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Newport News Now

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Newport News Now is a daily e-newsletter that launched in March 2016. Articles that ran in our newsletter between March 2016 and March 2018 are available on these pages. Newsletters produced beginning in April 2018 can be viewed on our new daily newsletter page.

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Mar 24

Women’s History Month Series

Posted on March 24, 2017 at 8:16 AM by Communications Department

Mary Sherwood Holt

In honor of Women’s History Month, we are highlighting women who have changed and impacted the City of Newport News.

A native of Newport News, Mary Sherwood Holt's role as a leader in city government and in transportation services has been pivotal for the city. A self-proclaimed feminist, in 1972 she was the second woman elected to Newport News City Council, Mary Holt_SCafter Jessie Rattley, and served three terms until 1984. She also co-chaired the Newport News Centennial Celebration in 1996.

Her passions include transportation, conservation and beautification. Locally, she served on the commission that created PenTran, which today is Hampton Roads Transit, and successfully lobbied for green space in Newport News. She co-founded the Virginia Living Museum where the Holt Native Plant Conservatory is named after her and her late husband Quincy M. Holt. She has touched many facets of the community by volunteering her time and energy to more than 20 additional boards of various local organizations including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Junior League of Hampton Roads, the Peninsula Economic Development Council, and People to People among others.

Over the years her civic involvement extended beyond Newport News and the region to state and national levels as well. In 1985, then-Governor Charles Robb appointed her to the Commission on Local Government, a state body charged with resolving boundary disputes between political jurisdictions. At the state level she also served on the Governor’s Commission on Transportation for the 21st Century, the Virginia Board of Transportation Safety, and the executive board of the Virginia Municipal League. Nationally, she has been on the governing board of the American Public Transit Association, chaired Women in Municipal Government, and was twice a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.