Wichita City Council Member Lavonta Williams has been honored as the national winner of the annual Women in Municipal Government (WIMG) Leadership Award. WIMG is a constituency group of the National League of Cities (NLC).
The award recognizes a female local official for her unique and outstanding leadership in local government, including individual achievement in initiating creative and successful programs in local government.
Council Member Williams was appointed to the Wichita City Council in 2007 and was elected by her district in 2009. She is the first woman elected from her district and the first African American woman to serve as vice mayor. She is a lifelong resident of northeast Wichita and graduated from Heights High School and Emporia State University. She served as a teacher for USD259 at Hamilton Middle School for 28 years and headed the school’s “after school” program for seven years.
She also serves as chair of NLC's Community and Economic Development Steering Committee, and previously served on the 15-member nominating committee that selects the organization's officers. In addition, she serves as secretary on the NLC National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO) constituency group.
“I am very honored to be recognized by the Woman in Municipal Government and the National League of Cities,” Council Member Williams said. “I also am most thankful to the staff who submitted the nomination. Any honor that falls to me is a reflection of the great citizens of this city who have given me the opportunity to serve.”
The award is the second major recognition received by a Wichita Council member this year. Mayor Carl Brewer was honored in October by the League of Kansas Municipalities with the annual E.A. Mosher Excellence in Government Award, the most prestigious annual award conferred by the League.
Council Member Williams was nominated by City Manager Robert Layton, who cited her wide range of community engagement and accomplishment.
“Council Member Williams believes in family values, grass root efforts, collaborations, being a great steward of tax dollars, and an advocate for youth and senior services,” the nomination noted. “She is meeting the needs of the northeast community and continually looking for ways to improve the quality of life for all residents. Presently, Council Member Williams has been working hard on Economic Development and infrastructure for parts of the community that have deteriorated over the past couple of decades. She is and always has been committed to the community and strives to empower all citizens.”
WIMG was formed in 1974 to serve as a forum for communication and networking among women municipal officials and their colleagues interested in addressing women’s issues. It strives to raise awareness about issues of concern to women and encourages women to seek public office in their communities.
WIMG celebrated its 40th anniversary this month at the annual NLC conference in Austin, TX, which was attended by Council Members Williams and Janet Miller.