Institute for Elected Women: California

Institute for Elected Women


California capitol building

The Institute for Elected Women: California is the nation’s first non-partisan training and mentoring program for women newly elected to a state legislature, facilitated and taught exclusively by women members, both former and current, of that legislature. In 2009, under a contract with former California Assembly Speaker, now Congresswoman, Karen Bass, former State Assemblywoman Patty Berg designed the training and mentoring program for women elected to the California State Legislature in 2010.

Responding to research that shows that, until women comprise at least 40% of any elected body, newly elected women experience more challenges in successfully carrying out their legislative agendas, the Institute for Elected Women: California provides a comprehensive curriculum designed to furnish newly elected women with the tools they need to hit the ground running.

The Institute is co-facilitated by former California State Assemblywoman Patty Berg and former California State Senator Sheila Kuehl. It provides a four-day intensive and comprehensive training program, followed by a two-year program of mentoring in sixteen specific areas. The faculty for both the training sessions and the mentoring activities are 51 former and current women members of the California State Legislature.

The combination of the significant gender gap in state legislatures and the imposition of term limits in some states makes it important to ensure the success of new women members from the very beginning of their terms. Working in conjunction with our two national partners – the National Conference of State Legislatures Foundation and the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University - we intend to offer this model to other states who may desire to better prepare their elected women representatives to be effective leaders.

Corporate Sponsors

  • The Doctors Company
  • Anthem Blue Cross
  • Verizon
  • PG&E
  • California Assisted Living Centers
  • Comcast
  • Agri Business President’s Council
  • Sempra Energy
  • Waste Management & Affiliate Entities
  • WalMart
  • Edison International
  • AT&T
  • Personal Insurance Federation
  • State Farm Insurance
  • TVG Production Company
  • Kraft Foods
  • Farmers Insurance
  • Time Warner Cable
  • California Cable & Telecommunications Association
  • California Defense Counsel
  • Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians

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National Partners

NCSL Foundation for State Legislatures

The NCSL Foundation for State Legislatures offers opportunities for businesses, national associations and unions seeking to improve the state legislative process and enhance NCSL's services to all legislatures.

The Foundation is a nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation that raises money to support the objectives and special projects of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Its volunteer board of directors is composed of corporate and union executives as well as state legislative leaders and senior legislative staff.

The Foundation is dedicated to building public trust and confidence in representative democracy through public outreach and education, ethics in government and strengthening state legislatures. The Foundation supports the Trust for Representative Democracy, the Center for Ethics in Government and the Women's Legislative Network.

The Center for American Women and Politics

The Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is nationally recognized as the leading source of scholarly research and current data about American women’s political participation. Its mission is to promote greater knowledge and understanding about women's participation in politics and government and to enhance women's influence and leadership in public life.

CAWP’s education and outreach programs translate research findings into action, addressing women’s under-representation in political leadership with effective, imaginative programs serving a variety of audiences. As the world has watched Americans considering female candidates for the nation's highest offices, CAWP’s nearly four decades of analyzing and interpreting women’s participation in American politics have provided a foundation and context for the discussion.

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Course Outline

November 15 – 16, 2010 and January 11-13, 2011

Day 1 l Day 2 l Day 3 l Day 4

Day 1

  • How and Why the Course Came to Be
  • Activity of the Women’s Legislative Caucus
  • Schedule
  • Corporate Sponsors
  • Assignment of Mentors at Course End

Course Objectives – What We Plan to Cover: The What’s, Why’s and How’s to Being Successful in Sacramento Politics

Course Structure

  • Panels of Former/Current Members: Who Will be Participating
  • Questions/Discussion Format/Reflections on What You’ve Learned at the End of Each Session and Beginning of Each Day
  • Introduction from Panel Members

Self-Introductions of New Members

Women in Leadership: How Do We Score?

  • Worldwide
  • Nationally
  • California

What Women Bring into the Political Arena – Answers the Why Question

Prior to Engaging in the What’s and How’s to Being Successful in Sacramento Politics: Each Former/Current Member Will Respond to the Question: “If I Knew Then What I Know Now – What Would I Do Differently?

What It Means To Be Successful

  • Berg’s “What Makes for a Successful Legislator”
  • Berg’s “30 Rules to Live By”
  • Operational Code of Ethics

Panel 1: The ABCs of Being an Effective Legislator

Questions/Discussion and Reflections from Day 1

Day 2

Overview/ Introduction to Day 2

Introduction from Panel Members

The Balancing Act: Living in Sacramento and Living in my District

Panel 2: How I Balanced Work and Home Successfully. Scheduling my Time; Living Here – Living There; How Does One Have a Personal Life?

Finding a Home in Sacramento

  • What to Consider
  • Resources (both housing and furniture)

How To Be Successful

  • Getting Started

The Realities of Serving in a Term-Limited Environment (Focus)
What You Want in the Capitol
Sample Organizational Chart in the Capitol; Sample Job Descriptions; Sample Interview Questions and Reference Check Questions

Panel 3: How to Secure the Best Staff Within the Building – What You Need to Look For and the Necessary Steps to Take

  • Inside the Capitol

Panel 4: What is the Right Committee Mix and Why That is Important AND What Function Select Committees Can Play

Panel 5: The Sum of the Parts is Greater than the Whole – Working Successfully with Your Colleagues

Each Panel Member Responds to the Question: If I Knew Then What I Know Now – What Would I Do Differently?

