Sue Dye

Birthday: 
1928
Areas of Achievement: 
Activism
Politics

Honored By

Honored by: Amkraut, Seymour H.
Date submitted: October 24, 2006
Gift: Engraved Paver, Small
Honored by: Dye, Nick
Date submitted: October 24, 2006
Gift: General Gift

Known to some as "the Gloria Steinem of Arizona." M.A., Comparative Literature, Indiana University; B.A., Indiana State University. Arizona State Senator, 1970's; Majority Whip 1977-78. Worked for ERA and Education. Co-chaired Arizona Delegation to the Women's Meeting in Houston. Distringuished Alumni Award, Indiana State University. Continued activist, superior letter-to-the-editor writer.
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Former State Senator Sue Dye ran for the Senate in November 1974 to help Arizona ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, which at the time needed three more states. When she won, upsetting a Republican who had held the seat for over 20 years, she joined three other newly elected women to give the State Senate a Democratic majority for the first time in years. In her second term she became Majority Whip.

It was not enough to get the Amendment ratified, a disappointment even though it would have failed in the Republican House of Representatives. She did get a resolution supporting the ERA through the next meeting of the National Council of State Legislators by a one-state majority. In the meantime, she worked on other bills to help women in the areas of education, insurance, income equity and health. She got a nurse on the Board of Medical Examiners, and got a bill through the Senate and House, then signed by the governor to regulate dance studios, which were soaking older women out of their life savings. She also had a bill for displaced homemakers, which didn't get through the House.

In 1977 she was co-chair of Arizona delegation to Houston, and later she went to Washington, D.C., to present the women's platform to President Carter. Since losing her bid for a third term, she has worked for women candidates in Tucson and now nationally. She is an active member on the Majority Council of Emily's List.

I met Sue Dye when I was a member of SAGE, a Lifelong Learning Institute (LIR) at the University of Arizona. She was an active member on the board of directors and served on committees at SAGE. I took a Creative Writing course from her at SAGE around 1997. She is an excellent teacher. Two of her students have published books. It had never occurred to me that I would be able to write an interesting piece. I wanted to learn because my children asked me to write a collection of memoirs. We all had fun with the memoirs, and a few of them were put in books published by SAGE and in Q Review, which is published by Quest, an LIR affiliated with City College of New York.

Sue is currently teaching a popular course at Quest called "The Goddess Returns." Next fall she will begin a course on the history of the women's movement in America. I know it will be good because she has at least 10 feet of our bookshelves taken up with books about women.

I must admit she has changed my views on the women's movement. I was a successful businessman, long-retired, practical and serious. She got me to take her to the Women's March in Washington, D.C. last April, along with my two daughters and three granddaughters. I was proud to have financed seven marchers to that amazing event. I pushed her in a wheelchair for part of it, and she pushed me when I needed to rest. In February, she got me to an Emily's List Breakfast at the Sheraton with some 1,000 and about 20 men. I'm proud of her fervor. My daughters and granddaughters love and admire her. She is the matriarch of her family and her daughter and four granddaughters love her and respect her for the work she has done on behalf of the women's movement.

Advancing age has not dimmed her spirit or prevented her from being a women's advocate. She is out there every day of the year proselytizing for her cause.

-- Sy Amkraut