Our History

Founded by Betty Stephens (1932-2018) in 1970, Democratic Women of Santa Barbara was created to champion Democratic principles and candidates. Betty envisioned building a community of local women who worked together to raise awareness and funding for Democratic candidates and causes. A victim of sexual violence, Betty said “I found a strength I didn’t know I had. I did daring things.” She believed in empowering women and was a major supporter of many Democratic candidates and causes, including Planned Parenthood and Domestic Violence Solutions.

In 2020, Democratic Women of Santa Barbara County celebrated its 50th Anniversary. The organization has been a chartered club of the California Democratic Party for 45 years. Growing out of the U.S. women’s movement of the 1960s, the founders of Democratic Women, who had been working hard in the political arena in Santa Barbara, sought to have a larger decision-making role in their activities.

Our Values

  • The well-being of families and children, including safety from gun violence
  • Safe access to reproductive healthcare
  • Sustainable economic and environmental practices
  • A well-funded public education system
  • Healthcare for all
  • Voting integrity, voter accessibility and automatic voter registration
  • Social justice for all
  • Representation for disenfranchised and marginalized people
  • Equal rights and protection under the law for LGBTQ+ people
  • Comprehensive immigration reform
  • Ramification for the Equal Rights Amendment
  • Respectful International relations
  • Solutions to end homelessness
"For over 50 years she was a strong, vocal proponent of women’s rights. Many, if not all, of the gender equity gains in our country are directly attributable to the strategic, intellectual, and financial support that Betty provided." Jack O'Connell Speaking of Betty Stephens
1970-71      Mary Jo Miles
1972-73      Betty Stephens
1974-75      Kay Alexander
1976-77      Mary Stilwell
1978-79      Marilyn Anticoni
1980-81      Mabel Gunderson
1982-83      Jean Roisman
1984-85      Elaine Powers
1985-86      Gene Goldberg
1986            Bilina Cicin-Sain
1987            Jean Crist
1988-89     Barbara Upton
1990-91      Virginia Patterson
1992-93      Elizabeth Storke
1994-95      Lillian Flavin
1996-97      Catherine McCammon
1998           Lillian Flavin
1999-2001  Beverly Herbert
2002-04      Barbie Deutsch
2004-07      Kathleen Modugno
2008-11      Mary Ellen Wylie
2012-13      Nancy Miller
2013-16      Gail Teton-Landis
2017           Marty Blum
2018-21      Christina Pizarro
2022           Suzanne Cohen