Janet L. Adams

Honored by:The Hamilton County League of Women Voters
Brick location:F:11  map

Janet Louise Jeanblanc Adams, a native Iowan, is truly an activist role model and leader in all aspects of her life. From her early education in a one-room school house to her current pursuit of a master's degree in educational technology, the desire and challenge to team is a life-long goal and the centerpiece for Janet's life.

She was born and raised on a farm near Vincent, Iowa, along with her brother, Donald Jeanblanc, and sister, Joyce Jeanblanc. She is the oldest child born to Wilbur and Verda Jeanblanc. Her father passed away more than 12 years ago and her mother now lives near Janet in Webster City, Iowa, where Janet and husband, Ronald, have lived for more than 30 years. She is the mother of seven children: Kathleen, Cynthia, Timothy, Terry, Suanne, Joseph, and Daniel, and the grandmother of eight grandchildren. Balancing her roles as wife, mother, and teacher has been a challenge for Janet, with both rewards and a few disappointments along the way.

While her children were young, Janet utilized her leadership skills through volunteer work at her children’s' schools and in civic and church organizations. In 1975 Janet served as the first woman president of the Dubuque Archdiocese Board of Education.

Women who desire to make a difference in their and others lives often don't wait for someone else to initiate action - they are the initiators. And Janet is no exception. She worked to establish a League of Women Voters chapter in Hamilton County, Iowa and coordinated a statewide effort to revise the Iowa Juvenile Justice Code. Later she established a Youth and Family Center for families and children in crisis in Webster City, Iowa.

The Jeanblanc family has always had an affinity for politics. Janet's father and grandfather were active in party politics and served on local and state organizations. So it was not surprising that in 1985 Janet successfully ran on the Democratic ticket for the Iowa House District 14 seat in the Iowa House of Representatives. She was the first woman to hold that seat in which she served for six years. During her time in the legislature, Janet was elected by her colleagues as an Assistant Majority Leader. Her legislative priorities were education, environment, and energy and human resources. Her concern for and active involvement in education influenced several pieces of education-related legislation.

In addition, she was a member of the Environmental Committee that wrote the highly regarded Ground Water Protection Bill. While serving in the legislature and continuing today, Janet worked to educate legislators and the general public on the need to improve Iowa’s Mental Health financial support base. In 1995 the Iowa legislature has taken some steps to move funding for Mental Health services from property taxes to state funding.

While her children were growing into young adults, Janet and Ronald’s lives were growing and changing as well. During the Farm/Agriculture crisis of the 1980s, the family trucking firm that Ronald and Janet owned and operated for 20 years was diminishing and the couple determined that they would each pursue other careers. Janet began attending night school to complete her degree in Education at Buena Vista College Fort Dodge Campus and Ronald worked toward and received an Insurance Agent’s license.

During this time, five of the seven Adams children were also at various stages of their college careers. It was a very active and challenging time for the family as each parent was pursuing their educational goals while at the same time providing for their children’s' needs, both financially and emotionally. When Janet completed her degree, she went on to teach Chapter One Reading in the Webster City Schools where she continues to teach and is very active in the Webster City Education Association.

Janet and her husband Ronald have been married for 38 years during which time they have seen their lives and the lives of their children change and evolve into what they are today. The following is a quote from Janet that best sums up her philosophies and beliefs,

"Being involved at an early age in school activities and the local 4-H group while I was growing up provided a creative outlet to allow me to learn my strengths and develop and explore my abilities. I continue to be active in various organizations because it allows me to continue to grow and provides constant challenges which I think ultimately make me a better person. Balancing family work and volunteer activities is a struggle at times but the benefits of gaining new information meeting interesting new people and bettering changing or eliminating a problem is worth the effort. I feel organization is an important skill for a woman with a family. Being a partner in a marriage and child rearing as well as contributing financially is rewarding and stressful. Women need to feel it is their right to pursue a career if they choose but with the understanding that tradeoffs have to be made."