When Independence councilmember Linda “Lynn” Betts first heard she was nominated for the Minnesota Women in City Government (MNWCG) Elected Official of the Year award, she was surprised and honored when presented with the plaque.
Betts began serving on the council in 2002. Prior to that, she served on the Independence Park board. Since 1966, she has taught piano, directed church choirs and has worked as an office manager for a certified public accounting firm.
“I was always interested in things in the city because I grew up here and I really love our city. The mayor had mentioned [the open seats] and I was working at the time and he happened to call after September 11, 2001,” she said, adding the call was to encourage her to file before the deadline.
Feeling as though she wanted to do more for the community, Betts decided to file and was elected in 2002.
“I thought if there’s anything I can do, this is what I can do,” she said.
As a member of the MNWCG, Betts, along with other local women in city government, meet once a year during the League of Cities, a membership organization that “promotes excellence in local government.” In previous years, the MNWCG has worked to meet locally to encourage discussion among women as well as provide support.
“There was a need for support for each other,” she said while adding regular meetings went away. “The League of Cities encourages women in government and we do have a luncheon every year and that’s for women all over the state of Minnesota.”
The luncheon is for women who want to discuss with other women and encourage each other, Betts said. Maple Plain Mayor Julie Maas-Kusske, who was recently elected as a director within MNWCG, presented Bett’s award at Rainbow Park.
“I think women encourage each other. The mayor of Maple Plain, Julie, she is a person I can see on a regular basis so there’s encouragement, but I wish there was something more local … It’s a good thing and I think it’s a really good thing women are acknowledged in government because there are a lot less of us,” Betts said.
Betts was nominated by the Assistant City Administrator, Beth Horner. Nomination letters from Independence city staff, locals in the community and the Mayor of Independence, Marvin Johnson were also included.