Questions/Discussion and Reflections from Day 2

Day 3

Overview/Introduction of Day 3

Introduction from Panel Members

  • Continuation: Inside the Capitol

Panel 6: Building Relationships is the Key to a Successful Legislative Agenda – What that Means, What is Entailed

Panel 7: The Formula for a Successful Legislative Package – How to Minimize Frustration and Disappointment OR “The Art of Processing Legislation”

Panel 8: How and Why You Need to Contribute to the Success of Your Caucus


In the District

  • What You Want in the District
  • Staffing the District
  • Common Problems that Arise Between Capitol and District Offices
  • Ways to Mitigate Potential Problems

Each Panel Member Respond to the Question: If I Knew Then What I Know Now – What Would I Do Differently?

Questions/Discussion and Reflection from Day 3

Day 4

Overview/Introduction of Day 4

Introduction from Panel Members

Each Panel Member Respond to the Question: If I Knew Then What I Know Now – What Would I do Differently?

Burning Questions New Members Have with Responses from Panel Presenters

Inside the Beltway


Panel 9: Lobbyists: Relationships and Access Are Key


Engaging the Media and Enacting Positive Public Relation Strategies


Panel 10: Media and Public Relation Activities That Have Paid Off: PR Plan, Newsletters, Press Secretary, etc.


Resources Available to Members: National and State – How Do You Choose?

Panel 11: Resources I Found Valuable and Why


The Women’s Legislative Caucus

Afterthoughts: Additional Training I Would Find Helpful

Closing Remarks

Selection/Assignment of Mentors

Program Evaluation

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Dede Alpert

Dede Alpert represented the San Diego region in the California Legislature from 1991 to 2004, serving three terms in the Assembly and two in the State Senate.

She chaired the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Joint Committee on the Master Plan for Education. She chaired the Education Committee in both houses and was widely recognized as one of the Legislature’s foremost experts on public education. In 2004, the California Journal named her “Senator of the Year”.

She currently serves as a board member of Sharp Healthcare, Hubbs Sea World Research Institute, Gompers Preparatory Academy, the Girard Foundation and Price Charities. She is also a member of the San Diego Padres Community Board.

Prior to her election to the California State Legislature, Dede served on the Solana Beach School Board for seven years. She was also a court appointed special advocate for Voices for Children and was active with United Cerebral Palsy, PTA and the Girl Scouts.


Elaine Kontominas Alquist

Elaine Kontominas Alquist is now serving her second term in the California Senate representing the cities of San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Mountain View, and Gilroy and is the first Greek American woman elected to both houses of the California State Legislature.

She began her political career in 1983 as a member and then President of the Board of Education of the Cupertino Union School District and was elected to the State Assembly in 1996. As the first Chair of the Assembly Committee on Information Technology, she held extensive hearings that blew the whistle on the disastrous Statewide Automated Child Support System (SACSS), saving the taxpayers more than one hundred million dollars.

First elected to the State Senate in November 2004 and re-elected in 2008, Elaine sits on the five-member Senate Rules Committee. In addition, she is a member of the Senate Appropriations, Budget and Fiscal Review, Education, and Health Committees. She also serves on the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Health & Human Services.

As Chair of the Senate Health Committee, she made implementation of health care reform a top priority. She has authored legislation to provide health coverage for the hard-to-insure and establish a health care exchange, a “one-stop shop” where individuals and small businesses can buy insurance.

She created the first-in-the nation living kidney donor registry and has authored a number of bills to reduce deaths and injuries from preventable medical errors. A passionate advocate for the elderly and disabled, she authored landmark laws on nursing home safety and HMO reform.


Dion Aroner

Dion Aroner is a nationally recognized expert on the California state budget and issues concerning human services. From 1976 to 1996, she served as senior staff on the Assembly Human Services Committee, chaired by Assemblymember Tom Bates, her immediate predecessor in the Assembly.

In 1996, she was elected to the State Assembly and, as chair of the Human Services Committee, she was instrumental in negotiating and shaping California’s response to welfare reform. She is regarded as an undisputed expert on welfare reform, foster care and the state budget. While in the Assembly, she authored groundbreaking legislation across a panoply of human services issues and is called upon as the institutional memory on these issues. She continues to shape policy in these areas as she works with clients concerned with child care, transportation, juvenile justice and technology.

She is widely regarded as a problem solver, a person with a knack for bringing together wide varieties of individuals and organizations facing similar obstacles and helping to devise strategies for the mutual benefit of all parties.


Patty Berg

Patty Berg served in the State Assembly from 2002-2008 representing the First Assembly District, including Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Lake and Trinity Counties as well as parts of Sonoma County. She was widely recognized as the Legislature’s key expert on aging issues.

Patty chaired the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long Term Care, where she developed the nation’s first Master Plan and Policy Agenda for aging baby boomers. She also chaired the Budget Sub-Committee on Health and Human Services, and served on several health and environmental committees. A strong and vocal advocate for women’s issues, she chaired the Legislative Women’s Caucus, where she worked to develop their first working families agenda. During her six year tenure, she received fourteen Legislator of the Year Awards from various statewide organizations.

Prior to her election, Patty served as the founding Executive Director of the Area Agency on Aging for Humboldt and Del Norte Counties for almost twenty years. Her agency was nationally recognized, receiving the Administration on Aging’s highest award for developing the most comprehensive system of services for older adults in California.

In 2009 and 2010, she worked for Speaker Karen Bass on various projects to improve the professionalism and quality of the State Assembly, including restructuring the Assembly Orientation Program and developing the Institute for Elected Women: California, the new national model she is now overseeing.


