CLINTON — Friday’s celebration of the nation’s birth also serves as a return to the spotlight for one of Clinton’s historical figures.
LaMetta Wynn, Clinton’s mayor from 1995 to 2007, said she’s weaning herself off public service. It’s something that has dominated the 80-year-old’s life for the better part of three decades. Her recent stints included terms on the Iowa Board of Education, the Women’s Health Board and her local church board.
“Sometimes I think, why do you do all of these things?” she mused, a hint of exasperation accompanying the words. “I always feel, ‘I’ve got time, I can do that.’ But more recently, I’ve been telling myself, ‘You don’t need to do all of these things.’ One of these days I’m going to surprise people and say, ‘No.’“
Video: LaMetta Wynn - the first black female mayor in Iowa - has wall-to-wall achievements. She's Friday's 4th of July parade marshal.
The accolades seem endless for Wynn: the first, and only, black female to hold a mayoral office in Iowa; honorary doctorates from three universities; lifetime achievement awards. At her pinnacle, Newsweek named her one of the 25 Most Influential Mayors in the country, alongside the likes of New York’s Rudy Giuliani — an eventual presidential candidate. James Patterson even named a character after Wynn in one of his novels.
Her reputation is such that she’s still recruited to speak on race and equality. Yet, when Wynn received the call to be the marshal for Friday’s Fourth of July festival — a footnote compared to her other distinctions — it brought the woman to tears. To her, it’s astonishing others still want to recognize her principal breakthrough.
Video: Parade marshal honor "humbles" LaMetta Wynn
“I don’t cry much, and I’m not a crybaby, but when I got that call I just had to cry because there are a lot of people in Clinton who have done a lot of things,” Wynn said.