Rhoda Fox Graves was the first woman elected to New York State Senate. She was also the first woman to preside over the senate. As a senator, she founded the Organized Women Legislators of New York State and was its first president. Women had only been given the right to vote in 1920. By 1925, she was in the legislature.
Rhoda was married to Perle A. Graves and had two sons, Paul and Marcus. Read Perle (PA) Graves' obituary.
1925-1932 - NYS Assembly
While in the Legislature, she sponsored the junior operator license law, the creation of a State Publicity Bureau, a state highway snow clearance provision, as well as legislation to benefit farmers and the St. Lawrence Seaway.
One year after her election to the Assembly, Graves was appointed chair of the Assembly Public Institutions Committee. A former teacher, Graves sponsored legislation to finance school buildings and to create teaching scholarships. She also sponsored legislation authorizing the Conservation Department to issue pamphlets on state tourist attractions.
1935 -1948 - New York Senate
Elected to the Senate in 1935, Graves became the first woman chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, sponsoring legislation that aided the dairy industry and helped dairy farmers receive better prices for their milk.
She was also a member of many Senate committees including Conservation, Highways and Parkways, Public Education, Affairs of Villages, Civil Service, Labor and Industry, Public Relief and Welfare, and Public Printing and Revision.
About Rhoda Fox Graves
Women in the NY Senate
Read Rhoda's ObituaryVisit Rhoda in Riverside