Doris Allen (politician)

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Doris Allen
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 67th district
In office
December 7, 1992 - November 28, 1995
Preceded byMickey Conroy
Succeeded byScott Baugh
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 71st district
In office
December 6, 1982 - November 30, 1992
Preceded byChester B. "Chet" Wray
Succeeded byMickey Conroy
Personal details
Born(1936-05-26)May 26, 1936
Kansas City, Missouri, US
DiedSeptember 22, 1999(1999-09-22) (aged 63)
Colorado Springs, Colorado, US
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)James Allen (m. 1967, div. 1988), Elmer James Herbertson

Doris Jean Allen (May 26, 1936 in Kansas City, Missouri – September 22, 1999, Colorado Springs) was a politician from California. Allen served in the California Assembly from 1982 to 1995, representing part of Orange County, and as Speaker of that body from June 5 to September 14, 1995, before being recalled from office. Allen was the first woman to be elected to that office.


Before entering politics, Allen owned a successful household lighting store. An amateur actress, she played the title role in the musical "Mame" in productions by the Westminster Community Theater and Sebastian's West in the early 1970s.


On November 2, 1982, Allen won the election and became a member of California State Assembly for District 71. Allen defeated Chester B. Wray with 51.6% of the votes.[1][2]

Based in Huntington Beach,[3] She compiled a relatively conservative record with special attention to environmental protection for her coastal district. Republicans gained a one-vote majority in the House in 1995, threatening longtime Democratic Speaker Willie Brown's 15 year hold on power. At first, Brown persuaded moderate Republican turned Independent Paul Horcher to keep him in power.

Meanwhile, Allen was running in a special election for the State Senate. She became enraged when GOP party leaders endorsed fellow assemblyman (Ross Johnson) with a more conservative voting record than hers, who had moved into the district to run. Allen lost the election. When Horcher was recalled from office and replaced by a more loyal Republican, Speaker Brown convinced a still-angry Allen to vote with Democrats and become Speaker herself. However, Brown continued to lead the legislative body as head of the Democratic Caucus.

Allen's defection outraged her Republican colleagues, led by Curt Pringle, as well as her Republican constituents, who in November 1995 recalled her from office. Before her removal, Allen resigned as Speaker and handed the gavel over to another Republican who backed Brown, Brian Setencich. However, when Brown resigned his seat in the State Assembly to be sworn in as mayor of San Francisco, Setencich lost that vote, restoring the Republicans' majority electing Pringle as Speaker in January 1996. Setencich himself was defeated for reelection in that June's GOP primary.

Following her recall, Allen turned her back on politics and eventually moved away from California, though she did make one last quixotic bid for her old seat in 1998.

Personal life[edit]

On September 22, 1999, Allen died from cancer in Colorado Springs. Allen was 63 years old. [4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "November 2, 1982 General Election". November 2, 1982. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  2. ^ "Doris Allen". Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  3. ^ Schroeder takes aim at GOP 'turncoat,' prepares recall drive - The Orange County Register Retrieved 2016-12-24.
  4. ^ "Doris Allen, First Female Speaker, Dies : Obituary: O.C. political pioneer was a GOP pariah in final years. Cancer claims her at 63". Los Angeles Times. September 23, 1999. Retrieved May 1, 2021.(archive)

External links[edit]

California Assembly
Preceded by
Chester B. "Chet" Wray
California State Assemblymember
71st District
Succeeded by
Mickey Conroy
Preceded by
Mickey Conroy
California State Assemblymember
67th District
Succeeded by
Scott Baugh
Political offices
Preceded by
Willie Brown
Speaker of the California State Assembly
June 5, 1995–September 14, 1995
Succeeded by
Brian Setencich