Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: E(mily) R. Frank (1967-) Biography - Personal to Martha Graham (1893–1991) Biography » Mary Rose Garrido Wilcox: 1949—: County Official Biography - Faced Discrimination In Arizona, Hired By Deconcini, Selected To Serve As Vice Mayor, Shooting Failed To Sideline Wilcox

Mary Rose Garrido Wilcox: 1949—: County Official - Hired By Deconcini

hispanic council program eventually

Impressed by Wilcox's work on behalf of the Yaqui, Dennis DeConcini, a Democrat newly elected to the U.S. Senate from Arizona, in 1977 invited Wilcox to join his staff as a caseworker. She eventually was promoted to special assistant and also served as DeConcini's liaison with the Small Business Administration and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Her work for the senator got Wilcox involved with Friendly House, a nonprofit organization formed in 1920 and dedicated to helping immigrants. She helped the organization develop an educational program targeting at-risk children during after-school hours. Long a supporter of Friendly House, Wilcox was elected a board member in 1992. During the years of Wilcox's involvement, Friendly House has grown significantly, expanding from an annual working budget of $100,000 to one that now exceeds $4 million.

Working for DeConcini gave Wilcox valuable access to the local community. She was eventually elected to the Human Resources Commission of Phoenix, and in that job she successfully campaigned for a restructuring of the city council from at-large representation to districts. In the process, the Phoenix City Council was expanded from six to eight members. Wilcox herself was one of the first beneficiaries of the restructuring, winning election to the council from the heavily Hispanic seventh district in 1982. She became the first Hispanic woman ever elected to serve on the Phoenix council. In an interview with Dictionary of Hispanic Biography's Peg MacNichol, she said her campaign was "the most satisfying in my life." Projects championed by Wilcox included a campaign to pass a $37 million bond issue to finance affordable housing in Phoenix. She was eventually selected to chair the council's housing commission. Working with liberal reform Mayor Terry Goddard and fellow councilman Calvin Goode, Wilcox managed to get the bond issue passed, further buttressing her reputation as a housing advocate. She also worked with Goode to win approval for establishment of a $1 million fund for an anti-crime program called Neighborhood Fightback. Monies from the fund were disbursed to strong community associations willing to upgrade their neighborhoods. Neighborhoods in which the program was implemented experienced significant declines in crime, and the program was eventually adopted statewide.

Despite her growing involvement in local politics, Wilcox remained an enthusiastic campaigner for Hispanic rights. In 1983 she joined with five other Hispanic women to found the Hispanic Women's Corporation (HWC), a group that offers annual seminars to help Hispanic women find new ways in which to upgrade their education and careers. Each year the HWC sponsors a national conference, the largest conference of its kind in Arizona. The conference, which draws up to 2,000 attendees yearly, is privately funded by corporations that use the event as a recruiting opportunity. Wilcox in 1983 also helped created IMAGE, a coalition of Hispanic government employees at the federal, state, and local level. She served as IMAGE's first president from 1983 until 1986.

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