Women continue to make gains on the Urban County Council.
Seven were sworn in during Sunday's inauguration ceremony for Mayor Jim Gray, Vice Mayor Steve Kay and the 15 council members. That's the most women ever elected to the council and one more than the previous council had.
It's been a long time coming.
Pam Miller, who went on to become mayor, was the first woman ever elected to public office in Fayette County when she ran for council in 1973. She also was the first woman to be elected mayor, in 1993.
Miller, who attended Sunday's inauguration ceremony, said that when she was mayor and was asked to speak to school groups, kids were often confused when the mayor showed up wearing heels. During the mid-1990s, many assumed the mayor was a man.
"They would say, 'When is he going to get here?" Miller said. "They had to be told that the mayor was a she."
Many current and incoming female council members said seeing Miller and other women in public office prompted them to seek office themselves.
Angela Evans, who was elected in November to serve the 6th District, said she was always interested in politics.
"As a lawyer, I saw a lot of women who were judges," said Evans, who also participated in a Democratic Party program called Emerge Kentucky that encourages and teaches women how to run for office.
"It gave me the confidence and knowledge to run a credible campaign," she said of the program. "If I had a question, there was someone I could call."
In addition to Evans, the other newly elected female council members are Susan Lamb in the 4th District and Amanda Mays Bledsoe in the 10th.
Returning are: Shevawn Akers, 2nd District; Jennifer Scutchfield, 7th District; Jennifer Mossotti, 9th District; and Peggy Henson, 11th District.
Scutchfield, who was elected to her second term in November, said the new council's female members were a diverse group.
"We have people like me who have young children," she said. "We have women who worked who are now retired. We have women who are still in the middle of their careers."
Henson, who has been on the council since 2008, said she thought diversity made for a stronger government.
"I think we need diversity in every sense of the word," she said.
Gray, who won by a wide margin when he sought re-election in November, is one of the few openly gay mayors in the country.
Among the women, Henson and Mossotti have served the longest. Mossotti was on the council from 1997 to 2004 and returned in 2012. She was re-elected in November for another two-year term.
Mossotti said that although women aren't in the majority on the council, Lexington voters have elected far more women than those in other parts of the state.
"Lexington is doing much better than at the state or national level," she said, adding that too few women run for state or national office.
For example, Mossotti said, a woman has not been on the top of the ticket in a governor's race since Peppy Martin ran unsuccessfully against Gov. Paul Patton in 1999.
Mossotti and Miller said that women can change the dynamic of how a government relates to its constituents.
"I think women are less intimidating," Miller said. "People aren't as afraid to talk to them."
"Egos don't get involved," she said. "We don't hold grudges. We may have disagreements, but it does not affect our relationships."