Marian Bergeson

Marian Bergeson was elected to the California State Assembly in 1978 and the California State Senate in 1984, the first woman to serve in both houses of the California Legislature. She served as the Chair of the Senate Local Government Committee for ten years.

In 1990 Marian was the Republican nominee for Lt. Governor and, in 1995, was elected to the Orange County Board of Supervisors. She had a distinguished electoral career before being elected to the State Assembly, including serving as a member of the Newport Beach Elementary Board of Education, the Newport-Mesa Unified Board of Education and as President of the California School Board of Education.

After her service on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, she was appointed State Secretary for Child Development and Education and again to the State Board of Education. She has served on the Commission for the Study of Local Governance for the 21st Century, and the California Transportation Commission, which she chaired from 2006-7.

She has been awarded a number of honors including the naming of the Marian Bergeson Elementary School in Laguna Niguel, and the Marian Bergeson Aquatic Center in Corona del Mar. She was also given the University of California, Irvine’s highest honor.


Marilyn Brewer

Marilyn C. Brewer served in the California State Assembly from 1994 to 2000 representing southern Orange County. She served as Vice Chair of the Appropriations and Insurance Committees. She was also a member of the Rules, Human Services, Transportation, Governmental Organization, and Labor and Employment committees.

Prior to her election, she was co-founder of C. Brewer Company and founding chair of the Orange County Coalition of Comprehensive Mental Health Services and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the University of California, Irvine College of Medicine. From 1986 to the time of her election in 1994, she served as executive assistant to Orange County Supervisor Thomas F. Riley.

In October 2006, she was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger to serve as a member of the Little Hoover Commission, an oversight committee reporting on all aspects of California governance. She also served as a commissioner on the Orange County Transportation Authority.


Connie Conway

Connie Conway was elected to the California Assembly in 2008 and, in 2010, was the first woman elected as Republican leader in the State Assembly. As a freshman Assemblymember, she chaired the Rural Caucus, and sat as Vice Chair of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. She was appointed by former Speaker Karen Bass to the California Commission on Disability Access.

Prior to coming to the Legislature, Connie served as a Tulare County Supervisor for eight years, where she was Chair of the Board, and also served as chair of the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, an appointment she received from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The 28-member partnership, which includes state agency secretaries, elected officials and members of the private sector, works to improve the economy and quality of life by making policy recommendations to the governor.

Connie is a past state president of the Cities, Counties and Schools Partnership and in 2006, served as President of the California State Association of Counties. She also served as a director of the National Association of Counties, chaired its membership committee, and worked on its Economic Development Committee.

In 2007, the Tulare Chamber of Commerce honored her as Woman of the Year. Connie has served as a director for the California Public Employee Post Employment Benefits Commission; the Tulare County Employees' Retirement Association; the San Joaquin Valley Rail Committee; the California State Association of Counties' Excess Insurance Authority; and the California Elected Women's Association for Education and Research.


Lynn Daucher

Lynn Daucher served in the State Assembly from 2000-06 and served as the highest-ranking Republican on the Budget Sub-Committee on Education and Finance. She also served as Chair of the Aging Committee and the Select Committee on Olmstead Implementation, formed to keep seniors living independently rather than in institutions. 

In 2007, after she left the Assembly, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Lynn as Director of the California Department of Aging (CDA) where she served for over three years. During her tenure, Lynn served as Co-Chair of the Mobility Action Plan Project Advisory Committee in a collaboration with CalTrans to better link health and human service clients with the state’s transportation entities. Lynn also serves on the Board of Directors for the Archstone Foundation.

She began her career in public service after winning election to the school board for the Brea Olinda Unified School District, where she served for thirteen years and raised standards and built a new high school through an innovative public-private partnership without taxpayer dollars. 

In 1994, she was elected to the Brea City Council and served one year as Mayor. California’s school boards, administrators and superintendents have all honored Lynn for her strong leadership and commitment to improving California’s public education system.


Delaine Eastin

Delaine Eastin served as the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction for eight years from 1995 to 2003, the first and only woman elected to that position. In that position, Delaine managed more than 40% of the California budget and oversaw the education of 6.1 million children. She championed state standards and assessments aligned to standards, smaller class sizes in kindergarten through third grade, and the strengthening of arts education and hands-on science, including gardens in schools. She fought to rebuild California’s school libraries and to wire schools for technology. She was the architect of the innovative Net Days, copied nationally in more than 40 states and internationally in more than 40 countries. Delaine has been an advocate for substantial increases in school construction funding, improved school nutrition, universal preschool, full-day mandatory kindergarten, better career and technical education and greater civic engagement of students. She advocated a longer school year and more safety nets for children who fall behind.

Prior to serving as the State Superintendent, Delaine served 8 years in the California State Assembly and chaired the Assembly Education Committee. Following her tenure as State Superintendent, Delaine was the Executive Director of the National Institute for School Leadership and then a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Educational Leadership at Mills College in Oakland, California. An elementary school in Union City is named after her.


Carol Bentley Ellis

Carol Bentley Ellis was elected to the California State Assembly in 1988 representing a portion of San Diego County. During her first year in office she was chosen to serve as minority whip and was the lead Republican on the Public Safety Committee. In her second term, she was named Vice Chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee

Carol’s legislation focused on the criminal justice system and carried bills to reform the appeals process in death penalty cases and mandate longer sentence for rapists and those who had exposed children to drugs.

Carol was born and raised in Riverside and began managing political campaigns and doing volunteer work for the Republican Party. She joined the staff of Senator Jack Schrade and from 1978 to 1988 she was Chief of Staff to Senator Jim Ellis, whom she later married.

