Kathy Long interviewed by Abby Waldrop, April 4, 2017, Camarillo, California, Oral History #5964, transcript, Women Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage, Center for Oral and Public History, California State University, Fullerton.
An oral history with Kathy Long, former Ventura County Supervisor. This 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 Long’s involvement and views towards local politics. Specifically, she describes childhood and family life in Saginaw, Michigan, including her mother’s divorce and subsequent death from cancer; discusses educational background and role models; details working in Detroit for Mayor Coleman Young’s office; recounts college and early political involvement; recalls moving to California, and describes her work with Los Angeles City Councilwoman Pat Russell; discusses Russell’s campaign and loss against Ruth Galanter; reflects on what she learned from Russell, the importance of having confidence, and taking a moderate approach; recounts moving to Camarillo, California, and getting involved in Ventura County politics; describes working with the board of supervisors and her successful campaigns; discusses how she got to know the district; stresses the importance of having women in politics; describes the effort to open a county hospital, as well as a juvenile justice center and adult jail facility, but also programs for intervention and healthcare services for inmates; recounts conflicts with farmers over land use issues; talks about forming Ventura County Political Women’s Caucus; describes her leadership style; discusses the support from her husband and the importance of being a mother; views that successful politicians are in touch with their community; recounts how women are more inclined to listen and not focus on taking credit; describes herself as a feminist and recalls how she learned to stand on her own and stand up for women; details the difficulties facing women running for office; looks back on 2016 presidential campaign, and what Hillary Clinton’s loss meant for women; and finally, emphasizes that women running for office should know why and what they are running for.
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