Wendy Noren speaks at the dedication ceremony for the Wendy Noren Room at the Boone County Democratic Party’s headquarters Friday. Noren said she felt proud for always encouraging women to run for office.

When Wendy Noren began her career focusing on voter registration and elections, she thought she would only stay in the Boone County Clerk’s Office for one or two years. She didn’t imagine that this job would last for more than three decades.

On a chilly Friday night, the Boone County Democrats gave a warm welcome to Noren as she gave her speech during the dedication ceremony of an office for future Democratic candidates. The Wendy Noren Room is named after Noren in honor of her 35 years as the former Boone County Clerk.

Noren took office in 1982 and was re-elected as county clerk eight times, according to previous Missourian reporting.

During her longtime service in the office, Noren dedicated herself to reforming election policies and methods. She helped reform the national election administration policies and developed her own software in 2007 to help the county join a statewide election database, saving roughly $125,000 for county taxpayers.

Noren resigned in June after being diagnosed with cancer. She came back after two months, however, to provide consulting services for the county, according to previous Missourian reporting.

After writing the county’s voter registration programs and tax programs, Noren said her job now is to train programmers in the office to maintain files.

“I didn’t want the things that I designed over the last 35 years not to work,” Noren said. “Since I was the only one who used most of these tax programs, I need to document it, train the programmers on what needed to be done on that type of thing.”

Former Gov. Roger Wilson expressed his gratitude for Noren’s dedication to her work at the Friday ceremony. He said he admired the excellence of Noren’s work in that she ran clean and fair campaigns and offered advice generously for 35 years.

“The fact that, not only did you serve Boone County as well,” Wilson said to Noren, “but the fact that you went around the world internationally and were able to give advice to forming democracies is huge.”

“Wendy is the essence of excellence when it comes to the work of serving the public,” Lisa Finn, sister of Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, read in a statement from the senator. “Humble, hard-working, friendly and fair, she has been a role model to so many, even when she didn’t realize it.”

Noren recalled knowing McCaskill when they were in a cheerleading camp together.

“It was the day that the constitutional amendment allowing 18-year-olds the right to vote was adopted by the last day,” Noren said, “and I remember Claire and I jumped up...cheering, because we were going to be able to vote at 18.”

Noren said her interest in voting goes back to then. Looking back at her career, she also said she’s proud that she’s always tried to recruit women and encourage them to run for office.

The Wendy Noren Room will serve as a “central hub of operations for local, state and federal Democratic candidates in Boone County,” Boone County Democrats spokesman Scott Cristal said in an email. The room has computer access and can be used to store campaign materials, Boone County Democrats Chair Darren Hellwege said.

Noren’s consulting contract only lasts until next Tuesday, but she said she would be just one call away if the office needs help.

“Always have been; always will be,” Noren said.

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Supervising editor is Taylor Blatchford: news@columbiamissourian.com, 882-7884.

  • Second-year graduate student studying investigative journalism. State government reporter for the Missourian and writing for PolitiFact Missouri. Reach her at yy755@mail.missouri.edu. or follow her on twitter @StellaYu_Mizzou

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