SWOTY 2003 Jeanette Bell
Born on September 2, 1941 in Milwaukee, Jeanette Bell graduated from Rufus King High School and received her B.A. in Law Studies from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. Jeanette began her career as a nursing home activities coordinator and the supervisor of a youth employment program. She was elected to office in 1982 as a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly and served until 1995. In 1996, she was elected Mayor of West Allis. Jeanette is a member of the League of Women Voters, the Democratic Party West Allis-West Milwaukee Unit, the West Allis Women’s Club, and the Local Emergency Planning Committee.
Jeanette was a member of many legislative committees and boards, including the Joint Survey Committee on Tax Exemptions, Children and Families, Housing, Small Business and Economic Development, Ways and Means, Consumer Affairs, Natural Resources; Trade, Science and Technology, Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, Legislative Committee on Children in Need of Protection or Services, University and State Economic Development, Children and Human Services, Judiciary, Small Business and Education or Training for Employment, Legislative Committee on Foster Care and Other Out-of-Home Placements, Joint Committee on Finance, Legislative Committee on Prenatal Care, Exemptions from Property Taxation, Legislative Committee on Child Care Regulation, and Environmental Resources.
During her time in office, Jeanette devoted most of her energy to legislation advocating the advancement and protection of children, lower income families, the environment, and women. One of her biggest achievements was the authoring and sponsoring of the Children’s Trust Fund and the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board. Other accomplishments include sponsoring the creation of Family Resources Centers, advocating the Wisconsin Earned Income Tax Credit, revising Child Custody laws, and founding the Wisconsin Women in Government. As an environmentalist, she helped work on the nation’s first toxic limits in water discharge permits in 1987, which eventually became the basis for the Great Lakes Initiative and led to national standards.
Jeanette Bell was the Mayor of West Allis from 1996 to 2008.