"Women of the year" married to men of Legislature
|The following first appeared in Capitol Weekly today|
Three wives of legislators, two candidates for the Assembly, one mother-in-law, one mother and one domestic partner were among those chosen by legislators to be honored among as California's "women of the year."
Each year, every California legislator is asked to pick one woman for the women-of-the-year award.Assemblyman Keith Richman, R-Northridge, selected his wife, Deborah, for the woman-of-the-year award in his district, with her brief biography saying she "has provided tremendous support for him in his efforts of public service."
"She is most deserving of this honor not just for this year but for every year," the biography concluded.
Assemblyman Jay La Suer, R-La Mesa, also nominated his wife, Lynn, for the award.
"Lynn La Suer is an energetic member of numerous organizations, including serving on the Board of Directors of Olaf Wieghorst Museum and Rescue Task Force. Rescue Task Force provides immediate aid to people suffering from natural disasters and war. They were the first U.S. aid in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Sri Lanka," reads her biography.
Democrats got into the significant-other selections, too.
Assemblyman Ed Chavez, D-La Puente, chose his wife, Renee, as the woman of the year for his district. Renee Chavez is the mayor of La Puente and a candidate to succeed her husband for his seat in the 57th Assembly District.
Sharon Stricker was the choice of Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, D-Los Angeles, for top woman in the 45th Assembly District. Sharon is identified as "Executive Director for the Los Angeles Center for Educational Research Stars Afterschool Programs."
She is also Goldberg's domestic partner. The two were married in San Francisco in 2004.
What do those four mate-selecting legislators have in common? They are all termed-out of office this year.
Bev Hansen, a former assemblywoman who helped launch the year-of-the-woman program with former Assemblywoman Sally Tanner 20 years ago, says that she used a county-wide nomination process and a special committee to select her "woman of the year." But Hansen says she is pleased with the ongoing success of the program, especially with the increased participation from first lady Maria Shriver.
"I want everyone to make selections of outstanding women--and if that's a wife or a partner of a legislator that's OK with me," said Hansen, who is now a partner of the lobbying firm of Lang, Hansen, O'Malley and Miller. Other legislators' choices were also all in the family.
Sen. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, chose her mother, Nancy Speier, a 50-year teaching veteran in the San Mateo Union High School District adult-education program.
"During that time, she has taught thousands how to reupholster furniture, and her classes were always fully enrolled," her bio reads.
Sen. Martha Escutia, D-Montebello, picked her mother in-law, Delfina Briones. Delfina is the mother of Escutia's husband and Democratic consultant, Leo Briones.
"Ms. Briones … founded the La Mirada Basketball Association, Junior All-American Football League and the La Mirada High School Booster Club." Some choices had a more overt political bent.
Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, selected Christine Chavez, a candidate for the Assembly in one of the state's hottest Democratic primaries. The front page of Chavez's campaign Web site says "Join Gloria Romero!" who has endorsed Chavez, the granddaughter of labor leader César Chávez.
Newly elected Assembly Republican leader George Plescia, R-San Diego, picked local Councilwoman Marie Waldron as his woman of the year. Her bio says she "is a proven fiscal conservative with a record of fighting for smaller government, no new taxes, and a strong economic climate for California."
Sounds like a campaign slogan? Maybe that's because Plescia has endorsed Waldron's candidacy for the Assembly in the 74th district.
In Monday's Senate floor speech honoring the selection of the women of year, first lady Maria Shriver boasted that, "This is an achievement that will never leave you. You will always be known as a California woman of the year. No one can take it away from you. You didn't come here because of who you were married to."
Well, at least some of them didn't.