Cady, Miller receive state honors

She was a state representative, he was Supreme Court justice

Mark Cady

Helen Miller had lived in Iowa only a couple of years when she successfully ran for a seat in the Iowa House of Representatives. She went on to serve 16 years in the Legislature and is now the chairwoman of the Iowa Parole Board.

A thorough knowledge of the law and an even-handed approach to cases that came before him were the professional traits of Mark Cady as he rose through the ranks of the Iowa judiciary, eventually becoming chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court.

The work of those two people who called Fort Dodge home is being recognized at the state level.

Miller is being inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame.

”I’m definitely honored and extremely pleased,” she said.

Helen Miller

”To the extent that I’ve accomplished things, there’s no way I could have done so if it weren’t for the fact that I had so much support from the folks up there,” said Miller, who now lives in the Des Moines area.

Cady, who died in November 2019, is being posthumously awarded the Cristine Wilson Medal for Equality and Justice.

”We’re very proud to accept this honor in his name and also know that he would be proud of this honor,” said Becky Cady, Mark Cady’s widow. ”He was passionate about equality and justice for all.”

Both awards were announced recently by the Iowa Department of Human Rights.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremonies that would typically be held to induct Miller into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame and to present the medal to the Cady family have been postponed to August 2021.

About Mark Cady

• Appointed as a district associate judge in 1983.

• Appointed as a Webster County District Court judge in 1986.

• Named to the Iowa Court of Appeals in 1994.

• Chosen as chief judge of the Iowa Court of Appeals in 1997.

• Appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court in 1998.

• Chosen as chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court in 2011.

• While an Iowa Supreme Court justice he wrote the opinion in the 2009 case Varnum v. Brien that legalized same-sex marriage.

• Earned bachelor’s and law degrees from Drake University in Des Moines.

• Other honors include the Friend of the County Award and 2016 Judicial Achievement Award.

• An interactive learning center in the Iowa Supreme Court building will be named after him.

About Helen Miller

• A Democrat, she represented the Fort Dodge area in the Iowa House of Representatives from 2003 to 2019.

• Authored a liability reform law that made creation of the Gypsum City Off-Highway Vehicle Park possible.

• Secured funding to start the biofuels testing lab at Iowa Central Community College.

• Served 14 years on the House Agriculture Committee and became the first minority to serve as the panel’s ranking member.

• Established the Urban Ag Institute to teach lawmakers from big cities about farming.

• Became chairwoman of the Iowa Parole Board on July 2, 2019.

• Earned bachelor’s degree from Howard University, Washington, D.C.; master’s degree from Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, Texas; and law degree from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

• Other honors include Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, Division of Soil Conservation Award


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