Mary Elliott Flanery: “I can hold my own with the boys when I get to Frankfort,” said Representative Mary Elliott Flanery when she became the first woman elected to the Kentucky state legislature in 1921. She was also the first woman south of the Mason-Dixon Line to be elected to a state legislature. She managed to oust the incumbent because she appealed to the things the “good people back home needed: hard roads and plenty of them, good schools and more of them, and a real Eastern Normal School.” She was following in her grandfather’s footsteps; he too had served as state senator. Flanery was a suffragist, working with other Kentucky Equal Rights Association members,
such as Madeline McDowell Breckinridge.
Prior to her career in public service, Flanery was a journalist, and wrote for the Ashland Daily Independent from 1904 to1926.
Flanery was revered as a pioneer in public service. After her death, a permanent bronze marker was placed at her No. 40 seat in the house chambers to memorialize her service and distinction to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
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