You are here

JoAnn McIntosh Zimmerman

2005 Iowa Women's Hall of Fame Honoree:  JoAnn McIntosh Zimmerman

"Her work...always reflected her concern for those who could not advocate for themselves." 
—John R. Kelly, 1997

JoAnn McIntosh Zimmerman

Jo Ann McIntosh Zimmerman, of West Des Moines, is a catalyst for change. As a registered nurse, she worked to professionalize the image of nurses through the Iowa Nurses Association. Zimmerman served on the Waukee School Board and in the House of Representatives, where she was the first nurse, from 1982 to 1986; and was the first woman elected Lieutenant Governor and President of the Senate in 1987. A Democrat, she was elected by popular vote to serve alongside a Republican Governor. Zimmerman has worked consistently to encourage women to run for public office and helped to elect women through DAWN (Democratic Activist Women’s Network), of which she is a co-founder. She has also been a mentor for young girls in the Girl Scouts , brought the Mother of Twins Organization to Central Iowa, founded the Iowa Talented and Gifted: parents support group, developed human sexuality programs for teens and parents in her church, and many other projects to better the lives of Iowa families. Zimmerman continues to be an advocate for health care policy. She initiated the Health Ministry of the First Christian Church in Des Moines, where a weekly health tent at the Drake Neighborhood Farmer’s Market offers free screenings and children’s physicals. She has served numerous organizations, including the Iowa PTA Board, the Iowa League of Nursing Board, and Iowa Women’s Political Caucus. She and her husband are parents of five children and two foster daughters, to whom they taught self reliance, public responsibility and good citizenship. Zimmerman was born on December 24, 1936 in Van Buren County, Iowa. She was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 2005.