Although the news may have been bleak elsewhere in America last night, it was a great night in California! Together we passed Proposition 47 to reform public safety and prison spending, and defeated Proposition 46 that could have increased health care costs and reduced access to care for our people. Up and down the ballot, we re-elected great public servants like Governor Brown and Lt. Governor Newsom, Attorney General Kamala Harris, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, Board of Equalization Chair Jerome Horton, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. Familiar faces were chosen to new positions, like Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Controller Betty Yee, Rep. Ted Lieu (33rd District), LA County Assessor Jeffrey Prang, and LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell. And finally, I have the pleasure of welcoming Sheila Kuehl to the LA County Board of Supervisors.
Sheila Kuehl is eminently well-qualified to represent the 3rd district. Her background as a child star is intriguing. After leaving acting, she went on to renown at Harvard Law School. She then came back to Los Angeles to work in municipal law, and become a law professor. Kuehl co-founded the California Women's Law Center to promote fairness in gender issues and give back to her community.
Sheila then moved into legislative public service, elected to the State Assembly in 1994 serving as the first openly gay person in the California legislature and a founding member of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus. She broke more records as the first woman to serve as Speaker pro tempore during the 1997-98 legislative session.
Although our paths didn't cross in the State Assembly, she was elected to the State Senate in 2000 and we did serve together there later. She broke more records as the first openly gay person elected to the Senate, and authored historic bills like the Senate Bill 1234, a hate crimes bill that became law, and SB 840, single payer health care legislation that was unfortunately vetoed twice by Schwarzenegger.
Sheila is inspirational, and I look forward to seeing what she inspires in the Board of Supervisors next year!