing ovation. Legislators Theresa Garza Ruiz (1st District At-Large) and Crystal Williams (2nd District At-Large) both described Wilson as being the type of elected official they want to emulate.
"As a woman in politics here locally, Senator Wilson has been an inspiration for so many of us," said Ruiz. "She has been a strong voice for women's issues; she has been a strong voice for children; she has been a strong voice for education."
She added, "I hope when I am her age, I am just as ornery and just as vocal about the issues that I am passionate about."
Yvonne Wilson Proclamation
WHEREAS, after over fifty years of dedicated community service, Democratic Senator Yvonne Wilson resigned her seat in the Missouri General Assembly, at the end of 2010; and,
WHEREAS, Senator Wilson was first elected to the Missouri House of Representatives after winning a special election in 1999 and later was elected to the Missouri Senate in 2004, where she served until her retirement; and,
WHEREAS, Senator Wilson has a long history of public service, beginning her career as a school teacher, then becoming a school principal, Director of the Metropolitan Community Colleges, and Executive Director of the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center and Museum before entering Missouri politics; and,
WHEREAS, Senator Wilson has also served the community on several boards and commissions including the Jackson County Democratic Committee, Freedom Incorporated Board of Directors, National Black Caucus of State Legislators, WEB DuBois Learning Center Advisory Board, NAACP, Missouri Legislative Black Caucus, St. Mark’s Early Childhood and Family Development Center Advisory Board, MARC Early Learning Board, and many others; and,
WHEREAS, Senator Wilson’s education includes earning an honorary doctorate in humanities from Lincoln University, an educational specialist in school administration from the University of Missouri – Kansas City, a masters of arts degree in sociology from the University of Missouri – Kansas City, and a bachelor of science degree in education from Lincoln University; now therefore,
IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE POWER VESTED IN ME BY THE HOME RULE CHARTER OF JACKSON COUNTY, MISSOURI, I, MICHAEL D. SANDERS, HEREBY PROCLAIM ON BEHALF OF JACKSON COUNTY, MISSOURI, OUR SINCERE GRATITUDE TO SENATOR YVONNE WILSON FOR HER DEDICATED SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY AND EXTEND TO HER OUR BEST WISHES IN ALL HER FUTURE ENDEAVORS.