Annette Strauss Prior to her election as mayor, Strauss raised millions as a fundraiser for various charities and organizations in Dallas. In 1983, Strauss was elected to the Dallas City Council, and in 1987 she was elected mayor. She was then re-elected to a second mayoral term in 1989. During her tenure as mayor, Strauss helped to lead a city suffering from a sharp economic downturn and founded a shelter for homeless families that still operates today as The Annette G. Strauss Family Gateway Center.
Adlene Harrison Harrison served as Mayor for three months in 1976 to complete the term of Wes Wise, who resigned. In addition to being the first woman mayor of Dallas, Harrison was the first Jewish woman to serve as mayor of a major U.S. City. She also served on the Dallas City Council, was regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and was the first chair of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit board.
Anita Martinez served on the Dallas City Council from 1969-1973, but began serving her community by going door-to-door at age 14 collecting signatures to pave Pearl Street in “Little Mexico.” In addition to being the first Hispanic Council Member of Dallas, Martinez was the first Mexican-American to hold any elected government position in the city of Dallas. During her tenure, she fought to build a recreation center for West Dallas and pushed for numerous improvements, including library branches and street repair in low-income neighborhoods. Her work led to a new recreation center, which Dallas City Council named after her as a tribute to her service and hard work. After serving as a Councilwoman, Anita Martinez founded Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico at the site of the recreation center to inspire confidence and cultural pride in Hispanic youth.
Calvert Collins was an advocate for education and healthcare as well as a longtime philanthropist. Collins ran for Dallas City Council in 1957 after getting a phone call from then-Mayor Robert L. Thornton, asking her to run. She was a believer in homeowners’ rights, was elected after a runoff and served two terms from 1957-1961. At age 32, Calvert became the First Female Council Member for the City of Dallas.
Born in Austin in 1919, Louise Ballerstadt Raggio was the only woman in her 1952 law class at Southern Methodist University, and in 1954 became the first female assistant district attorney in Dallas County. During her tenure she created a legal task force that spent two years writing, then lobbying for, the Marital Property Act. The Marital Property Act ended the archaic requirement that Texas women turn over control of their personal finances and real estate to their husbands upon marriage. Raggio’s work gave married women independent legal rights for the first time in Texas history once the Marital Property Act became law in 1967. She later became the first woman ever elected as a director to the Texas State Bar Board of Directors.