In 1990, the San Diego Judges’ Association named her legislator of the year. In 1993, Governor Pete Wilson appointed her to the Board of Prison Terms, where she was responsible for conducting hearings to determine if individual prisoners who had been sentenced to life in prison might be eligible for parole. She became a deputy commissioner, primarily conducting hearings on minors who had committed violations while on parole. She retired from the Board in 2005.


Martha Escutia

Martha Escutia served in the California State Assembly and the California State Senate from 1992 to 2006. She is a partner in the Los Angeles office of The Senators Firm, where her law and consulting practice focuses on government and regulatory matters, with a particular emphasis on telecommunications, education, and health-related issues.

Martha served on the Rules Committee as a freshman and was elected chair of the Freshman Caucus. She was the first woman to chair both the Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committees and the first woman to chair the Latino Legislative Caucus.

Martha is recognized for a number of legislative accomplishments, including the first legislation establishing strong school food nutrition and beverage standards, the Children’s Environmental Protection Act, and legislation establishing the first state Environmental Health Tracking Network. She led a multi-year effort to restructure the California judicial system by unifying the courts, transferring jurisdiction from the counties to the State, and developing a process to modernize, construct, and seismically retrofit the courts.

In her role as Chair of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, she led the negotiations to develop a fair and competitive market for the entry of telecommunications firms into the video/cable arena.

She is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2010 JFK Profiles in Courage Award by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party; and the 2007 Commitment to Justice Award by the Judicial Council.


Jean Fuller

Jean Fuller was elected to the California State Senate in 2010 after serving four years in the State Assembly. She is a member of the Rural Caucus, a bipartisan group of 43 Assemblymembers and Senators who provide a united voice in the state legislature for residents of rural communities. She served as Chair of the caucus during her first term in office. 

In the Assembly, Jean served as Vice-Chair of the Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee and a member of the State Allocation Board, the Assembly Agriculture Committee, the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee, and the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance. Her top legislative priorities are to expand career technical education programs for high school students, to improve California's business climate, and to reduce the tax burden on hard-working families.

Jean has been recognized statewide for her accomplishments. In 2009 she was included on the California Small Business Association’s honor roll and was named an Outstanding Legislator by the California State Sheriff’s Association. She also received the James S. Gilstrap Award for exemplary public service and civic contributions to Kern County by the Independent Oil Producer’s Agency, the 2009 Friends of California Community Colleges award and the 2007 California Women’s Leadership Association Marian Bergeson Trailblazer Award. 

Prior to her election to the Assembly, Jean served as Superintendent of the Bakersfield City School District and, earlier, as Superintendent and Principal of the Keppel Union School District in Pearblossom. She was named California Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators for the 2004-05 school year.

Cathleen Galgiani

Cathleen Galgiani was elected to the State Assembly in 2006. She Chairs the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, and the Select Committee on Development of a 10th University of California, Merced Campus. She is the Vice Chair of the Rural Caucus and serves on the Committee on Higher Education, the Governmental Organization Committee, and the Committee on Transportation as well as the Select Committee on Biotechnology, the Select Committee on Rail Transportation, the Select Committee on Schools and Community and the Select Committee on Workforce Development within the Developmentally Disabled Community.

Her legislative priorities include addressing the concerns over water now facing the agricultural community and the development of California’s high speed rail system. She was the author of legislation placing the High Speed Rail Bond on the California ballot.

Prior to being elected to office, Cathleen served as Chief of Staff for Assemblymember Barbara Matthews. She also served as the consultant to the Legislative Committee on the Development of UC Merced and worked for former State Senators Patrick Johnston and John Garamendi. She is a member of the Child Abuse Prevention Council Auxiliary of San Joaquin County.


Jackie Goldberg

Jackie Goldberg served in the California State Assembly from 2000 to 2006, where she was Chair of the Education Committee, and a member of the Budget Subcommittee on K-12 and higher education. She helped draft and ensure that the two most recent statewide school bonds would include $4 billion in Critically Overcrowded Schools’ funds; ensured that $1 billion for overcrowding would be included in a School Bond on the November 2006 ballot; and authored twelve pre-K-12 education-related bills that were signed into law. She is also widely known as the author of California’s comprehensive Domestic Partner Act.

Prior to her election to the Assembly, she was a member of the Los Angeles City Council, where she chaired the Personnel Committee and authored the Living Wage Ordinance for the city. She had also served on the Board of the Los Angeles Unified School District, where she worked on policies to increase reading achievement in middle and high schools; began three school-based health clinics; led the efforts to provide opportunities for School-Based Management; successfully built new schools and additions to begin to address multi-track and other overcrowding issues; successfully led the Board as President during the two of the most devastating budget years in LAUSD history and kept LAUSD out of bankruptcy; and developed policies that led the district to overcome a dramatic teacher shortage.

She is currently Faculty Adviser to the UCLA TEACH/Compton—a program that recruits graduate students to prepare to teach in Compton Unified’s middle schools.


Loni Hancock

Loni Hancock has spent nearly four decades as a forceful advocate for open government, educational reform, environmental protection, economic development, and social justice.  Prior to her election to the California State Senate in 2008, she served three terms in the California State Assembly. She was the first woman to be elected mayor of the City of Berkeley, served as Executive Director of the Shalan Foundation, and served in both the Carter and Clinton Administrations.

Loni currently chairs the Public Safety Committee and the Budget Sub-Committee on Corrections. She previously served as the chair of the Senate Elections, Reapportionment and Constitutional Amendments Committee.

