THE VFA PIONEER HISTORIES PROJECT
Jean Miles Westwood
November 22, 1923 – August 18, 1997
“I hoped to contribute to the rise of leaders and to the shaping of ideas through writing and speaking, as well as participating in politics and in my community.” Jean Westwood, Madame Chair: The Political Autobiography of an Unintentional Pioneer
Jean Westwood worked in politics at the grassroots level for several years in Utah, and served as a member of the Utah Women’s Legislative Council from 1952-56 and 1965-68. She began her service as a member of the Democratic National Committee in 1967, and was elected committee chairman in 1972, becoming the first woman to head a major American political party. She was one of a small band of liberals who pushed for the creation of the McGovern Commission and the O’Hara Commission, to open up the party to greater grassroots participation in the selection of the presidential candidates and party policies. Westwood was an executive board member of Americans for Democratic Action, on the editorial board of the Democratic Review, the advisory board of the Democratic Forum, a board member of the Congressional Action Fund, and an active member of the National Women’s Political Caucus.
Photo 1. Hubert Humphrey, Calvin Rampton and Jean Westwood at the 1968 Utah Democratic convention, photo by Dave Jonsson. Photo 2. Meet the Press with Jean Westwood and Basil A. Paterson, July 30, 1972, photo by Reni Newsphotos.