Bachelor, University Iowa, 1957. Master of Arts, University Iowa, 1971.
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.
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. 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. 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. 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. In August 2009, Kramer was inducted into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame. Kramer remains active in community affairs and is currently working on a memoir of her experiences in politics.
Member Olympic advisory committee Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Chicago, 1988—1992. Presidential appointee White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, 2001, now chairman. Board directors Polk County Child Care Research Center, Des Moines, 1986—1996, Young Women’s Christian Association, Des Moines, 1989—1994.
Member Society Human Resource Management (Professional of Year 1996), Iowa Management Association (president 1988), Greater Des Moines C. of Chamber (board directors 1986-1996), Nexus, Rotary International.
Married Kay Frederick Kramer, June 13, 1958. Children: Kent, Krista.