Ladies' Gallery - Legislators

Marigene Valiquette

 
Service
Ohio House of Representatives, 1962 - 1969
Lucas County

Ohio Senate, 1969 - 1986
Lucas County

Party
Democrat

Biography

Marigene Valiquette is the longest serving woman of the Ohio General Assembly, serving 24 consecutive years in the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate. When she ran for reelection to the Ohio House in 1964, she surprised many by leading a slate of ten candidates for Lucas County's five seats – all other candidates were men.

 

When she moved from the Ohio House to the Ohio Senate in 1969, the Cleveland Plain Dealer stated that Marigene Valiquette "will have both the seniority system and her sex to overcome before she can hope to exert even what comparatively little influence members of a minority party exert in the GOP-dominated upper chamber."

 

Valiquette was the only woman senator for most of her years in office. She did a more-than-adequate job of exerting influence in the Ohio Senate, even as a member of the then-minority party. She became chair of the Judiciary Committee in 1976, and later also chaired the Ethics Committee. In the early 1980s, when the Democrats held the majority, she was a ranking majority member on both the Finance and Rules committees.

 

Valiquette became a legislator who wielded much power in the Ohio Senate, "a legislator that could make things happen (or not happen)," according to a February 1980, Toledo Blade article. Her career in the legislature was focused on many issues of importance to women and laborers. She fought very hard for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in Ohio. Valiquette was content with her work in the Ohio Senate, declining a nomination to the Ohio Supreme Court and the opportunity to run for Congress.

 

She was an influential legislator and civic leader. She was involved with the Lucas County Democratic Executive Committee and the Democratic National Committee and Platform Committee. She was honored for her leadership by being named to the Women's Hall of Fame, as Outstanding Legislator of 1978 by the Ohio Trial Lawyer's Association, as recipient of the Headliner Award from Women in Communications, as ACLU of Ohio Foundation Award winner, as Ohio Commission on the Status of Women member, as recipient of the Humanitarian Award from Dynamic Leadership, Inc. and as Democratic Woman of the Year from the Federated Democratic Women of Ohio.

 

Biography courtesy of the Ohio Women's Policy and Research Commission