This is an installment of Curious Edina, an Edina Community Foundation project that seeks to answer residents’ questions about their city. Questions for Curious Edina can be sent to

How many women from Edina have been elected to public office?

The answer is 14, with another eight women serving in leadership positions in Edina City Hall. Here’s the list:

Minnesota Senate

• Melisa López Franzen, 2012 to present (reelected in 2020 for two more years)

Minnesota House of Representatives

• Mary Forsythe, 1973-1991

• Heather Edelson, 2018 to present (reelected in 2020 for two more years)

Edina City Council

• June Schmidt, 1974 to 1986

• Leslie Corrigan Turner, 1981 to 1989

• Mary “Peggy” Kelly, 1985 to 1997, with some service as mayor pro tem

• Jane Laub Paulus, 1989 to 1997

• Nan Faust, 1997 to 2001

• Linda Masica, 2001 to 2009

• Ann Swenson, 2005 to 2017, with some service as mayor pro tem

• Alice Hulbert, 2005 to 2007, appointed to Jim Hovland’s City Council position when he became mayor

• Joni Bennett, 2007 to 2015

• Mary Brindle, 2009 to 2021, with some service as mayor pro tem

• Carolyn Jackson, 2021, as recently elected to a four-year term

Other women leaders in Edina city government:

• Ceil Smith, assistant to the city manager, was the first woman in a director position and led the city’s HR function before an HR Department was formed.

• Heather Worthington was the city’s first female assistant city manager, followed by Karen Kurt and now Lisa Schaefer.

• Jennifer Bennerotte was the first woman to have the word “director” in her title when she was named communications director in 2006.

• Other first female directors were Human Resources Director Lisa Schaefer and Parks & Recreation Director Ann Kattreh.

• Jo Taylor was the city’s first female building inspector.

Thanks to LaRae Ellingson Hovland for the answer to this week’s question. Hovland has been directly involved in the Edina political scene for the last 16 years, is a member of the League of Women Voters Edina, and received an ECF Servant Leader award in 2019.

Corrections: A previous version of this article misstated the total number of women elected to governmental public office, which is 14. This includes Mary Forsythe, who served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 1973-1991. Sen. Melisa Franzen was also recently re-elected to her seat for two more years.

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