An Inspiring Day at the Capitol, March 21, 2011
The Woman of the Year Ceremony in the Assembly Chambers, Sacramento, California
By Carol Lindberg
The drive began at noon on March 20, 2011, through one of the worst downpours I’ve ever driven. Two hours later, after passing four accidents, driving 45 miles an hour, I was over the snow-covered, 4,000 ft. Gorman pass. The next four hours driving north on Hwy 5 in light rain were just beautiful. I’ve never seen the hills so green. Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim kept me company on Serious/XM radio until I reached Sacramento.
Assemblyman Das Williams reserved a room for me in the historic Citizen Hotel, 3 blocks from the Capitol. Two years ago, it was converted from a 1926, 14-story office building to a hotel. Beautifully carved wood, law books, and political cartoons are integrated into the décor of the rooms. (www.citizenhotel.com and it is wired to accommodate all electronic devices.)
Monday morning I walked to the Capitol at 9 a.m., checked in at Das’ sunny, 6th floor office, and met his friendly, capable staff. Then I wandered around taking photos of Ventura County’s exhibit, school children on tours and talking to people. People I questioned in the Capitol confirmed my belief that Das is an energetic, intelligent, hard-working assemblyman with the ability to “get things done.” I’m pleased that he represents us and has a bright future. He also talks to constituents in Ventura, Oxnard and Santa Barbara every Friday. He and his wife, Jonny, commute every week. Das rents a small flat a block from the Capitol.
At 10 a.m. the CA Legislative Women’s Caucus held a brunch for the Honored Women in the Eureka Room in the Capitol. I received a yellow rose corsage and name tag. It was a beautiful room filled with women who have made a positive contribution in their communities. There are 80 assembly members and 40 senate members. Of those, 33 are women. The California Legislative Women’s Caucus was formed in 1985 by nine Democrats and six Republicans. It is bipartisan and “embraces the goal of empowering all women to be self sufficient, independent, and equal partners in their homes, communities, places of work and government.”
At 11 a.m., we proceeded to the second floor of the Capital where 80 of us were seated around the perimeter of the assembly floor. At noon, John Perez, Speaker of the House, called the meeting to order and introduced Legislative Women’s Caucus Co-Chair Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal. She explained that the Woman of the Year celebration is an annual event sponsored by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus where a woman from each Assembly District is selected by the respective State Assembly representative to receive recognition for her accomplishments and service. I’m pleased to be selected by Das for District 35. Assemblywoman Lowenthal introduced Kamala Harris, Attorney General, who spoke about the importance of women’s contributions to California, past and present.
At noon the ceremony began, and I was introduced and escorted to the front of the Assembly chambers by Das Williams to be presented with a framed certificate by Assembly Speaker Perez. Secretary of State Debra Bowen spoke after the presentations and told us that this year is the centennial celebration of California women gaining the right to vote.
On Election Day, October 10, 1911, in California, Equal Suffrage passed by only 3,600 votes out of 246,000 votes, and San Francisco became the most populous city in the world in which women could vote. “Votes for Women” poster, created by artist Bertha Margaret Boye for the 1911 California campaign, is probably the most popular poster produced during the American suffrage movement. The 19th Amendment was finally approved on August 26, 1920, a date now officially recognized as Equality Day.
Das took me to lunch across from the Capitol before he had to return to work for the people in our District 35. We walked back through the beautiful garden on Capitol grounds. I watched a film describing the renovation of the Capitol building in the 1970s before picking up my car and driving to Santa Rosa to spend the night with a college friend. I visited four more friends on my way home to Ventura via Highway 101.
To observe our state legislators at work and to be in the company of such accomplished women was an honor and a truly memorable experience.
Enjoy this website of the capitol and please read Das Williams’ website to obtain current information about CA, make an appointment to see him, give him input, or learn what he’s proposing for our district.
Read more about Carol and the award in an article that appeared in The Ventura County Star.