(This is the second in our weekly series of Clarksville Faces of Black History profiles for Black History Month.)
In honor of Women’s History Month, we are recognizing the faces of Clarksville that have historically broken down barriers for women.
This week’s spotlight is on Kim McMillan -- a woman of many firsts in both state and local government.
McMillan, who came to Clarksville after graduation from the University of Tennessee College of Law, represented Clarksville for 12 years in the Tennessee House of Representatives. During her tenure, she was the first woman elected as House Majority Leader.
After six consecutive terms in the House, McMillan did not run for re-election in 2006 and instead accepted an appointment by Gov. Phil Bredesen to serve as his Senior Advisor. She also served as a senior advisor at Austin Peay State University.
With invaluable political experience from her time in the House of Representatives and Gov. Bredesen’s cabinet, McMillan briefly mounted a campaign for Governor. But she changed course in 2010, and set her sights on the Clarksville Mayor’s office. McMillan was elected the 50th Mayor of Clarksville, also becoming the City’s first female Mayor and the first woman elected Mayor of any city in Tennessee with a population over 100,000.
During her two terms as the Mayor of Clarksville (2011-2019), McMillan helped to propel Clarksville as one of the premier cities in America, evidenced by record growth and acclaim in numerous national surveys and publications. She guided the completion of many popular amenities in Clarksville, such as Liberty Park, the Clarksville Marina, Heritage Park Playground and Splash Pad, Valleybrook Park renovation, and extension of the Clarksville Greenway and Blueway. She also oversaw the acquisition of land for an Urban Wilderness Park and the Clarksville Athletic Complex at Exit 8.
McMillan’s leadership helped establish a climate in Clarksville that attracted major corporations, such as Google, Hankook Tire, and LG Electronics, all of which continue to provide growth and employment opportunities.
Kim McMillan, who now makes her home near Seattle, paved the way for a new generation of women to serve in state and local government. She was a political trailblazer who left a lasting impact on her community. Clarksville’s quality of life was enhanced and became an even better place to live, work, and raise a family thanks to McMillan’s leadership and hard work. For that, we recognize her as one of the leading “Clarksville Faces of Women’s History.”