Women’s History Month: Mary Rose Wilcox
March 19, 2021
For Women’s History Month, we are speaking with Arizona women about the state’s past, present and future. This week, our guest is Mary Rose Wilcox, the first Latina to serve on the Phoenix City Council and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
Meaning of Women’s History Month
“To me, it’s the recognition of women. For years, women were in the background, particularly in the political arena. We were always the workers, but we never rose to the forefront. For me, particularly involved in politics, it means that you’re highlighting women on the frontline and doing this,” Wilcox said.
Background of Mary Rose Wilcox
Wilcox is a fourth generation Arizonan with her parents coming from the mining towns. Her family had always been involved in the community; her mother in the church and her father in civic affairs.
Wilcox had been interested in politics very early on. “When I got to high school, there were very few hispanics on the student council and I decided I was going to run. So I ran against a very popular woman and I won. That kind of started me being very interested, because once I got on that student council, I could do a lot for the students,” Wilcox said.
Wilcox and her husband, Earl, wanted to make a change in their community, so they turned to politics. Earl served as a state representative for fourteen years. After getting a job with Senator Dennis DeConcini, Wilcox ran for the Phoenix City Council.
“When I ran for city council, for the first time, I went door to door. Many women in the community, particularly older women, were saying we’re so glad you’re running, there’s so many issues. They wanted me to stay in it and they said they we will vote for the first time. So that was a real eye changer because a lot of them had never really voted and because I was a woman, and a Hispanic, they were going to go out and vote,” Wilcox said.