Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D)
Elected: 1992, 9th term.
Born: June 12, 1941, Los Angeles .
Home: Los Angeles.
Education: CA State L.A., B.A. 1965.
Family: Married (Edward Allard); 4 children.
Elected office: CA Assembly, 1986–92.
The congresswoman from the 34th District is Lucille Roybal-Allard, first elected in 1992. She is the first Mexican-American woman to be elected to Congress. Roybal-Allard grew up in the Los Angeles area, the daughter of longtime U.S. Rep. Edward Roybal, who was the first Latino to serve on the Los Angeles City Council. She dreamed of a show business career as a teenager and later worked as a department store clerk and for nonprofit organizations. After raising a family—two of her children are lawyers—she followed her father into politics when she was 45 years old. She was elected to the California Assembly in 1986. Six years later, she ran for a newly created House district that took in much of the Los Angeles area that her father had represented for 30 years. Her father retired in 1992, the year she ran for the House. Roybal-Allard won easily with 75% of the vote in the primary and 63% in the general election.
|Lucille Roybal-Allard (D)||98,503||(77%)||($594,045)|
|Christopher Balding (R)||29,266||(23%)||($1,849)|
|Lucille Roybal-Allard (D)||12,622||(100%)|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (77%), 2004 (74%), 2002 (74%), 2000 (85%), 1998 (87%), 1996 (82%), 1994 (81%), 1992 (63%)
Roybal-Allard has compiled a solidly liberal voting record. On the Appropriations Committee, she has focused on immigration issues, and she has pushed aggressively for an immigration overhaul bill that would include a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently in the country. The bill has not passed despite repeated attempts in recent years by members of both parties. In 2004, the House passed her amendment to prevent the privatizing of services for immigration information officers or investigators. With Reps. Howard Berman, D-Calif., and Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., she is the sponsor of the American Dream Act to provide a path to legal immigration for college-bound students. In the past, she also has pushed for in-state college tuition rates for illegal immigrants. Citing recent deaths in three immigration detention facilities, Roybal-Allard sponsored a proposal in February 2009 to compel the Homeland Security Department to set humane standards for people who are detained as part of immigration proceedings.
On local issues on the committee, Roybal-Allard secured $1.5 million for an AIDS clinical trials unit at the University of Southern California’s Medical Center and $1.1 million for a parking garage in the Fashion District.
On other issues, she won House passage of an amendment to allow breast-feeding in national parks and museums. As a curb on underage drinking, she has advocated higher taxes on alcohol and restraints on advertising. In 2006, she got the House to adopt more-modest measures in a bill that coordinates federal programs aimed at teen drinking and funds an education campaign about its dangers. In 2007, she co-sponsored with Education and Labor Chairman George Miller, D-Calif., a bill requiring employers to pay for personal protective equipment such as respirators, chemical resistant clothing, safety glasses, and face shields.
One of her recent successes was a bill enacted in 2008 that authorizes federal grants for newborn health screening for congenital, genetic, and metabolic disorders. She called the legislation “a giant step towards ensuring that parents and health providers are knowledgeable about newborn screening, and that babies receive the comprehensive and consistent testing they need.”
Unlike several other Democratic women in the California delegation, Roybal-Allard isn’t as close to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her powerful inner circle, which sometimes limits her leverage in the House. In 2006, Roybal-Allard seconded the nomination Democrat Steny Hoyer of Maryland for majority leader, a public declaration of support for Hoyer against Pelosi’s preferred candidate, Democrat John Murtha of Pennsylvania. However, Hoyer won the contest, so Roybal-Allard still has a friend or two in high places.