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Jane Harman

Using the slogan, “This woman will clean House,” Jane Harman won the first of her nine terms as a congresswoman before becoming the first woman president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Harman graduated from Smith in 1966 and earned a law degree from Harvard in 1969 before entering politics as chief council and staff director for two congressional subcommittees as well as deputy secretary to President Carter’s cabinet. In the 1980s, she held significant positions within the Democratic National Committee. In 1992, she ran for Congress as a Democrat and won despite redistricting that made her Los Angeles district more conservative, eventually serving from 1993–1999 and from 2000–2011, with a brief hiatus to run an unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign. During her time in Congress, she served on the House National Security Committee; the Science, Space, and Technology Committee; and the Intelligence Committee, among others. She supported education, aid to Israel, and the rights of women, and opposed the Defense of Marriage Act. After 9/11, she cosponsored the Homeland Security Act. In 2011, she stepped down to run the Woodrow Wilson Center, and served on the CIA External Advisory Board from 2011–2013.


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Jane Harman.
Courtesy of Congresswoman Jane Harman.
Date of Birth

New York, NY
United States

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jane Harman." (Viewed on June 6, 2020) <>.


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