Sunny Mojonnier hopes to create a Who's Who for a rare breed of California state politicians — women


When Sunny Mojonnier visited the California State Archives in Sacramento in 2012 to peruse detailed bio information on the state’s elected female legislators, she was aghast to find next to nothing.

“There were hundreds of oral histories of the men,” she said. But she found only one woman’s story — that of the late Marian Bergeson, whose memoir was in the archives’ book collection.

At that point, she vowed to begin collecting oral histories of California’s pioneer female politicians before more time passes. It already is too late for 26 women who have passed away since the first four four female legislators were elected in 1918, Mojonnier says.

Over the past 100 years — not counting the crop of incoming legislators — only 157 female state Senate and Assembly members have served in the state Capitol, compared to more than 4,500 males, says Mojonnier. She is scrambling to set up video interviews with the remaining 131, mostly at her own expense. So far, she has recorded about 20, although editing remains to be done.

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