SENATOR HELEN ESUENE, THE NELLIE TAYLOE ROSS OF AKWA IBOM STATE
It was on November 4, 1924 that Nellie Tayloe Ross was duly elected as the first governor in the history of the United State of America after the death of her husband, William Bradford Ross on October 2, 1924 from a complication from an appendectomy.
Born on November 29, 1876 in St. Joseph, Missouri, Nelly was the sixth child and first daughter of James Wynn Tayloe, a native of Stewart County, Tennessee, and his wife, Elizabeth Blair Green who owned a plantation on the Missouri River. In 1884, when Nellie Tayloe was seven years of age, her family moved to Miltonvale in Cloud County in northern Kansas. This relocation happened after their Andrew County home burned and the sheriff was about to foreclose on the property.
After she graduated from Miltonvale High School in 1892, her family moved to Ohama, Nebraska. During this time she taught private piano lessons, and also attended a teacher-training college for two years. She then taught kindergarten for four years. Nellie was later sent on a trip to Europe in 1896 by two of her brothers.
While on a visit to her relatives in Dover, Tennessee in 1900, she met William Bradford Ross, whom she married on September 11, 1902. Ross practiced law and planned to live in the American West. He moved to Chenyenne and established a law practice, bringing his wife to join him there. Ross became a leader in the Democratic Party in Wyoming. He ran for office several times unsuccessfully losing to Republican candidates each time.
In 1922, William Ross was elected governor of Wyoming by appealing to progressive voters in both parties. However, after little more than a year and a half in office, he died on October 2, 1924 from complications from an appendectomy. The Democratic Party then nominated his widow, Nellie Ross to run for governor in a special election the following month. On November 4, 1924 Nellie Ross won election as the governor of Wyoming and was sworn into office on January 5, 1925. As governor, she continued her late husband’s policies which called for tax cuts, government assistance for poor farmers, banking reform and laws protecting children, women workers and miners. She urged Wyoming to ratify a pending federal amendment prohibiting child labour. Like her husband, she advocated the strengthening of prohibition laws.
Nellie Ross ran for re-election to office but was narrowly defeated. At the 1928 Democratic National Convention, she received 31 votes from 10 states for vice president on the first ballot. After the convention, she served as vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee and as director of the DNC Women’s Division. On May 3, 1933 U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her as the first female director of the U.S. Mint where she served five full terms until her retirement in 1953, when Republicans under Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard M. Nixon regained the executive branch of government. She is famous for establishing the Franklin Half Dollar and starting the making of a proof coins for public sale.
Nelly Rose was an American politician and the 14th Governor of Wyoming from 1925 to 1927. She was the first woman to be elected governor of a U.S. state and remains the only woman to have served as governor of Wyoming. The life of Nellie Tayloe Ross was characterized with many first until she died on in Washington, D.C. on December 19, 1977 at the ripe age of 101 years as the oldest ex-governor in the United States of America. What a successful life!
Like Nellie Tayloe Ross, Senator Helen Esuene life has been exemplary with many first. She was the first lady when her late husband, Brigadier General Udoakagha Jacob Esuene was the Military Governor of the defunct South Eastern State. In 1993, Senator Esuene joined the Rotary International as the first female member of the Club in Eket to help the less privileged. During Obasanjo administration, Senator Esuene was nominated among two other delegates to represent Akwa Ibom State at the National Conference which she made meaningful contributions. She has served both at the executive and administrative cadre of the civil service of the South Eastern State for 17 good years before venturing into private businesses which she has made remarkable achievements.
On the business front, Senator Esuene has established successful business ventures like Grafen Integrated Oilfield Services Ltd and Villa Marina Hotels Ltd with both producing a staff strength of about 500. She is very industrious and hardworking.
In the race to Hilltop Mansion, one aspirant that wants to leave her footprints on the political history of Akwa Ibom State is Distinguished Senator Helen Esuene. Like Nellie Ross, she will become the first female executive governor of Akwa Ibom State come 2015. Esuene dynamism in her service to her community and humanity has helped her carve a niche as a proven administrator par excellence.
Esuene is a visionary woman with political credibility. She is the only woman governorship aspirant that has come out publicly to showcase her political interest without being intimidated by the men folk. She is very focus on her ambition to make history as the first woman governor to govern Akwa Ibom State.
Senator Helen Esuene is a political figure in Akwa Ibom State and command greater influence with large number of followership. She is a distinguished philanthropist with no mean repute, an entrepreneur, and an administrator. She is a woman with few words and great exploits of political leadership. She is a caring mother with integrity. She is one governorship aspirant that Akwa Ibom citizens have confidence on and the only woman standing till date, a justification that Affirmative Action for Women is not only a mantra but must be followed with concrete actions.
Akwa Ibom State is blessed with a great woman of substance and an asset who knows the plight of her people and she is ready to proffer solutions to their many challenges. She is a committed member of her Party, the Peoples Democratic Party whose passion for politics is unquantifiable. Senator Esuene is not just an aspirant but a politician that must be voted for to occupy Hilltop Mansion by 2015.
Like Nellie Ross, she will make history as the first executive governor of Akwa Ibom State. She is the best for the job.