Junior Senator from California
The Politico recently reported that a renewed wave of bipartisan cooperation has swept through the Senate – the same Senate marred by perceived ineptitude, paralysis, and an 11 percent approval rate. In addition to ninety-six senators voting in favor of the most-far reaching congressional ethics bill in years, the Senate recently approved long-term funding bills for the Federal Aviation Administration, and highways and bridges.
Senator Barbara Boxer, our Member of the Week, hailed her GOP counterpart, Senator Jim Inhofe as a “hero” for helping pass the $109 billion package.
Born in Brooklyn, New York on November 11, 1940, Barbara Levy Boxer was raised by Jewish parents of Austrian descent. She graduated from George W. Wingate High School in 1958 and from Brooklyn College with a degree in Economics in 1962.
After finishing college, Boxer worked as a stockbroker before moving with her husband to Greenbrae, Marin County, California. There she ran for office in 1972, challenging incumbent Peter Arrigoni, a member of the Marin County Board of Supervisors, only to lose in a close election. In the four years leading up to her election to the Marin County Board of Supervisors, Boxer worked as a journalist for the Pacific Sun and as an aide to John Burton, then a member of Congress. She would serve six years on the Board of Supervisors, becoming the Board’s first woman president in the process.
Off the back of her time as president of the Marin County Board of Supervisors, Boxer was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1982. Running on the slogan “Barbara Boxer Gives a Damn”, she defeated Dennis McQuaid with 52.3 percent of the vote. The 1992 House banking scandal, which revealed that more than 450 Congressional Representatives and aides wrote overdraft checks covered by overdraft protection by the House Bank, marred her time in the House of Representatives. Ultimately, she wrote a $15 check to the Deficit Reduction Fund for each of her 87 overdrafts.
1992 also saw Boxer’s ascension to the Senate, after winning the Senate election for the open seat vacated by Alan Cranston, who retired that year. Her initial election to the Senate was tight – the margin of victory of 4.9 percent. Boxer’s subsequent reelections were a bit more comfortable, averaging a 10 percent victory in each.
Aside from following the traditional leanings of her Democratic colleagues, Boxer maintains a strong stance in support of reproductive rights and the pro-choice movement – she authored the Freedom of Choice Act of 2004 and participated in the floor fight for passage of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrance Act. She also has a near perfect rating with the Human Rights Campaign. In 1996, she was one of fourteen Senators to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act and she openly opposed Proposition 8 in California.