Carol Marinovich was the first woman elected to the city council of Kansas City, Kansas (1989) and the first woman elected as the mayor of Kansas City, Kansas (1995). Born in the Strawberry Hill neighborhood of Kansas City, Marinovich received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from St. Mary’s College (1972) and her Master of Science in Education (1980) and Administration Certificate (1981) from the University of Kansas. Prior to her political career, she worked as an educator in Unified School District #500 from 1972-1982, and as Special Education Coordinator from 1982-1995. Disappointed with the city council’s inaction, Marinovich became a candidate for the 1989 city council election in Kansas City, Kansas. Marinovich was elected to the city council in 1989, becoming the first woman on the council in Kansas City, Kansas history. She served as a council member for six years, focusing on regulating adult entertainment establishments in the city, improving housing opportunities, and bolstering the economy.
Marinovich ran for Mayor of Kansas City, Kansas, against 12 other candidates, winning the seat in 1995. For the first two years of her mayorship, Marinovich lobbied in Topeka for consolidation of the Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas governments. Members of the community voted for a measure added to the ballot in 1997 to consolidate the two governments, which went into effect in October of 1997. Marinovich was voted the first Mayor and CEO of the unified government, a position she held until 2005. Under her leadership, Kansas City, Kansas and Wyandotte County experienced fewer government scandals, an improved relationship with the state government, and economic growth. Marinovich remained Mayor and CEO until 2005, after which she became partner and Vice President of Fleishman-Hillard, Inc., a public relations firm. In 2005, she received the prestigious Kansas Citian of the Year award from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.