She received her B.A. in International Affairs from the University of Illinois in 1954, a teaching certificate in secondary level Social Studies from Iowa Wesleyan College in 1970 and an M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Iowa in 1978. She also received graduate training at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.
She was also a delegate to Democratic National Convention from Iowa in 1988 and 1992; was a member of the Democratic National Committee from Iowa in 1988; was a candidate for U.S. Representative from Iowa's 3rd congressional district in 1992 and 1994.
Iowa Governor Thomas Vilsack appointed her to the Humanities Iowa board of directors. She joined the Iowa Lottery Board in 2002.
Baxter endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2008 US Presidential election
Baxter has been active in civic organizations, including the Burlington planning commission, the Burlington City Council and the Victorian Society of Iowa. She has served on various boards, including the Preservation Action, Washington, D.C. (1980–1984), the Iowa Alliance for Historic Preservation, the Heritage Trust for Preservation of Historic Burlington and the Terrace Hill Society.
- Baxter at The Political Graveyard
- Elaine Baxter at Our Campaigns
- Elaine Baxter at the University of Iowa
- Elain Baxter's boardmember listing at the Iowa Lottery board
- Clinton Campaign: Former Lieutenant Governor Jo Ann Zimmerman joins Iowa women elected officials in endorsing Hillary Clinton, IowaPolitics.com
- "Women Not Winning In Iowa: Part 1", John Deeth blog, March 22, 2005
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