Retiring in 2019 as Newton County Presiding Commissioner, Marilyn Ruestman culminated a 25-year career serving the citizens of SW Missouri including parts of the City of Joplin, Newton and McDonald Counties.
Marilyn was elected a Missouri State Representative in 2002,2004,2006, and 2008. As the first Women to represent the 131st District in the Missouri House of Representatives.
Immediately in 2003 Representative Ruestman was elected Treasurer of the 92nd General Assembly Freshman Class. The Republican Caucus then elected her as a member of leadership, as the Caucus Secretary, for the years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010.
In 2003 the Women Legislators of Missouri elected Representative Ruestman President and she was appointed to the Missouri Women’s Council by the Speaker of the House where she continued to serve for 8 years. During these years Marilyn sponsored several important pieces of legislation: Stand your Ground: (Castle Doctrine); Grandparent’s Rights; and legislation that established a DNA Profiling System for those convicted of violent crimes.
Prior to being elected to the Missouri House of Representative she served as District Assistant to United States Congressman Mel Hancock, 1989 to 1996 when Congressman Hancock retired. This assignment covered up to 8 counties located in Southwest Missouri.
Subsequently, she worked as District Director for Missouri State Senator Marvin Singleton for a year, before deciding to run for office.
A recipient of the Women of the Year Award from the Missouri Federated Republican Women, Marilyn also received the following awards during her career: Missouri Bar Associations Legislator of the Year, NAACP Presidential Award, Women of Distinction from Soroptimist International, Missouri State Volunteer Project of the Year, National Winner for STUDENTS IN FREE ENTERPRIZE COMPETITON representing Missouri Southern State University, where she later served on the Alumni Board of Directors.
She was honored by Missouri Southern State University as Outstanding Alumni in 2003, as the University Commencement Speaker in 2004, and in 2009 she was selected as Women of Influence by the South Missouri Business Journal. She was awarded the MSSU Annie Baxter Award. She is also a Member Phi Kappa Honor Society.
Mrs. Ruestman presently serves as the elected Republican Committee Women for her Precinct and previously served as the Republican Missouri State Committee Women for several years.
She has also served as President or Chairman of the following civic organizations during her many years of community service:
Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce (First Women Chair); Soroptimist International of Joplin; Metro Exchange Club, (First Women Chair); The Boys and Girls Club of Joplin (First Women Chair); and Joplin Federated Republican Women President. She served on the Board of the Jasper County Housing Agency, the Area Agency on Aging; Newton/McDonald County Landfill Board Vice Chairman; and as Secretary of the SW Missouri Commissioners Association.
A lifelong resident of SW Missouri, she graduated from Noel High School, received her Bachelor Degree from Missouri Southern State University, and her Master’s Degree from Pittsburg State University.
Marilyn is a licensed Real Estate Broker, joining the Ruestman Family in Real Estate Development and the Construction Company founded in 1947, in the Joplin/Newton County area.
Marilyn and her husband Richard of 52 years, attend Christ Community United Methodist Church. They are the proud parents of Morgan, Peter and Pamela, grandparents of Zoe, Ashleigh, Bailey and Ben and great-grandson James.
She now spends the majority of her time managing their real estate investments, and spending time with their children and grandchildren at Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma.