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First Woman Mayor of Lincoln, First Woman President of Conference, Receives Distinguished Nebraskan Award

Helen Boosalis, a former mayor of Lincoln and former President of The U.S. Conference of Mayors, is the recipient of the 36th annual Distinguished Nebraskan Award. The award was presented October 18 by Nebraska Senator Bob Kerry during a Washington reception for Boosalis hosted by the Nebraska Society of Washington, D.C. Tributes were offered by the State’s other Senator, Chuck Hagel, by other members of Nebraska’s Congressional delegation, and by other Congressional leaders, including Maryland Senator Paul Sarbanes.

Boosalis served for 16 years on the Lincoln City Council and for eight years as the City’s mayor. Elected in 1975 as Lincoln’s first woman chief executive, she is credited with expanding the City’s economic and cultural base, improving public safety, and initiating the revitalization of the downtown area. In 1981, she became the first woman President of the Conference of Mayors.

Following her years of service to her city and to cities nationally, Boosalis shifted her focus to state government. Immediately upon leaving City Hall, she was picked by then-Governor Bob Kerry to head the State’s Department on Aging. In 1986 she was the Democratic candidate for governor. In recent years she has chaired the national board of the American Association of Retired Persons, has served on the board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, on the Consumer Advisory Council of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and on a long list of state and local boards and commissions.

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