Alison Hughes

Submitted Photo

Alison Hughes is the consummate leader. As chairwoman of the Tucson Women's Commission, she has created brochures, done listings for "The Redbook, A Guide to Health Care," helped sponsor a girls' art competition and, most recently, priced items for the commission's Treasures Garage Sale.

The sale is slated for 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Campbell Fair Plaza, 1740 E. Fort Lowell Road, next to Rosa's Mexican Food restaurant.

Hughes, the commission's first executive director, left the commission in 1982 to work as a congressional aide, then attended graduate school, after which she spent more than 25 years as a rural and public health educator at the University of Arizona's college of public health.

Hughes, who recently retired as interim director of the Arizona Rural Health Office, received the 2011 James D. Bernstein Mentoring Award last month from the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health.

She returned to the women's commission in 2010.

The commission's mission has not changed over time. Its purpose is to help women have opportunities in all aspects of life and expose, eliminate and prevent discrimination against women, Hughes said.

The commission, which has its own building at 240 N. Court Ave., is supported by private donors.

"It was in the early '70s that I became involved in the commission," Hughes said. "Women were struggling for inclusion in all aspects of society. This included opportunities in the trades and in major executive positions in both private and public sectors.

"Women of color were the worst off in all these challenges," Hughes said.

The commission was founded in 1975, representing "a governmental commitment to equal rights," Hughes said.

The commission is made up of 20 members appointed by the City Council, the county Board of Supervisors and the commission itself.

Some of the commission's accomplishments:

• Last fall it published The Redbook, underwritten by Tucson Electric Power Co. The book is a compendium of health-care agencies women may not know about. "We hope to update it and republish it," Hughes said.

• Last March, the commission hosted its first "Women in Government Day," celebrating the achievements of women working in county and city governments. Women in Government Day will be held again in March 2012.

• The commission presents low-cost seminars on such diverse topics as "How Government Works" and "How to Get Your News in Print and on the Air."

"We are also sponsoring a girls' art competition that focuses on women's contributions to the community throughout history," Hughes said.

For information on how to enter the contest call 622-0905.

If you go

• What: Pima County/Tucson Women's Commission Treasures Garage Sale

• When: 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday

• Where: Campbell Fair Plaza, 1740 E. Fort Lowell Road, next to Rosa's Mexican Food restaurant.

• Etc: The sale will feature collectibles, art, books, household and office items, electronics, glassware, linens, accessories and unusual items. All purchases and donations are tax-deductible.

• Info: Call 622-0905