Josephine Aspinwall Roche

Josephine Aspinwall Roche was the first policewoman in Colorado, the first woman to run a major coal company, and the second woman to serve in a presidential cabinet. By 1927 she had become a leading progressive liberal and labor advocate in Colorado. When her father, who was president of the Rocky Mountain Fuel Company (RMF), died, she inherited his minority stock and found herself ready and willing to apply her progressive ideas close to home. In March 1928, when Roche had purchased enough shares to control RMF, she invited the United Mine Workers to unionize her mines. RMF was the first western coal company to sign a union contract and pay its miners an unheard of $7 a day. After Roche’s unsuccessful bid for the governorship of Colorado, President Franklin Roosevelt appointed her Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.