Following a year where over half of the women elected to Congress are Girl Scout alumnae, it seems like an opportune time to reflect on our own Girl Scout alumnae currently involved in Nevada’s political system. Whether they’re involved in local or state government, these women are making a difference and showcasing the power of girls.
Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske is a fixture within the Nevadan government, boasting thirty-three years of public service. In 1996, she was elected to serve in the Nevada Assembly representing Clark County District 5 and in 2004, she won a state Senate seat for Clark County District 8. She assumed the role of Nevada Secretary of State in 2014 and has remained there ever since. Although born in Minnesota, Cegavske has made a lasting impression on the Las Vegas community through her tireless work ethic and her many service projects. Cegavske has also served as a member of the Clark High School Area Neighborhood Improvement Program, as secretary and treasurer to Women in Government, a co-chair to the Least Restrictive Environment Committee, and as a Child Advocate to the Nevada State Legislature.
Cegavske was a Girl Scout for a short time in her youth, and became a board member to the Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada later in life. As a Brownie, Cegavske says that her troop would often take time to learn about each other’s heritages through baking, an opportunity that she would share with my own troop as we learned to bake lefsa—a Norwegian bread—with her. Girl Scouts also gave her valuable social skills, and through her position as a board member, she gained insights to the ambitions and infrastructure of Girl Scouts. Cegavske says that Girl Scouts offers a special opportunity to learn, and by following Cegavske’s great example, all girls can learn what it means to be a responsible and committed leader.
Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick’s political career first began back in 2004 when she was chosen to represent District 1 in the Nevada State Assembly. Since then, she’s served numerous sessions in the Nevada State Legislature and as the Speaker of the Nevada Assembly, as well as the chair to both the Government Affairs Committee and the Committee on Taxation, among other positions. However, Kirkpatrick’s impact on our community isn’t limited to just the results of her political career. She has also acted as a volunteer coordinator for Community Partners Clean Up Our Neighborhood, a volunteer for Kids Voting USA Program, a member of the North Las Vegas Design Committee for Library Development, as well as numerous other positions that have made our community better. Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick is a prime example of what it means to be a force for good, and her involvement with Girl Scouts is truly special.
As an at-risk kid, Girl Scouts gave Kirkpatrick the opportunity to have a sense of family. Later in life, she would become a Troop Leader for a collection of girls she called “diverse and committed to service” and a group she remains in contact with to this day. Kirkpatrick has fond memories of camping at Camp Foxtail and traveling down the coast with her troop. Kirkpatrick says that Girl Scouts instills leadership and teaches girls to take risks—a fact visible in her own life.
Both Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske and Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick reveal deep ties to their communities, and a deep passion for improving them. Through constant public service and dedication to their jobs, they not only represent what good leadership is, but act as inspirations for many girls. These two public servants make Girl Scouts proud.