LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS
Full Biography for Laurence Houlgate
Laurence ("Larry") Houlgate was born on February 19, 1938 in Pasadena, California. His mother was a homemaker who gave up a career as a dance band singer to marry his father, who owned and operated a small business selling and installing window screens and screen doors. It was an extension of a "fix-it" business begun by his grandfather in Pasadena in 1903. Another grandfather, a member of the Teamsters labor union, drove a moving van for 30 years. Larry's brother, Jack, is a retired Air Force colonel. His sister, Karen, has worked as an administrative assistant for over twenty years at a Lake Tahoe area ski resort..
Laurence and his wife, Torre Houlgate-West, were married in 1970. Their son, Joshua, is a Cal Poly social sciences graduate, currently trying out vocations. Torre is a writer, editor, volunteer non-profit organization administrator, and language tutor.
Larry has worked since he was a teenager, starting as grocery store box-boy when he was fifteen. At the same time, he helped his father in the screen business. John Houlgate passed on good work habits to Larry, who remembers his father's words: "If you have to force it, something's wrong." Though his father was talking about fix-it jobs, the advice has served Larry well. He always seeks to resolve conflict in a way that forces no one and is fair to all.
After high school, Larry worked various jobs to pay his way through college. Following stints as men's store clerk, and as a worker in a sawmill, Larry was a swimming coach and lifeguard for several years, working with youngsters, an occupation that helped prepare him for a teaching career.
Laurence Houlgate is a true product of the California public educational system. After graduating from high school and junior college in Pasadena, he received a B.A. degree from California State University, Los Angeles, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles. As a regular faculty member or visiting professor, he taught at several universities before joining the Cal Poly faculty in 1979. He is a professor of philosophy specializing in family law and ethics, and medical ethics, who has published three books and numerous essays on these topics.
Larry and Torre were founding members of the San Luis Obispo chapter of Amnesty International, the Nobel Peace prize organization working to free non-violent persons imprisoned because of their ethnicity, gender, political or religious beliefs. They also serve as key persons in Servas, an international organization of travelers and hosts organized to achieve world peace through mutual understanding of cultures. Larry is currently on the San Luis Obispo SOAR committee, which seeks to put more land use decisions in voters' hands. With his help, four hospitals in SLO county established medical ethics committees. Larry is currently serving on two of them.
While teaching at Cal State Fullerton in 1964, Larry was a charter member of the first faculty labor union organized in California. In recent years, he has served on the executive committee of the Cal Poly chapter of the California Faculty Association, affiliated with the American Federation of Labor.
Laurence registered as a Democrat and cast his first vote in 1960 for John F. Kennedy. He became politically active in 1967 when he chaired the Vietnam Moratorium committee, organizing non-violent peace marches of over 5,000 persons through the city of Santa Barbara. Soon after arriving in San Luis Obispo, he and Torre did Democratic precinct work in every election, and joined the county Democratic Central Committee in the 1980's. Torre and Larry were founders of a coalition of Democratic organizations that developed the support network for a permanent Democratic Headquarters in San Luis Obispo. Larry has worked on many local, state, and federal campaigns. In 1997 he and Torre were elected co-chairs of the SLO County Democratic Central Committee.
Laurence Houlgate is a man of great conviction regarding many political and social matters, who feels strongly that a good representative must listen to constituents. He also believes a representative must learn about issues and bring information back to voters.
The late Congressman Walter Capps endorsed the idea that in a democratic government, every citizen is qualified to represent the people. Larry Houlgate strongly agrees. He is firmly opposed to giving away the people's representation to those elected solely because of their wealth or because of the moneyed interests behind them. For this reason, campaign finance reform is one issue at the top of his political agenda.
Heading up his list of concerns also are education, children's welfare, healthcare, jobs that pay a living wage, clean air and water, safe streets, reproductive freedom, and social justice.
Position Paper 1
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