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Los Angeles County, CA June 6, 2006 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for George Nakano

Candidate for
State Senator; District 28; Democratic Party

This information is provided by the candidate

Former Assemblymember George Nakano's career in public service began over 20 years ago. Nakano served as a Torrance City Councilman for 15 years before his election to the State Assembly. For six years, until December 2004, Nakano represented the 53rd District, encompassing the southern coastal region of Los Angeles County stretching from West Los Angeles, Venice, south along the coast, into Torrance and Lomita.

The eldest of four children, Nakano was born in Los Angeles and grew up in a poor neighborhood in East Los Angeles. After he and his family spent four years in internment camps during World War II, George returned to Los Angeles and graduated from John H. Francis Polytechnic High School in June of 1954. He served in the California Air National Guard for six years before being honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant in 1960.

Nakano worked his way through night school at El Camino College and California State University, Los Angeles to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and began teaching at Jordan High School in Watts. He went on to earn his Masters in Education from California State University, Los Angeles in 1977 and served as an educational administrator in the Inglewood Unified School District until retiring in 1991.

Upon his election to the State Legislature in 1998, Nakano focused on issues critical to the South Bay such as education, coastal protection and economic development. For his efforts during the first two years in office, Nakano was selected as 2000 Legislator of the Year by the American Electronics Association and awarded the California School Employees' Association's Outstanding Public Service Award. In 2002, the Community College League of California presented Assemblyman Nakano with the Distinguished Alumni Award at their annual convention for his professional accomplishments and contributions to his communities. In 2005, he was honored with the University Service Award from California State University, Los Angeles.

Appointed by the Speaker in January 2002 to serve as Democratic Caucus Chair, Nakano became the first Asian American to hold the leadership position and became one of the highest-ranking Asian Americans in the State Legislature. He served on the Committee's for Veterans Affairs, Insurance, Health, Budget, and the Committee for Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media. In addition he served on the Joint Committee to Develop the California Master Plan for Education. Speaker Emeritus Hertzberg appointed Nakano to the California Defense Retention and Conversion Council in 2001. In January, 2001, Nakano was elected by his colleagues to be the inaugural Chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus.

Nakano's community activities include the Torrance Education Foundation, and service as director emeritus of the Salvation Army Advisory Board. He served for five years as a member of the Board of Directors for the United Way Harbor/Southeast Region and as a member of the Advisory Board for the Torrance YWCA. Nakano also founded the Torrance chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League in 1983 and is a charter member of the Go For Broke National Veterans Association. He also served as the president of Torrance's AARP chapter for three years. Recently, he began serving on the Advisory Board for the Pediatric Therapy Network and the Little Tokyo Service Center.

Nakano holds a 5th degree black belt in kendo. He was selected as a member of the U.S. Kendo Team in 1966. In 1974, he founded the Torrance Kendo Dojo where he was head instructor for 10 years. Nakano and his wife Helen, a teacher and realtor, have resided in the South Bay for 46 years. They have two grown children and two granddaughters. Their daughter, Laurie, is a third grade teacher at the Victor School in Torrance and their son, Kevin, is an electrical engineer at Raytheon Systems in El Segundo.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: May 9, 2006 22:49
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