Vicki Schmidt: Celebrate time-honored elections

Vicki Schmidt
Special to Gannett Kansas
Vicki Schmidt

As we prepare for the primary election on Aug. 4 and the general election later this fall, I am excited to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women's constitutional right to vote.

On Aug. 8, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was formally ratified by the states. However, in Kansas we were well ahead of the curve, having granted women the right to vote in 1912.

But, even before that, back in 1887, the town of Argonia, Kansas elected Susanna Salter as their mayor. What started as a joke, led to the first female mayor in the country and spurred female engagement in civic activities.

I never dreamed I'd be a candidate for public office, let alone a statewide elected official, but the hardworking women who represent the women's suffrage movement helped make my success possible.

I never looked in the mirror and saw myself as someone who would engage in politics, but like most women who ultimately run for office, I looked around my community and saw things I wanted to make better.

So, I know you are sick of the TV ads and the radio ads, not to mention the postcards filling our mailboxes and the perpetual text messages, but I don't want us lose sight of the long hard-fought battle that gave us a voice in these elections.

We honor those who came before us by showing up at the polls and we teach the next generation their civic duty by showing up at the polls and we change our communities for the better by showing up at the polls.

Ladies, we have a right to vote. It's time to use it!

It is an honor to serve you and your family in the Kansas Insurance Department. If there is something you think can work better or would help other Kansans have a better experience with insurance, please share it with me at

Vicki Schmidt was elected insurance commissioner after serving 14 years in the Kansas Legislature.