Peoria City, County officials talk female leadership

Sep 5, 2013

 The role of women in high-level positions was a focus this week for Peoria City and County government officials.  Peoria Public Radio’s Alex Rusciano reports:

 Peoria County Administrator Lori Curtis Luther has held the County’s top non-elected post for two years.  She gave the keynote address during WEEK’s Women In Leadership Awards luncheon.  Curtis Luther says it’s important for women to take chances when pursuing careers:

 “I think that women have a tendency to not seek a higher position until they feel 100 percent ready. And a lot of the time I believe women are more prepared and more qualified that they give themselves credit for.  So it I think it makes sense to take some risks and to really push yourself and to push those around you to be as successful as you can be.”

 Curtis Luther also says more needs to be done to boost the number of women who hold top administrative positions in local government nation-wide.  

 Also, this is the first time that the Peoria City Council has three women around the horseshoe simultaneously.  Peoria Attorney Beth Jensen officially joined the council to fill the remainder of Gary Sandberg’s at-large seat this week.  She touched on the significance of the council make-up in her first remarks after taking the oath:

 “As a woman I’m also especially excited to join councilwoman Akeson and councilwoman Moore to ensure that a woman’s perspective is always considered and discussed as we face issues throughout the next two years."

 Other councilmembers highlighted that Jensen is the third woman on the body.  Councilwoman Denise Moore says Jensen’s appointment helps move the city forward:

 “I like to think that what we are trying to get to in this city is a council that represents and looks like what our city looks like.  And Beth is an excellent representation of that.”

 The importance of the change in city council membership also wasn’t lost on Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, who added this after praising Beth Jensen’s credentials and the importance of public service:

 “I can’t let this thing about having three women pass without making a comment.  I’ll just leave it at saying it looks like it’s probably going to be a fair fight.  That’s a compliment to you of course, the three of you.” 

  I’m Alex Rusciano