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Only top-level descriptions Katz, Vera, 1933-2017
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Oh What a Night! Conversations about Women, the 1970s, and Politics

  • SR 2534
  • Collection
  • 2004-03-18

This collection consists of an audio recording and transcript of a panel discussion titled "Oh What a Night! Conversations about Women, the 1970s, and Politics." The discussion was moderated by Melody Rose at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, Oregon, on March 18, 2004. The four participants were Gretchen Kafoury, Vera Katz, Norma Paulus, and Betty Roberts. Introductory remarks were made by John Pierce.

In the panel discussion, Rose begins by describing the topics that the panel will cover, giving instructions for audience to ask their questions, and introducing the four speakers. Kafoury, Katz, Paulus and Roberts discuss why they entered politics, talk about meeting each other as fellow legislators during the 1973 legislative session, and describe the political climate for women's rights in Oregon and the United States at that time. They talk about their support for the Equal Rights Amendment. They describe legislation they worked on regarding women's rights, reproductive rights, and rights for LGBTQ people. They discuss their strategies for getting their legislation passed and the formation of the Women's Caucus. They discuss work still undone that they feel future women legislators should focus on, and warn that their own accomplishments will need to be safeguarded by future generations. They close the panel with advice for women aspiring to enter politics.

Rose then asks Kafoury, Katz, Paulus, and Roberts selected questions from the audience. They answer questions about the definition of feminism, about the role Black women politicians played in passing women's rights legislation, about Oregon's leadership on numerous progressive issues, and about the personal costs they paid for their legislative work. They also answer questions about the role Oregon Governor Tom McCall played, as well as women in the U.S. Congress; about the failure of the national Equal Rights Amendment; and about U.S. health care policy. The final question answered is about the books that Kafoury, Katz, Paulus, and Roberts are currently reading.

Kafoury, Gretchen Miller

Oral history interview with Vera Katz

  • SR 9044
  • Collection
  • 1982-04-28 - 1982-05-19

This oral history interview with Vera Katz was conducted by Linda S. Dodds at Katz's home in Portland, Oregon, from April 28 to May 19, 1982. At the time of the interview, Dodds' name was Linda S. Brody. The interview was conducted in two sessions.

In the first interview session, conducted on April 28, 1982, Katz discusses her family's immigration to the United States from Nazi Germany in 1940. She talks about her early life in New York City, including her education and learning English. She then discusses her experience studying sociology and psychology at Brooklyn College; talks about her interest in modern dance and studying under Martha Graham; and speaks about her marriage to Mel Katz. She also briefly talks about working in marketing while in New York. She then discusses relocating to Portland, Oregon, in 1964, in order to support Mel Katz's career, and describes her early impressions of Portland. She talks about the beginnings of her political career working for Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign. She discusses lobbying the Legislature with the Kennedy Action Corps and how that led to her ultimately running to represent Multnomah County in the Oregon Legislature in 1972. She talks about her campaign, legislation she worked on, and her involvement with the Women's Caucus. She also talks about balancing her home life in Portland with her role as a legislator in Salem.

In the second interview session, conducted on May 19, 1982, Katz continues discussing representing Multnomah County in the Oregon Legislature from 1973 to the time of the interview in 1982. She continues talking about legislation she worked on, and discusses working with lobbyists and her fellow legislators. She talks about representing and connecting with her constituency, her role in Democratic party leadership in the Legislature, and her committee assignments. She discusses her experience as a woman legislator; describes her political philosophy; and speaks about serving on the Ways and Means committee. She closes the interview by discussing her plans for the future.

Katz, Vera, 1933-2017