As an Assemblymember, she authored the California Clean Money and Fair Elections Act, which established a pilot project to make public financing available to candidates for Secretary of State so they can run for election without soliciting money from special interests.

As Chair of the Committee on Natural Resources in the Assembly, she led efforts to pass legislation protecting open space, expanding recycling, and promoting healthy city-infill strategies.  Loni has also authored legislation that greatly expands hands-on career education for high school students.

As a member of the Berkeley City Council, she successfully worked to preserve the Berkeley Marina from development and create the East Shore State Park.


Bev Hansen

Bev Hansen served in the State Assembly from 1986 to 1992. Bringing a diverse background in business, education, government, and public service to her Assembly work, Bev served in a variety of leadership positions, including Republican Caucus Chair, Assembly Rural Caucus Chair, Assembly Republican Liaison to both Governor Deukmejian and Governor Wilson, Vice-Chair of the Assembly Committee on Transportation, Vice-Chair of the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long Term Care, Chair of the Assembly Task Force on Worker's Compensation Reform, and member of the Ways and Means, Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Local Government Committees.

She was selected as Legislator of the Year by such diverse groups as the American Legion, the Sonoma County Manufacturing Group, the California Governor's Committee for Employment of Disabled Persons, and the California Business Properties Association.

She retired from the State Assembly in 1992 to pursue business opportunities in the private sector, including eight years experience in the real estate and community planning professions. She also served as Administrative Assistant to Senator Jim Nielsen, as well as being elected trustee to a local school board. She has served as Vice President and President of the California Elected Women's Association for Education and Research.

She is currently a partner in the lobbying firm of Lang, Hansen, O’Malley and Miller.


Shirley Horton

Shirley Horton served in the California State Assembly from 2002 through 2008. She was Vice Chair of the Higher Education Committee, Vice Chair of the Business and Professions Committee, and a member of the Transportation and Labor Committees. In 2003, she was the first freshman legislator to be named “Legislator of the Year” by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. She has also been named “Legislator of the Year” twice by the American Electronics Association, and twice by the State Sheriff’s Association.

Prior to her election to the Assembly, she served six years on the Chula Vista Planning Commission, and was appointed to the Chula Vista City Council in 1991.   As a councilwoman and a planning commissioner she worked on the housing element for the update to the city’s general plan. She introduced the recommendation that was adopted by the city to create a high-tech/bio-tech zone. She was also involved in creating an incubator for startup environmental technology companies.

In 1994, Shirley was elected Mayor of Chula Vista. In that position, she increased the number of police on the streets, improved local roads and public transportation to ease traffic, and worked with local schools to improve education.

In 2009, she was hired as the President of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, heading up a 325-member business and civic advocacy organization that also has oversight of Downtown San Diego Business Improvement District and their Clean & Safe Program.


Tricia Hunter

Tricia Hunter was elected to the California Assembly in 1989, and served as Vice Chair and Lead Republican of the Education Committee, the Committee on Health and the Committee on Human Services. She also served on the Housing Committee, Subcommittee on Minority Status, the Select Committee on Mental Health Research and the Revenue and Taxation Committee. During her four years of service in the Assembly, she helped craft laws on Medicaid and nursing practice, and legislation that served as the state’s initiation into healthcare reform.

She was a practicing registered nurse, new to California, when legislation was proposed to eliminate licensing requirements for nurses. Successfully fighting that legislation was Tricia’s segue into politics. Through her membership in the California chapter of the American Nurses Association, she was appointed to the state’s Board of Registered Nursing, where for eight years she worked on policy issues. She left her work as director of surgery in a new heart program in a San Diego hospital and ran for office.

Tricia is currently the Executive Director of the American Nurses Association/Ca. She is co-owner, with another nurse, of Government Relations Group, Inc., a healthcare consulting firm in Sacramento. Following her two terms in the Assembly, she was an appointee of the Governor’s to the California Medical Assistance Commission, and served twice as an appointee of the Governor on the Board of Registered Nursing, including two years as President. While on the Board of Registered Nursing, Tricia chaired the Education, Administrative and Legislative Committees. Tricia's experience at the executive level of state government also includes serving as a Special Assistant to the Governor in the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.

Hannah-Beth Jackson

Hannah-Beth Jackson served in the California State Assembly from 1998-2004, representing the 35th District, including portions of Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.   She was widely regarded as one the Legislature’s leaders on environmental protection, women’s rights and civil liberties, having authored over 60 bills signed by both Democratic and Republican Governors.

She currently serves as Co-Founder and President of two non-profit organizations committed to advancing a positive and responsible dialogue in California’s challenging political climate. The first, Renew California, is a think tank focused on identifying and articulating issues through a progressive perspective. The other, Speak Out California, is a well-respected internet site designed to generate public participation in advancing creative and effective solutions to the problems facing California’s future.

In addition, she hosts a regular radio program on progressive talk radio, Hannah-Beth On-The-Air in which she interviews key local and national leaders on the important issues of the day in order to insure the progressive perspective on the economy, environment, education, health-care, consumer protections and social justice and equality are heard and considered as part of the important debate of our times.

Hannah-Beth practiced law in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties for 22 years before running for the State Assembly.


Betty Karnette

Betty Karnette served in the California State Assembly from 1992-94 and 2005-2008 and the State Senate from 1996-2004. In the Assembly, she served as Vice- Chair of Labor and Employment and as Chair of the Select Committee on California Ports. In the Senate she chaired the Elections and Reapportionment and Transportation Committees, and sat on the Rules, Appropriations and Education Committees. She was known for her keen understanding of transportation issues and carried a number of successful pieces of legislation in that area, as well as those affecting women and their children, incarcerated women and the arts and media industries.

As a representative for the California Legislature she also chaired the Transportation Committee for the National Conference of State Legislators for one term and served on the Executive Committee for NCSL for four years.

Prior to her election, she was an active member of her local community. She taught for 31 years and served on various boards that serve at-risk youth, local non-profits, under-served community members, and educational endeavors as well as local, state, and national art groups.


Christine Kehoe

Christine Kehoe was elected to the California State Senate in 2004, after serving two terms in the State Assembly. She presided over the day to day business of the Assembly as Speaker Pro Tempore. She currently chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Legislative LGBT Caucus, and is a member of the Banking and Financial Institutions, Environmental Quality, Natural Resources and Water, Transportation and Housing, Joint Committees on the Arts, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Rules, and Legislative Budget Committees.

She has legislated extensively in the areas of good government and energy policy. In the time of California’s energy crisis, she brought legislation to increase energy supplies and fight higher energy prices, as part of a legislative effort to create an aggressive conservation effort.

In the Senate, Chris is an established environmental leader. In 2006, she authored a critically important redevelopment reform bill. Following the 2007 wildfires in Southern California, she drafted a handful of bills to protect homeowners, compensate local governments for their wildfire fighting costs, and prevent the spread of future blazes. She also steered legislation into law that reforms the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, strengthens the San Diego River Conservancy, and protects open space in the City of San Diego.

From 1993 to 2000 she was on the San Diego City Council representing San Diego’s Third District. Christine also served on the California Coastal Commission from 1997 to 2000.


Sheila James Kuehl

Sheila James Kuehl served eight years in the State Senate and six years in the State Assembly. During the 1997-98 legislative session, she was the first woman in California history to be named Speaker pro Tempore of the Assembly. She is also the first openly gay or lesbian person to be elected to the California Legislature.

She was the chair of the Senate Health Committee, chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Water, Energy and Transportation, Speaker pro Tempore of the Assembly and Chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

In her fourteen years in the State Legislature, she authored 171 bills that were signed into law, including legislation to establish paid family leave, establish the rights contained in Roe vs. Wade in California statute, overhaul California’s child support services system; establish nurse to patient ratios in every hospital; require that housing developments of more than 500 units have identified sources of water; further protect domestic violence victims and their children; and prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender and disability in the workplace and sexual orientation in education. Beginning in 2003, she led the fight in the legislature to achieve universal health care in California.

She is currently the Founding Director of the Public Policy Institute at Santa Monica College.


Lynne C. Leach

Lynne C. Leach served in the California State Assembly from 1996 to 2002, where her priorities were to make California more business-friendly; return the state's schools to their excellent status, address the transportation challenges of the Bay Area and provide tax relief.

She served as Chair of the Assembly Republican Caucus in her first term and as Vice Chair of the Assembly Education Committee in her second and third terms. She also served on the Transportation, Insurance, Business and Professions, Jobs and Economic Development, Aging and Long Term Care, Joint Legislative Audit and the Master Plan for California Education (Kindergarten through Higher Education) committees.

From 1988 to 1996, Lynne was actively involved in the Contra Costa Republican Party, and she served as its chairwoman from 1991-1995. During her tenure, she introduced an annual candidate training program.

After leaving the Legislature she ran for State Schools Superintendent and, in 2003, launched Lynne Leach Presents, offering informative, inspirational speeches and practical, common sense programs on sales – customer service, communications and leadership to the business and political communities.


Carol Liu

Carol Liu is the State Senator for a district which includes Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, portions of the City of Los Angeles, and other surrounding cities and communities. She is currently chair of the Senate Human Services Committee.

Before her election to the Senate, she served three terms in the State Assembly, where she chaired the Higher Education Committee, the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus, and the Women’s Legislative Caucus. She was named Legislator of the Year by several organizations including the California State Student Association; the California Industrial Technology Education Association (CITEA); the National Organization for Women; and the Los Angeles Police Protective League.

Her legislative accomplishments include bills to reinvigorate career and technical education programs at the high school level, lower the costs of college textbooks, protect foster children, prevent domestic violence, and strengthen criteria for conservators named to administer the affairs of incapacitated individuals.

In the Senate, Carol was the author of the Crime Victims with Disabilities Act of 2010. Passed unanimously by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the bill assures that abuse and neglect of people with disabilities and elders are treated as crimes.

Prior to her election, she served as a PTA President and as President of the Pasadena City College Foundation Board, and, in 1992 she was elected to the La Cañada Flintridge City Council. She served on the Council for eight years, including two terms as Mayor.


Fiona Ma

Fiona Ma was elected to the State Assembly in 2006, representing San Francisco, Daly City, Colma and Broadmoor. She was appointed Majority Whip, and, in 2010, was appointed Speaker pro Tempore of the Assembly, the presiding officer of the house. She also serves on the Agriculture, Business and Professions, Governmental Organization, Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security, and Utilities and Commerce committees.

She has authored legislation to protect young children from dangerous chemicals, help California’s working families pay the bills, prevent the spread of Hepatitis B, increase access to quality healthcare, and provide equal rights for all Californians. Assembly Bill 1108 was a first in the nation law that banned the use of toxic chemicals, known as phthalates, in baby products.   Her bill was later used as a model in Federal legislation that went into effect in February, 2009. She has also been a strong advocate for better neighborhoods, authoring laws to combat graffiti, recycling theft and disabled placard abuse.

As a joint author of Proposition 1-A, which was approved by voters in November, 2008, and the convener of the High Speed Rail Caucus, Assemblywoman Ma is also the legislature’s leading advocate to bring high speed rail to California.

