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Doderer, Minnette, 1923-2005



Minnette Frerichs Doderer was born on May 16, 1923 near Holland, Iowa. Her parents, John and Sophie Frerichs, later moved the family to Waterloo where Minnette Frerichs graduated from East High School in 1941. She attended Iowa State Teachers College (now University of Northern Iowa) and, in 1948, received a BA in economics from the University of Iowa. In 1944, she married Fred Doderer. They raised two children, Dennis and Kay Lynn, in Iowa City.

Doderer was active in the Democratic Party beginning in the 1950s, serving as vice-chair of the Johnson County Democratic Central Committee from 1956 to 1959 and acting as chair and co-chair of many county, district, and state Democratic conventions. One of the main issues she worked on was reapportionment. She co-chaired Hubert Humphrey's Iowa presidential campaign, and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1968 and 1984.

Doderer was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives in 1964 in a special election. She served in the House from 1964 to 1968. She served in the State Senate from 1968 to 1978. Doderer was House minority whip from 1967 to 1968 and was the first woman to act as president pro tempore of the Iowa Senate from 1975 to 1976. In 1970 and 1978, she ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor. In 1981, she was again elected to the House, where she continued to serve until her retirement in 2000.

Doderer's committee work and the legislation she sponsored in the Iowa General Assembly relate to a wide variety of issues. In particular, Doderer was active in promoting legislation relating to women's issues, such as the elimination of sexist language in the Iowa Code, gender balance in state commissions and gubernatorial appointments, comparable worth, gender equitable insurance, reproductive rights, and the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. She also worked on issues such as public health, prison reform, benefits for the elderly, child and spouse abuse, juvenile justice, collective bargaining rights for public employees, and the treatment of alcoholics.

Doderer was involved in many organizations including the League of Women Voters, the Iowa Civil Liberties Union, and the National Organization for Women. In 1977, she chaired the Iowa delegation to the International Women's Year conference in Houston. She was one of the organizers and charter members of the Iowa Women's Political Caucus. In 1979 she was elected to the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame and in 1989 (at the Hall of Fame ceremony of that year), she received the Cristine Wilson Medal for Equality and Justice. After her retirement, Doderer moved to Oaknoll Retirement Center in Iowa City, where she passed away in 2005.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

A Political Dialogue: Iowa's Women Legislators oral histories

Identifier: IWA0089

Interviews with Iowa women legislators conducted by Suzanne O'Dea Schenken.

Dates: 1988-1993

Minnette Doderer papers

Identifier: IWA0008
Abstract State legislator from Iowa City who was first elected to the Iowa House of Representatives in 1964. Arrangement Alphabetical file, 1944-1984 (Boxes 1-30) Campaign files 1966, 1968, 1977-1980 (Box 6) Lieutenant governor campaigns, 1970, 1977-1978 (Box 22-25) 1966-1988 (Box 31) 1986-2000 (Boxes 53-55) Correspondence 1944-1984 (Boxes 10-15) 1972-1990 (Boxes 31-33) 1974, 1978-1992 (Box 45) 1970s-2000 (Boxes 55-56) Personal material 1968-1990 (Boxes 33-35) 1975, 1981-1992 (Boxes 47-48) 1970s-2000 (Box 53) Photographs 1964-1967, 1983-1984 (Box 35) Speeches Speeches and speech material, 1966-1982 (Boxes 28-29) Undated (Box 35) 1968-2000 (Boxes 57-58) Topical files and legislation ...
Dates: 1944-2005

Additional filters:

1981-1990 1
1991-2000 1
2001-2010 1
20th century 1
African American women -- Iowa 1