Mary Kramer

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Mary Kramer
Mary E. Kramer - Official Portrait - 80th GA.jpg
United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean
In office
March 30, 2004 – October 30, 2006
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Earl Norfleet Phillips
Succeeded by Mary Martin Ourisman
Personal details
Born (1935-06-14) June 14, 1935 (age 81)
Burlington, Iowa
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Iowa
Profession Teacher, Politician, Diplomat

Mary E. Kramer (born June 14, 1935) is a former Republican Iowa State Senator who served from 1990 to 2003. She was elected President of the Senate in 1997, becoming the first independently elected woman to fill the post. In 2003 Kramer was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean; she was confirmed by the United States Senate and served from 2004 to 2006.


Mary Kramer was born in Burlington, Iowa and grew up in Iowa City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Iowa in piano performance and a Master of Arts degree in education, also from the University of Iowa.

For nearly twenty years Kramer worked as a teacher and school administrator in Iowa. In 1975 she entered the corporate sector when she became the Corporate Personnel Director for Younkers, Inc. She joined Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield in 1981, and during her eighteen years with the company served as Vice President of Human Resources and as Vice President of Community Investments.

Political career[edit]

Kramer’s political career began in 1990 when she was first elected to the Iowa State Senate, representing Clive, Des Moines and West Des Moines. Her special interests were in education, economic development, and health care. She was elected Assistant Minority Leader in 1992 and President in 1997.[1]

In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Kramer Chairperson of the White House Commission for Presidential Scholars, and in 2003, the President nominated her as the United States Ambassador to the Seven Island Nations of the Eastern Caribbean.[2] Kramer held the latter post from 2004 until her retirement in 2006.


Kramer has served on the Board of the Directors for the State Legislative Leaders Foundation and was the Chairman of the Board for the Senate President’s Forum. She was a member of the Reforming States Group of the Milbank Fund, a group dedicated to population-wide health improvement. Additionally, she has served as a member of the Board of the Des Moines Club, the Greater Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Central Iowa, the Polk County Child Care Resource Center, Brenton Bank, and Mercy Hospital. She is also a lifetime member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in Iowa and received the Society’s highest national award in June 1996.[3] In August 2009, Kramer was inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame.[4]


Kramer and her husband, Kay Kramer, married in 1958. They have a son and a daughter and four grandchildren.

Kramer remains active in community affairs and is currently working on a memoir of her experiences in politics.


  1. ^ Mary Kramer, Iowa General Assembly
  2. ^ "Council of American Ambassadors Membership". Retrieved 20 August 2009. 
  3. ^ "Legislators". 
  4. ^ "Mary E. Kramer". Iowa Commission on the Status of Women. Retrieved 20 August 2009. 
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Earl Norfleet Phillips
United States Ambassador to Barbados
Succeeded by
Mary Martin Ourisman
United States Ambassador to Dominica
United States Ambassador to Saint Lucia
United States Ambassador to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
United States Ambassador to Antigua and Barbuda
United States Ambassador to Grenada
United States Ambassador to Saint Kitts and Nevis