Waldie, Jerome R. (OH 89–18)
Oral History Interview with Jerome R. Waldie. (PDF). (1987). Assembly Member, 1959–1966; U.S. Representative, 1966–1974.
Waldie discusses politics in Contra Costa County as well as in the California Democratic Council. He covers his career in the Assembly where he served on the committees for Education, Ways and Means, Judiciary, Rules, and Criminal Reform. He was active in issues concerning retarded children's services, mental health, and water. In Congress, he served on the Post Office, Public Works, and Judiciary committees. After leaving Congress he was appointed to the California Fair Political Practices Commission and later, to the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board. He offers observations on Don Allen, Pat Brown, Jerry Brown, Phil Burton, Clair Engle, George Miller, Jr., Nicholas Petris, David Sterling, Jesse Unruh and other California political figures.
Walsh, Lawrence (OH 93–05)
Oral History Interview with Lawrence Walsh. (1990). Senator, 1967–1974.
Walsh discusses his family and early life, military service, and employment history. He talks about his start in politics at the local level and his first campaign for city council. He then comments on deciding to run for the state senate and the lack of issues during the primary campaign. He speaks of his endorsements from labor organizations and newspapers as well as his election and his senate colleagues. He discusses senate leadership, his legislation, the effects of redistricting, his committee assignments, and transportation issues–particularly as relating to freeways. He also mentions his defeat in the race for lieutenant governor and leaving political office.
Waters, Laughlin E. (OH 88–10)
Oral History Interview with Laughlin E. Waters (PDF) (1987). Assembly Member, 1947–1953.
Waters discusses his family background, education, distinguished combat service during World War II in Europe, service in the assembly, especially his activities related to the state reapportionment of 1951, education, and highway construction, and comments extensively on Earl Warren as California governor and United States supreme court justice.
Watson, Diane E. (OH 2000–03)
Oral History Interview with Diane E. Watson. (1999). State Senator, 1975–1998.
Watson discusses her family background and her childhood in Los Angeles. She speaks of her initial unsuccessful bids for a seat on the Los Angeles Board of Education and the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors in 1992. She talks about her successful bid for a seat on the Board of Education in 1974 and for the state senate. She outlines the effort to desegregate Los Angeles schools, campaigning, carrying legislation, and chairing the Committee on Health and Human Services. She also discusses the Commission on the Status of Women, the Women's Caucus, the Black Caucus, leadership in the senate, and the state budget.
Watson, Madale L. (OH 90–1)
Oral History Interview with Madale L. Watson. (1998). Active in Democratic State Central Committee and Democratic Party Politics.
Watson discusses her family background and childhood, her early introduction to politics through her father's work, and her involvement with and election to positions in the Democratic State Central Committee. She talks about the role of women in the organization as well as factional politics among Democrats. She also discusses prominent California Democrats, particularly Jesse Unruh.
Weingand, Alvin C. (OH 90–2)
Oral History Interview with Alvin C. Weingand (PDF) (1989). Senator, 1962–1966.
Weingand discusses his family background in North Platte, Nebraska, moving to Los Angeles and Montecito, civic activities in Montecito and Santa Barbara, and his service in the California State Senate from 1962–1966, and provides observation, especially in regard to ethics, about the state legislature. He also comments about oil drilling in the coastal waters near Santa Barbara, California.
Welch, Ronald B. (OH 89–30)
Oral History Interview with Ronald B. Welch. (1988). Board of Equalization, Assistant Executive Secretary, 1958–1974; Chief, Division of Research and Statistics, 1946–1958.
Welch discusses his work as chief of the California Board of Equalization's research section on standardization and restructuring of property tax assessment methods and work with county assessors, with reference to tax reform legislation and ballot measure initiatives in 1968 and 1971. References to state legislators and financial officials of the period.
Wheeler, Douglas (OH 2004-25)
Oral History Interview with Douglas Wheeler. (2003, 2004). California Secretary for Resources, 1991-1999.
Douglas Wheeler was born in 1942 and raised in Long Island, New York. His career in public service started as an assistant legislative counsel for the Department of Interior from 1969 to 1977, then as deputy assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. He then served as a senior executive for several nonprofit environmental and conservation organizations: National Trust for Historic Preservation (executive director, 1977-1980), American Farmland Trust (president, 1980-1985), the Sierra Club (executive director, 1985-1987), and the World Wildlife Fund/Conservation Foundation (vice-president, 1987-1991). From 1991-1999, Mr. Wheeler served as California's Secretary of Resources under Governor Pete Wilson.