She is an Executive Board Member of the National Conference of State Legislators, and a former elected member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.


Kerry Mazzoni

Kerry Mazzoni served 6 years in the California State Legislature, and chaired the Assembly Education Committee and the National Conference of State Legislators Education Committee. Her accomplishments in the field of education are numerous including the Kindergarten-University Public Education Bond Act of 1998, the current statewide accountability and assessment systems, and professional development programs for teachers. She was also a member of the Assembly Health, Transportation, Banking and Finance, Utilities and Commerce, and Housing and Community Development Committees.

She authored legislation dealing with environmental preservation, services for seniors, transportation and safety, HIV prevention and breast cancer research.

Following her service in the Assembly, Kerry was appointed Secretary of Education by former Governor Gray Davis, where she was a leading reformer of California’s education system and is still considered one of the state’s foremost experts on education policy. Over the course of her career, Kerry also developed considerable public policy expertise in health care, the environment, transportation, energy, banking and finance, and housing and community development. She remains active on a number of boards and foundations in the San Francisco Bay Area.

She now works with Government Strategies, Inc., after founding Mazzoni and Associates, Inc., a firm that provided a variety of clients with public policy and political consulting services.


Carole Migden

Carole Migden served in the California State Senate from 2004-2008 representing San Francisco and the North Bay. She was Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus, and chaired the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senate Public Safety Committee and the Senate Labor Committee. She authored legislation to require cosmetics companies to disclose cancer-causing agents in their products; make foster care systems more accountable to the public; increase the state’s focus on vocational education; and provide mental health assessments for young people in the state’s juvenile justice system. She secured over $30 million for wildlife, transportation and education programs in San Francisco and Marin.

From 2002 to 2004, she served as Chair of the California State Board of Equalization, where she worked to modernize the state’s outdated tax system; strengthen domestic partners’ property rights; and protect California’s open space.

From 1996 to 2002, she was a member of the California State Assembly, where she chaired the Assembly Committee on Appropriations, the first woman, first lesbian, and first freshman legislator to chair this committee. She served for four years as a conferee on the State Budget Conference Committee. In the Assembly, she authored legislation to create California’s landmark domestic partner registry, promoted children’s health, preserved the old growth Headwaters Forest, increased K–12 school accountability, protected borrowers from predatory lending practices, protected consumers from manipulation by energy generators, and promoted the use of emergency contraception.


Sunny Mojonnier

Sunny Mojonnier served in the California State Assembly from 1982 to 1990, representing San Diego’s 55 miles of coastline from the Mexican border north to Carlsbad. She served on the Rules, Judiciary, Ways & Means, Government Organizations, Education, and Labor committees, as well as several sub-committees.

In the legislature, her focus was primarily on children’s issues. She authored the bill allowing the use of closed circuit television testimony, so that a young child could testify from a side room.  Sunny worked with the Deukmejian Administration to completely revise the delivery of mental health services. She also authored the Medical Waste Hazardous Materials Act, which has since served as a national model, as well as many other substantial pieces of legislation.

In 1992 she was appointed as a Commissioner on the California Medical Assistance Commission, overseeing and voting on negotiations between the State of California and the hospital providers of Medi-Cal services, assuring quality health care while providing savings to the taxpayers.  She is presently working as a program analyst for the Tribal TANF Unit of the California Department of Social Services, working with Sovereign Indian Tribes that provide TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) services to their members.

Sunny is the founder and served as President for five years, of Capitol Network. She was also a founder and board member of the California State Games. Sunny serves on the Board of Directors and was a founding member of the Technology Training Foundation of America.


Gwen Moore

Gwen Moore was a member of the California Assembly for 16 years.   During her tenure, she had over 400 bills signed into law, served as Majority Whip and Chair of the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee which had jurisdiction over the California cable television industry, emerging business enterprises, international trade and tourism, California ports, trucking issues, rail and rail safety and all investor-owned utilities including water, telecommunications, and energy.

During her tenure in office, she was a member of virtually every Assembly committee: Revenue and Taxation, Finance and Insurance, Education, Governmental Organization, and Higher Education, Public Employees and Retirement, Health, Public Safety, Government Efficiency and Consumer Affairs, and Housing. Gwen developed legislative and political strategies on a variety of issues such as diversity in procurement, taxation and international trade, consumer affairs, and business and labor issues.

She was active with the National Conference of State Legislatures, serving as both Chair of the State-Federal Assembly and the Assembly on the Legislature. Gwen also chaired the NCSL National Committee on Telecommunications and Transportation and served as chair of the National Trade Association of State Legislators.

As Founder and Chief Executive Officer of GeM Communications Group, Gwen is the primary consultant, working with clients to develop and implement public affairs, legislative strategies and community outreach programs. Gwen was an active member of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, serving on the National Executive Board and as Chair of the Western Region.   Currently she serves as Chair of Women Building for the Future Political Action Committee, The Future PAC, which raises money for political candidates focusing on African American women.


Deborah Ortiz

Deborah Ortiz served in the California State Senate from 1998 to 2004 after serving in the California Assembly. In total, she served over 14 years as an elected official on the Sacramento City Council and in the state legislature, and was Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee for an unprecedented six years.

Deborah authored legislation to create the California Department of Public Health, created the state’s landmark Cal Grants program, and established the first state biomonitoring program in the nation that measures environmental exposures. She also authored legislation prohibiting the sale of sodas in public schools and banning tobacco products that appeal to children.

