If you’re a woman and considering running for public office and need inspiration, here’s an event that may be worth attending.
Gov. Deval Patrick this week signed a proclamation this week designating Saturday as Edith Nourse Rogers and Women Veterans Day.
To recognize Rogers, the first woman elected to Congress from Massachusetts in 1925, UMass Lowell has organized an event in the historic Allen House, on the UMass Lowell South Campus, at 3 p.m. According to university spokeswoman Christine Gillette, participants scheduled to attend include representatives of the Massachusetts Association of Women Veterans, state Department of Veterans’ Services representatives; UMass Lowell Prof. Patricia Fontaine, who is writing a biography of Rogers; local officials and members of the community and Rep. Niki Tsongas.
The event coincides with Friday’s publication in The Sun of the special section titled “A Salute to Women of Our Region.” The 64-page insert profiles 50 women who have had a major impact in Greater Lowell. The section was the brainchild of Mary Ellen Fitzpatrick, an Enterprise Bank vice president.
Rogers is profiled in the section by Chris Camire, who covers the State House for The Sun. Rogers motto was “Fight hard, fight fair and persevere,” which she clearly did, frequently on behalf of veterans and women. Rogers became the longest-serving congresswoman in U.S. history, serving until her death Sept. 10, 1960, at age 79. Her record stood until U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat, broke it this year.
Rogers’ legacy endures. The Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Hospital in Bedford, as it was renamed in 1978, is today a long-term facility proving inpatient and outpatient care for veterans. And since 1963, thousands of school children from Lowell have passed through the doors of the Edith Nourse Rogers School on Highland Street.
It’s appropriate the veteran’s hospital bears her name. Camire wrote that in 1944, Congress passed her signature piece of legislation, the G.I. Bill, which gave returning servicemen educational training and benefits. Upon signing the bill, President Franklin D. Roosevelt handed Rogers the pen stating, “She was the one who worked hardest for its passage.”
“Mrs. Rogers was one of the greatest women in the history of our country — the dean of all women in Congress,” said U.S. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, a Maine Republican, shortly after her death.Explore posts in the same categories: The Column