Experienced legislators with close ties to Berkeley, State Senators Loni Hancock and Carol Liu will discuss the future of California higher education and legislative process. How does the legislature advance its priorities in regard to higher education? What should be its policy objectives? Senator Loni Hancock chair of the Senate Committee on Public Safety and a 14-year veteran of the legislature as well as former mayor of Berkeley, represents District 9 in the East Bay. Senator Carol Liu, chair of the Senate Committee on Education and also a 12-year veteran of the legislature, and a Berkeley native, represents the 25th district in Southern California.
Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) was elected to the California State Senate in 2008 and re-elected in 2012 to represent the newly drawn 25th District. She represented the 44th Assembly District from 2000-2006. Prior to her election to the State Assembly, Carol served eight years as a La Cañada Flintridge City Councilmember, including two terms as Mayor. Carol was born in Berkeley and raised in Oakland. She graduated from San Jose State College, earned a lifetime teaching credential and an administrative credential from UC-Berkeley, and spent 17 years working in public schools.
Many key pieces of legislation Carol authored in the Assembly and the Senate have been signed into law including bills to improve community college student success, provide access to adult education, protect foster and homeless youth, prevent domestic violence, reduce poverty and homelessness, and facilitate alternative custody, rehabilitation and re-entry programs for the incarcerated. Her highest priorities are improving the public education system and assuring essential services for the elderly, disadvantaged, and disabled. Carol is committed to breaking the cycles of poverty and crime and believes that access to quality education is the key. She is also working to improve environmental quality and increase access to public transportation.
Carol chairs the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Aging and Long Term Care. She serves as a member of the Elections and Constitutional Amendments, Human Services, Insurance, and Public Safety Committees.
Loni Hancock has spent more than four decades as a forceful advocate for open government, educational reform, environmental protection, economic development, and social justice. Prior to her election to the California State Senate in 2008, she served three terms in the California State Assembly (14th District). She also was the first woman elected mayor of the City of Berkeley (1986-1994), the Executive Director of the Shalan Foundation, and served in both the Carter and Clinton Administrations.
Senator Hancock represents the 9th State Senate District, which includes the cities of Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Castro Valley, Dublin, El Sobrante, Emeryville, Livermore, Oakland, Piedmont, Richmond, and San Pablo.
Currently, Senator Hancock chairs the Senate Public Safety Committee and the Budget Subcommittee Number 5 on Corrections, Public Safety and the Judiciary. In addition, Senator Hancock serves on the Education, Human Services, Budget & Fiscal Review, and Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committees.
Senator Hancock has devoted much of her career to developing public policies that support and improve public. As head of the Western Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Education during the Clinton Administration, she launched after-school, early reading preparation, college preparedness, and other initiatives. She helped schools in California receive millions of dollars in federal education funding.
As a member of the Assembly and Senate Committees on Education, Senator Hancock fought against tuition increases, elimination of outreach programs, and deep cuts to community college, CSU and UC budgets. Much of her legislative efforts have focused on lowering California’s unacceptably high dropout rate, including authoring legislation that greatly expands school-to-career education for California’s high school students. She strongly believes in career academies because they keep young people in school, and better prepares them for college and for real jobs in the new economy. She also carried legislation to improve education programs in state prison through a partnership with our Community College system.