Margaret 'Maggie' Tinsman
“..her moral compass never wavered. She stood up for what she thought was right and never doubted the ability of women like herself to be agents of progressive action and examples for other women, of whatever political background. I deeply admire her commitment to supporting other women’s leadership, to bi-partisan cooperation, and to the simple, profound principle that good government and strong communities require civic involvement, especially by women.”
--Heidi Tinsman, 2014
Maggie Tinsman grew up in Moline, Illinois, and earned a BA degree in Sociology from the University of Colorado in 1958. She went back to school in the 70s and earned a MS in Social Work from the University of Iowa in 1974 while she had three young children. She was the first woman appointed and elected to the Scott County Board of Supervisors. She served as a Supervisor from 1978-1989, first appointed to fill a vacancy, then elected after winning in a primary contest with five men and one other woman as candidates.
Ms. Tinsman was elected to the Iowa State Senate in 1988. She served 18 years, from 1989-2007. Maggie introduced legislation making human trafficking a felony in Iowa, which was signed by Gov. Tom Vilsack in April of 2006. She was active with the National Conference of State Legislatures, serving on the NCSL Executive Committee. Also, she was President of Women Legislative Network , participated in Women in Government, and the Midwest Council of State Government. Working as a model to other women, she was always encouraging women to be participants in decision-making and policy setting leadership positions. After leaving the legislature, Maggie Tinsman formed Braking Traffik, an organization dedicated to eradicating sex trafficking in Iowa and Illinois. The focus of the organization is on educating the populace and law enforcement personnel about prevalence of human trafficking in the Midwest, coordinating a victim center response, and advocating to ensure justice for victims. Maggie advocated for a second bill in the 2014 Iowa Legislature to strengthen penalties for human trafficking and further protect victims.
In 2010, Maggie Tinsman co-founded 50-50 in 2020, a statewide, bi-partisan, issue neutral initiative to achieve political equity for women in Iowa by 2020- the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. The program is envisioned as a statewide network of women who would recruit, train, and mentor women to achieve 50% of the elected positions in the Iowa Legislature and U.S. Congress, plus Governor.
Ms. Tinsman’s honors include recognition as Quad Cities Women of the Year, Citizen of the Year, Iowa Social Worker of the Year, Governor’s Volunteer Award, Child Abuse Council Priorities Award, and Coalition of Family and Children Services Award, as well as others. In 2008, she received an Honorary Doctor of Public Service Degree from St. Ambrose University.