Gertrude Dills McKee was the only female state senator during the 1940s. She represented the 32nd Senatorial District and was elected to office in 1931, 1937, and 1943. Her father, Hon. W. A. Dills, was a legislator and inspired Mrs. McKee to attend the Peace Institute in Raleigh. Her other civic duties included Presidency of the Southern Council of Women's Clubs, Chairman of the Jackson County Board of Education, and trustee of the Western Carolina Teachers College, Peace College, Brevard College, and the University of North Carolina.