She was a leader in the area of reproductive health, creating legislation that prohibits pharmacists from denying women access to emergency contraception, and California’s F.A.C.E. Act that protects patients, staff and volunteers from violence and harassment while obtaining legally protected reproductive health services. She authored the first law in the nation to authorize embryonic stem cell research. An outspoken advocate for those facing catastrophic illness, she created the Women’s Gynecological and Cancer Information Program and wrote legislation directing millions of dollars into ovarian, breast and prostate cancer research and awareness programs.

Deborah is the only Latina ever elected to the Sacramento City Council and the only woman elected to the 9th Assembly District and 6th Senate District.

Sharon Runner

Sharon Runner is a member of the California State Senate and was a member of the Assembly. Her primary focus in the legislature has been public safety, education, and children’s issues, including foster care and adoption. She served on the Veteran’s Committee; the Housing Committee; Select Committees dealing with Foster Care; the Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse; as well as the Task Force on the Environment, Energy, and the Economy. She was also Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee and a member of the Budget Committee and Budget Subcommittee on Education.

In her first term, Sharon was appointed as Assistant Republican Leader by former Republican Leader and current Congressman Kevin McCarthy. She was an integral part of several major policy decisions in this capacity and worked closely with her leadership team, the Governor’s Office, and business leaders to successfully reform California’s workers’ compensation system by reducing rates and bringing insurers back to California.

Sharon was the author of California’s Proposition 83, or Jessica’s Law, which passed with 70 percent voter approval and created the nation’s toughest sex predator laws. She is the co-founder of the Desert Christian Schools.

After leaving the Assembly in 2008, Sharon served as President of California Women Lead, a bi-partisan organization that encourages and empowers women running for public office.


Jackie Speier

Jackie Speier currently serves in Congress, representing a district encompassing the southwest quarter of San Francisco and most of adjacent San Mateo County. She was elected to Congress in April of 2008 after serving for eighteen years in the California Legislature, where she authored more than 300 bills that were signed into law by both Democratic and Republican governors. She was known for her emphasis on protecting the privacy and other rights of consumers and for her work to expand commuter rail and other forms of public transportation. She was and is a strong supporter of women’s rights.

She serves on three committees in the House of Representatives: the Committee on Financial Services, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. Jackie has introduced a wide range of legislation, covering issues as diverse as regulating credit rating agencies, prevention and better treatment of MRSA (staph) infections in hospitals, establishing a national usury rate to limit how much interest banks and other institutions can charge, and changing the way Congress allocates money by reining in the use of congressional earmarks.

Before her election to the state legislature, she served six years on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and worked as Legislative Counsel to Congressman Leo J. Ryan.


Lois Wolk

Lois Wolk is a California State Senator, representing parts of Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, and Yolo Counties. She chairs the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over revenue and taxation matters as well as local government, and is tasked with emerging issues of government reform. She is a member of the Senate Committees on Appropriations; Food and Agriculture; Natural Resources and Water; and Transportation and Housing. She also chairs the Select Committee on Delta Stewardship and Sustainability, and serves on Select Committees on Autism (ASD) & Related Disorders; Biotechnology; Delta Conservation, Conveyance, and Governance; and State School Facilities.

During her first term in the Senate, Lois authored a measure to provide tax relief to California homeowners engaged in short sales or loan modifications. She also authored legislation to extend a cost-sharing program that helps many local levee agencies afford necessary maintenance and improvements to levees that protect lives, farmland, and drinking water in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

From 2002 to 2008, she served in the State Assembly and was the first woman to head the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee. In the Assembly, she led efforts to craft a package of legislation to strengthen flood protection in California’s Central Valley and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region, authoring two bills in the package to protect Californians from flood risk.

She authored legislation to require banks and other financial institutions to report elder financial abuse to law enforcement, improve safety on a treacherous stretch of State Highway Route 12, and help ensure the long-term stability of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. 

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Mentoring Subject Areas

  • Political/Legislative Strategy
  • Policy Making/Sound Public Policy
  • Budget
  • Being an Effective Committee Chair/Vice Chair
  • Being an Effective Committee Member
  • Negotiation Skills
  • Managing/Resolving Conflicts
  • Working with the Senate/Administration
  • Working with Regulatory Agencies
  • Building a Successful Legislative Staff
  • Capitol/District Staff Cooperation
  • Building Positive Constituent Services
  • Managing Time
  • Fundraising
  • Public Speaking/Communication
  • Public Relations/Media 

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  • Honorable Dede Alpert
  • Honorable Dion Aroner
  • Honorable Valerie Brown
  • Honorable Lynn Daucher
  • Honorable Delaine Eastin
  • Honorable Carol Bentley Ellis
  • Honorable Martha Escutia
  • Honorable Jackie Goldberg
  • Honorable Bev Hansen
  • Honorable Shirley Horton
  • Honorable Tricia Hunter
  • Honorable Hannah Beth Jackson
  • Honorable Betty Karnette
  • Honorable Lynne Leach
  • Honorable Virginia Strom Martin
  • Honorable Barbara Matthews
  • Honorable Kerry Mazzoni
  • Honorable Carole Migden
  • Honorable Sunny Mojonnier
  • Honorable Cindy Montanez
  • Honorable Gwen Moore
  • Honorable Deborah Ortiz
  • Honorable Sarah Reyes
  • Honorable Sharon Runner
  • Honorable Lori Saldana
  • Honorable Jackie Speier
  • Honorable Sally Tanner
  • Honorable Helen Thomson

The mentoring program is overseen by the Honorable Patty Berg and the Honorable Sheila Kuehl.

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