The Center for Oral and Public History (CPOPH) began its Orange County Politics project earlier this month featuring three oral history interviews with distinguished Orange County politicians.
Lois Lundberg, Lynn Daucher and Marian Bergeson were all honored recently for their contributions to Orange County’s political history.
The goal of this Orange County politics project is to document the political history of the county and all of its diversity, said Natalie Fousekis, Ph.D., director of COPH.
COPH, which began in 1968, works to preserve stories and archives with individuals that live in Southern California.
“We have 5,400 oral history interviews in our collection,” Fousekis said. “Those interviews range from people who grew up knowing Richard Nixon to Mexican-Americans who were deported during the Great Depression to veterans from all the major wars in the 20th century.”
Lundberg helped develop and construct the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda. She was a delegate at five Republican National Conventions and served as chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County from 1977-1984.
“First of all, they wanted to call me chairwoman, and I said ‘I’m a chairman, let’s get that clear,’” Lundberg said during her interview with the center.
Lundberg said the press asked her condescending questions about her gender that undermined her as a politician, but her reply was, “I’m going to take this county and make it all Republican.”
Daucher began her political career on the board of the Brea Olinda Unified School District and served on the Brea City Council and the 72nd district of the California Assembly.
She became the highest-ranking Republican on the Budget Subcommittee on Education and Finance. In 2007, she was named director of the California Department of Aging.
“When I ran for school board for the first time, people in Brea said, ‘Well, we need a business man,’” Daucher said. “And, as it turned out, I turned out to be the business man on the board … while there was no outward prejudice against women, it was a ‘good ol’ boys’ club,’ and it was run by the ‘good ol’ boys.’”
Bergesen was the first woman to serve on both the California Assembly and Senate in 1978 and 1984, respectively. She was on the Orange County Board of Supervisors in 1995, as well as the State Board of Education and California Transportation Commission.
“Eventually, the women got together and we had dinners where we would go from home to home, and kind of lay back and had some fun, and really kind of exchanged our own personal views,” she said.
She said those dinners all began as fun gatherings, but eventually evolved into the Women’s Caucus.
Fousekis said the women were chosen because they were longtime contributors to civic life in Orange County. Despite the women being Republican political figures, she said the COPH is not a supporter of the Republican Party.
“The reason why we started this, was that the history of this county was dominated by Republicans in the 1950s. So we’re starting with the oldest and earliest and moving forward in time,” Fousekis said.
Next year, the center will highlight the careers of two Democrats and two Republicans.