Westwood, Jean

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Francis Jean Miles Westwood was born November 22, 1923, in Price, Utah, to Francis M. and Nettie Potter Miles. She was married September 6, 1941, to Richard E. Westwood, and has two children and ten grandchildren. She and her husband have been in business as owners of the Westwood Mink Farms of West Jordan and Highland, Utah, for over twenty-five years. She and her husband are also equal partners in Westwood Enterprises, which is involved in the construction of middle and low-income housing and apartment buildings.

Jean Westwood was educated at Carbon Jr. College, San Diego State University, the University of California at Los Angeles, Utah State University, and the University of Utah, taking courses in history and political science. She was a winner of the Eugene Field Award, Writer's Digest Short Story Contest, and has had numerous stories and articles published.

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.

Westwood was on the staff of Congressman David S. King of Utah and also worked for Senator Robert F. Kennedy in Utah, until his assassination. She then switched to Hubert Humphrey, becoming Utah chairman of the Humphrey presidential campaign. She has spent most of her adult life campaigning for liberal Democratic candidates for school board, state legislature, Congress and the presidency, and working within the Democratic Parties of Utah and Arizona. Mrs. Westwood has involved herself with youth groups at universities, and supervised the educational program at Girl's State in Utah.

Jean Westwood was treasurer and executive committee member on the Charter Commission which wrote the National Democratic Party Constitution, ratified at the 1974 Kansas City Convention. She has served as vice chairman of the Western States Democratic Conference, and was a delegate to the 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, and 1980 conventions, serving on the platform committee in 1968, the rules committee in 1972, and in official capacities at more recent conventions. In 1976, Mrs. Westwood was the campaign director for the Terry Sanford for President campaign.

Jean Westwood 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. She worked with George McGovern on his commission, and upon his decision to run for the presidency in 1972, became co-chairman of his campaign. She was chosen by McGovern to be Democratic National Committee Chairman, and was elected to that post immediately after the Chicago convention.

She presided over a newly enlarged and more representative National Committee as a result of a resolution she helped to author at the 1972 convention. During her tenure, she presided over the first selection in history of a replacement nominee for national office. She won a narrow vote of confidence at the December 1972 meeting by promising to step down immediately after the vote, which she did.

In addition to her national political posts, 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. Mrs. Westwood continues to participate in many Arizona and national political groups.

In the 1970s Mr. and Mrs. Westwood began spending winters in Arizona, and they have since taken up permanent residence there. Jean Westwood has become involved in Arizona Democratic politics, serving, at the request of Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt, as a member of the Executive Board of the Arizona Office of Economic Planning and Development since 1979. Correspondence and memos in the collection indicate that Mrs. Westwood has played an important role in behind-the-scenes planning and organizing in Arizona Democratic politics. Most notably, she has advised Governor Babbitt, and was instrumental in organizing Peterson Zah's successful 1982 campaign for Chairman of the Navajo Nation. She has continued to be involved in national, liberal, and women's causes, and with the Democratic National Committee, for which she drafted in 1985 an internal party paper, Proposals and Suggestions for 1988 Delegate Rules.

From the guide to the Jean M. Westwood papers, 1934-1995, (J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Westwood, Jean M., 1923- . Papers, 1934-1976. Landmarks of Science Microform Service
creatorOf Westwood, Jean M., 1923-. Papers, 1934-1976. University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library
referencedIn Westwood, Dick, 1921-. Papers, 1941-1969. Landmarks of Science Microform Service
creatorOf Jean M. Westwood papers, 1934-1995 J. Willard Marriott Library, University of UtahManuscripts Division
creatorOf Westwood, Jean M. The settlement of the Price River Valley. Utah Division of State History, Utah Historical Society
referencedIn Westwood, Dick, 1921-. Papers, 1941-1969. University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Democratic Party (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Democratic Party (Utah) corporateBody
associatedWith National Women's Political Caucus. corporateBody
associatedWith Westwood, Dick, 1921- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Carbon County (Utah)
Price River Valley (Utah)
United States
United States
Politics, Government, and Law
Women in politics--United States--History--Sources
Presidents--United States--Election--Sources
Civil rights
Women--Political activity
Political Campaigns
Democratic Party


Birth 1923-11-23

Death 1997-08-18


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