City memorializes Luella Johnston, Sacramento’s first councilwoman

As the first woman elected to City Council in both Sacramento and California, Luella Johnston was a pioneer for women in politics during the early 1900s.

To recognize Johnston’s influence, the Sacramento City Council, led by Councilmember Angelique Ashby and researcher Nicolas Heidorn, on Oct. 16 renamed the Historic City Hall Hearing Room to the Luella Johnston Hearing Room.

“This incredible woman helped get women’s suffrage across the finish line in California,” said Councilmember Ashby. “But, she didn’t stop there. The very next year she ran for office saying, ‘not only do we want to vote, we want to be on council too,’ and she won in 1912.”

The renaming of the room will serve as a high-profile reminder of the first female Councilmember’s history and impact in Sacramento.

Before elected to City Council, Johnston was president of the Tuesday Club and the Woman’s Council. Both groups engaged in social and political issues in Sacramento to campaign for city improvements.

Johnston was elected to represent Sacramento in 1912, one year after the State of California granted women the right to vote. Her monumental achievement was nearly a decade before the 19th Amendment would allow women the right to vote nationally.