Diann Ring interviewed by Abby Waldrop, February 17, 2016, Claremont, California, Oral History #5806.2, transcript, Women Politics, and Activism, Since Suffrage, Center for Oral and Public History, California State University, Fullerton.
An oral history of Diann Ring, former Claremont mayor and city councilmember. The interview was conducted for the Women, Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage Oral History Project for California State University, Fullerton’s Center for Oral and Public History. The purpose of this interview was to gather information regarding Ring’s time spent in public office. Specifically, Ring talks about her dad’s involvement with Democratic Party politics in Texas; shares memories of President Kennedy’s assassination; documents her husband’s medical career; talks about gender discrimination in the workplace during the 1950s and her experience working at news station in Dallas, Texas; explains why she and her husband moved to Claremont, California, and how the area has developed over the years; describes why she joined the League of Women Voters (LWV) and their cause-orientated approach; shares memories of her time on the Claremont Planning Commission; talks about why she ran for City Council in 1985; describes relationship with fellow city councilmembers and what was like serving with other women; describes her first council campaign; shares memories of working as professional campaign manager in support of Proposition 13 and (future co-councilmember) Sandy Baldonado for Assembly; recalls how her family reacted to her decision to run for office; recounts when she recognized the importance of women in politics; explains the current issue of water rights between the city of Claremont and Golden State Water Company and Marilee Scaff’s (O.H. 5841) involvement; recalls first days on city council and the challenging political climate, including how councilmembers generated additional revenue after it was removed by Prop 13; how she negotiated a new utility tax as mayor (1992-94); shares memorable moments as mayor including: availability for constituents, Rodney King aftermath, how Orange County bankruptcy affected Claremont, and the importance of transparency with media; discusses her mayoral accomplishments; explains what it takes to be a successful politician; describes her leadership style vs other members of the Claremont City Council; process of getting her master’s in public policy at Claremont College; defines feminism; speaks generally about why it’s important for women to be involved in politics; reflects on why more women don’t run for politics; and finally, reflects on the controversy surrounding a local police shooting in 1998.
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