The California Federation of Republican Women (CFRW) was organized in January 1925. Women in California had the right to vote since 1911, which not only allowed women to take part in the democratic process, but also led to women being elected to office. California’s women’s suffrage campaign inspired other states to join the movement. Nearly a decade after women won the right to vote in California, women were granted this right in all states at the federal level with the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution in 1920. At that same time, in 1920, the women of Southern California organized the Los Angeles Republican Study Club with Mrs. Florence Collins Porter as leader. This Study Club became a model for other cities.

Kevin Kiley Speaks at the CFRW 2023 Biennial Convention.

Mrs. Porter served as an Associate Member of the Republican National Committee. In 1924, while continuing her efforts with the Republican Study Club, she seconded the nomination of Calvin Coolidge for President. In January of 1925 three women issued a call to women of various clubs in Southern California and to women in San Francisco and Berkeley, to attend a meeting in Los Angeles. At this meeting, the California Federation of Republican Women was formed. Mrs. Porter was elected President of Southern Division and Mrs. Parker Maddux, of San Francisco, as President of Northern Division. In 1937-38 the Central Division was formed.

The goal of the Federation, established in the Bylaws, was “to promote a wider knowledge of principles and policies of the Republican Party.” Its goal, also, was to cooperate with the County and State Central committees to help elect Republican candidates to office. At the 1938 biennial conventions the members voted to join the newly organized National Federation of Women’s Clubs under the name of the California Council of Republican Women. In 1954 the National organization became known as the National Federation of Republican Women and our State organization became known as the California Federation of Republican Women.

Mrs. O. P. Clark was the first CFRW President, 1925-1931. She also was elected in 1924 to serve as the first National Committeewoman from California. 

Throughout the years the Federation continued to grow in membership and activities. The members worked on campaigns, taught English and Americanism to the foreign born, and held political seminars throughout the State with the goals of electing Republicans to public office; promoting participation of women in politics; informing members on current legislative issues; providing membership input to legislators at local, state, and national levels; and developing a community volunteer program to address important social issues and concerns.

In 1970-1971 the first statewide Spring conference, emphasizing legislation, was held in Sacramento; thus began the education of CFRW’s members on the issues in the Capitol.

In 1972 a “Talent Bank” was established to encourage Republican Women of outstanding ability to seek elective office or appointments to state commissions and boards.

In 1974-1975, President Marie Solberg followed suggestions by Governor Ronald Reagan and legislators that the Federation should be a viable force in the legislative process, CFRW established an advocacy program. The purpose of this program was to put CFRW in direct communication with members of the State legislature. Nancy Ehlers was appointed the first chairman and in 1976 was registered as the first full time (volunteer) CFRW lobbyist.

In 2020, President Sue Blair was tasked with implementing the change in structure of the California Federation to nine Regions, each with a Regional Director, rather than the two Divisions we had since 1925 and the third Division created in 1937. As the California Federation approaches the dawn of its centennial year, the bylaws, goals and objectives of the Federation have basically remained the same since 1925. The Federation continues to  promote a wider knowledge of principles and policies of the Republican Party and cooperates with the County Central committees and the state Republican Party to help elect Republican candidates to office. Federated women are making phone calls, walking precincts, sending text messages and holding gatherings in their neighborhoods to support our Republican candidates. Members are actively engaged in voter registration, poll watching, overseeing vote counting and promoting election integrity. Women are the powerful force for the 21st Century and the California Federation of Republican Women is helping to lead the way!

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