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California State Government June 6, 2006 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for Liz Figueroa

Candidate for
Lieutenant Governor; Democratic Party

This information is provided by the candidate

Biography State Senator Liz Figueroa (D-Fremont) has a long history of overcoming adversity in the service of others. The importance of helping others in order to build a better future is a lesson she learned from her parents, who themselves immigrated from El Salvador to give their children brighter opportunities. As a young woman, she started a small business that specialized in helping injured workers find jobs. Herself a fluent Spanish speaker, she saw at an early age that many Latinos were disengaged in California's political process, so she decided to become a role model. In 1994, she was elected to the State Assembly, becoming the first Latina from Northern California ever elected to the State Legislature, and she is now attempting to overcome one more hurdle to become the first Latina ever elected to statewide office.

During her time in the State Legislature, Senator Figueroa has always stood up for the interests of regular Californians, and has been a powerful advocate for women and children. Working with then-Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa, she helped create the Healthy Families Program, which has provided health care to more than 500,000 children. Later, she fought the insurance industry and wrote the landmark law that gave patients the right to sue negligent HMO's. Perhaps Senator Figueroa's most popular legislation created the "Do Not Call List," which enabled Californians to block telemarketing calls and prompted the Bush Administration to follow her lead with a national "Do Not Call" program.

Senator Figueroa also recognizes the importance of protecting our environment, and has worked hard to make our communities safer. For her efforts, she received the 2003 Coastal Guardian Award from Vote the Coast, and she consistently has received high marks from the California League of Conservation Voters.

Senator Figueroa knows that California's future is tied to the strength of its workers. That is why she has always defended workers' rights and stood behind labor unions. During the course of her career, Senator Figueroa has received a 98% voting rating from the California AFL-CIO.

Throughout her years in the legislature, Senator Figueroa has always emphasized the importance of reaching out and listening to all Californians. She put her principle of listening to hardworking Californians into action when she met a local woman whose personal story led to an important new law to help defend women's rights against the interests of powerful HMO's. That woman was a teacher in Senator Figueroa's district who was discharged by her hospital less than one day after mastectomy surgery. Her story prompted Senator Figueroa to write a new law requiring at least a 48-hour hospital stay after such surgeries, which gained national attention against the practice of HMO's allowing "drive-through mastectomies." She has also defended a woman's right to choose and has earned a 100% Pro-Choice voting rating from the Planned Parenthood of California.

Though Senator Figueroa is proud of her accomplishments, she knows that more must be done to build the California she envisions for her children and grandchildren. As Lieutenant Governor, she will continue to stand up for California's families, she will continue to give a voice to those who are seldom heard, and she will continue to overcome adversity in order to build a brighter future for all Californians.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: April 17, 2006 21:12
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