Sue Blunt Mullins

Honored by:James A. and Sue B. Mullins
Brick location:PAVER:13  map

Sue B. Mullins was a farm homemaker and writer with no political experience when members of her American Association of University Women branch suggested that she run for the Iowa House of Representatives. The "Successful Candidate Profile" was everything Mullins was not...especially male. But she was a long-time volunteer organizer. She was elected.

Prior to her election, Mullins would state her position on issues and then demur, "But I'm not a feminist." After her first session in the Iowa House, Mullins was convinced that the experience "would radicalize anyone!" Her five terms in the Legislature focused extensively on concerns of women and their families "Because only women will do it!”

Mullins first was assigned the re-write of state adoption law. She opened up adoptees' birth family health records and mandated that mutually consenting birth parents and adoptees could locate one another. She led the fight for rural women' s inheritance rights and for pay equity. Poor women from all parts of Iowa today can receive pre-natal and delivery services locally instead of being "practice patients" for University of Iowa medical students in Iowa City because Mullins would not cede to University Hospitals and Clinics’ power. She increased financial support for women's shelters and child abuse prevention services as a Member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Mullins served as co-chairperson of the Iowa Women's Legislative Caucus during her tenure in the House. And when asked by male colleagues why the men should not form a caucus, Mullins replied: "Because you already have one. You gavel it to order every morning this body is in session."

Mullins also served as chairperson of the Women's NETWORK of the National Conference of State Legislatures. After her defeat in a Republican primary as the "Religious Right" was subsuming that organization, Mullins was hired as executive director of the NETWORK. For six years, she guided national, state-by-state adoption of mandatory insurance coverage of screening mammograms, human sexuality instruction in public schools and other policies of special interest to women and their families.

Mullins also acted as her caucus' lead policy advocate for Iowa HIV legislation. She is known as the "Mother" of the Leopold Center at Iowa State University. Her activism continues through the United Methodist Church, women's organizations and international development in emerging democracies, especially the NIS and Mozambique.

Submitted on 5/23/94

Paver Inscription:

"Women of our Family
Helen Blunt
Hellen Mullins
Sue Blunt Mullins
Jennifer Mullins Jones
Gesa Zinn Mullins"