Making Herstory: Senator Ochoa Bogh Honors Barbara Riordan as the 23rd Senate District Woman of the Year 2023

Senator Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa) has honored Barbara Riordan as the 23rd Senate District’s Woman of the Year 2023. 

“Barbara Riordan is the embodiment of a full life of servant leadership and service to our state, region, and community. She is an exceptional woman whose humble and graceful demeanor, along with a keen intellect, exemplifies all that women can achieve.  I am honored to name her Woman of the Year for the 23rd Senate District.”

Riordan graduated from the University of Redlands in 1961 and went on to take graduate coursework at San Francisco State College and Stanford. She taught in the Redlands Unified District for four years, starting in 1963. She holds a Secondary Teaching Credential and a Lifetime Teaching Credential from the State of California.

In 1975, she became the Foreman of the San Bernardino County Grand Jury and then went on to membership on the San Bernardino County Civil Service Commission. She served as a City Council member in Redlands from 1978-82 and as a Field Representative for a San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors member from 1982-83. She was then elected as the third District Supervisor for the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors and served for the next 13 years and as Chairman from 1988-90. 

During that tenure, she also served as a member of the Local Agency Formation Commission, the San Bernardino County Air Pollution Control District Board, a member of the State Board of Control appointed by Governor Deukmejian, a member of the Corporate Fund for Housing, a board member with two stints as President of the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG), Chairman of the San Bernardino County Earthquake Preparedness Conference, a member of the Southern California Hazardous Waste Management Joint Powers Authority, Chair of the State Seismic Safety Commission, Chair of the San Bernardino County Growth Management Task Force and Chair of the San Bernardino County Regional Air Quality Element Committee, Commissioner of the State Board of Fire Services appointed by the Governor, Chair of the Countywide Homeless Coalition, Chair of the County Film Commission, and a member of the San Bernardino International Airport Authority.

Air Quality was a consistent theme of her work serving on the California Air Resources Board, appointed by three Governors for 21 years beginning in 1991. During that time, she also served as Chair from 1998-99. She continues to serve as a public member of the Board of Directors of the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District, which she has done since 1993. She served 15 years as a California Climate Action Registry Board member, appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger.

During the 1970s, her civic experience included:

  • The Assistance League of Redlands
  • The Chamber of Commerce
  • The Family Service Association
  • The Redlands Community Hospital
  • The Inland Empire Cultural FoundationAnd, serving as President for two years and serving on the Boards of United Way

As pioneer orange growers, her family motivated her membership in the California Women for Agriculture. In the early 2000s, she served on the Board of Directors of the National Orange Show. She currently serves on the board of the Redlands Community Foundation and has established her own Donor Advised Fund with that organization.

President Bush honored her in 1990 with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Award and in 1991 with the Outstanding Service Award by the Governor's Office of Emergency Services. In 1992, she was an Honoree for the Cavalcade of Women by the State Commission on the Status of Women.

The Woman of the Year award is given annually by each California legislator in their district, celebrates California’s extraordinary women. The first recognition was held in 1987 to help commemorate Women’s History Month. The award has become an annual Capitol tradition to salute women who have done outstanding community service.