Whitaker, Clement S., Jr. (OH 90–9)
Oral History Interview with Clement S. Whitaker, Jr. (PDF) (1988, 1989). Political Campaign and Public Relations Specialist, 1944– .
Whitaker discusses the organization and activities of Whitaker and Baxter, Inc. and allied political public relations work of Campaigns, Inc. and California Feature Service, 1940–1986. Topics include campaigns for Goodwin Knight, Richard Nixon, Robert Griffin; with emphasis on campaigns for California ballot measures on teachers' salaries, railroad crews, California and national health insurance, air pollution, and coastal protection; and public affairs activities concerning legislative reapportionment, medical malpractice, unitization of oil fields, and power plant siting.
Williams, Robert (OH 91–14)
Oral History Interview with Robert Williams. (1990). Deputy Legislative Secretary, 1963–1988.
Williams discusses the evolution of a formalized system for tracking and reviewing legislation in the governor's office. He compares the job during the four gubernatorial administrations and offers an insider's assessment of the work habits, personalities, staff, relations with legislators, and concerns of Governors Brown, Reagan, Brown, and Deukmejian.
Willoughby, Thomas H. (OH 90–4)
Oral History Interview with Thomas H. Willoughby. (1988). Legislative Staff Member, 1961–1983.
Willoughby discusses his role as consultant to two major assembly committees, contrasting the styles of committee chairmen Clark Bradley, John Knox, William Craven, Victor Calvo, and Thomas Hannigan and explaining the process of drafting and amending legislation. He describes the genesis of key environmental legislation of the 1960s and 1970s; contrasts assembly leadership styles of Speakers Leo McCarthy and Willie Brown; and reflects on the roles of Governors Edmund G. Brown, Sr., Ronald Reagan, and Edmund G. Brown, Jr. in the legislative process. He also discusses important cases heard as a member of the Commission on Judicial Performance, 1977–1981.
Winton, Gordon H., Jr. (OH 88–1)
Oral History Interview with Gordon H. Winton, Jr. (PDF) (1987). Assembly Member, 1956–1966.
Interview details Winton's background: family, education, World War II service, professional work as a lawyer, and service as a local school board member. The focus of the interview is his ten years of service in the assembly. He describes the style of Lincoln and Brown as speakers, as well as his relations with Jesse M. Unruh and the contest for the speakership in 1961. He discusses his role in passing legislation in the fields of education and criminal procedure particularly. He recounts the service to him of Rose Elizabeth Bird (later chief justice of the California State Supreme Court) as a Ford Foundation intern.
Wright, Cathie (OH 2003–01)
Wright discusses her family background, education, and job history. She speaks of moving to California and becoming involved in local politics in Simi Valley, her election to the Simi Valley city council, and her time as mayor. She outlines changing her party affiliation to Republican from Democrat and her decision to run for an assembly seat. She comments on campaigning, the role of the Republican Caucus, and the affect of political life on her family. Wright also discusses the Women's Caucus, her committee assignments, and involvement with the Commission on Child Support Development and Enforcement and the Commission on the Status of Women. She details the Systems of Care program, her decision to run for a senate seat, and her transition to other house. Wright also discusses the budget process, her run for lieutenant governor and feelings with Gray Davis, deregulation of electricity, and term limits.
Wrightson, James R. (OH 89–27)
Oral History Interview with James R. Wrightson (PDF). (1988). Journalist, 1948–1985.
Wrightson discusses his family and educational background in Maryland, service in the Civil Public Service camps as a conscientious objector during World War II, post–war work with the National Farm Labor Union, working on various California newspapers before moving to the Fresno Bee to cover the state legislature at Sacramento, and makes observations about the Sacramento press corps, effective legislators, influential lobbyists, and the impact or print and nonprint media on politicians, lobbyists, and state government.
Summaries and Subject Index
Interview summaries are arranged alphabetically by surname. Clicking on the letter will take you to the surname page. If a transcript of an interview is available, the summary will have a link to a downloadable PDF file.
Subject list uses Library of Congress subject headings.