Today's announcement that Barbara Boxer will not seek re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2016 is bittersweet for me and for her legion of supporters in California.
I've known Barbara for over forty years. Barbara walked into my life as a more-than-capable volunteer for my first Congressional campaign. Her skills, drive and desire to fight the good fight led me to offer her a job running my district office in Marin County. It would be Barbara's first political job but as we all know, it proved to be far from her last.
She is every bit the tireless advocate for just and liberal causes today than she was back then. As Californians, we have all benefitted from Barbara's tenacity and commitment to the issues that make a difference in our lives.
During her time in office, Barbara:
- Protected more than 1 million acres of federal public land in California as wilderness.
- Successfully passed the first-ever specific authorization for after-school programs.
- Led the effort to stop unethical human pesticide testing.
- Extended essential foster care services to young people between 18 and 21 in 2008.
- Increased international AIDS funding by $30 million.
- Authored a provision that prioritized cleanup of Brownfield sites affecting children and vulnerable populations.
- Fought to raise federal loan limits for mortgage assistance programs and expand refinancing opportunities to help California homeowners.
- Helped secure more than $370 million for the San Francisco Airport BART extension.
- Opened doors and expanded opportunities for women, people of color, LGBTQ and disabled people in public service.
Her accomplishments stretch far beyond the ones mentioned above.
I'm proud to call Barbara a friend. She's an advocate for California and will forever be a champion of causes worth fighting for.
As difficult as it is to imagine California without Barbara Boxer looking out for us in the U.S. Senate, we're confident California Democrats will have plenty to choose from when it comes to electing their next U.S. Senator.
All the best to Barbara, her husband Stewart, their children and grandchildren.