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Debra Bowen

53rd Assembly District

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Working to "make government make sense" by providing accountability in government and reducing the state's overlapping bureaucracy are just two areas Assemblywoman Debra Bowen (D-Torrance/Marina del Rey) has focused on since first being elected to represent the 53rd Assembly District in November 1992. The district stretches along the Pacific Ocean and includes the cities and communities of Torrance, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Lomita, Manhattan Beach, El Segundo, Venice, Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey, and parts of Mar Vista, Palms, Palos Verdes Estates, and Westchester.

Debra began a long history of community activism by getting involved with her local Neighborhood Watch program. She started her own law firm in 1984, specializing in small business start-ups and tax law. Later, the practice expanded to include land use and environmental issues where Debra represented both businesses and community groups.

A 1976 graduate of Michigan State University, Debra earned her law degree from the University of Virginia in 1979. She studied at International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan, on a Rotary International Fellowship, and was a CORO Fellow in the Community Invest program.

During her first four years in office, Assemblywoman Bowen has concentrated her attention in the following areas:

  • Political Reform. Assemblywoman Bowen has authored five comprehensive campaign finance reform measures to limit the influence of special interest contributions. After all of her efforts were defeated in legislative committees, she co-authored Proposition 208, which was approved by the voters in November 1996, to create such a reform measure.

  • Opening Government To The People, She authored AB 1624, which unlocked the Legislature's computer files, giving computer users worldwide instant access to information about bills and legislators' voting records. Debra has also authored bills to try and give people computer access to California's public records.

  • Applying Business Management To State purchases. California spends roughly $1 billion each year on computer and information technology with minimal oversight. Debra has authored bills and held committee hearings to bring a "business management" philosophy to these purchases, providing budget oversight and forcing the state to look at the bottom line before spending precious taxpayer dollars on multi-million dollar projects.

  • Protecting California's Environment. Debra has been a leader in the fight to protect California's precious environment. She has fought to defeat efforts aimed at gutting the state's landmark recycling programs, reducing the state's drinking water standards, and much more.

Assemblywoman Bowen is the chairwoman of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, and also holds seats on the Assembly Budget, Banking & Finance, Environmental Satety & Toxic Materials, Higher Education, and Water, Parks & Wildlife Committees.

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