Barbara Boxer became a United States Senator in January 1993 and was elected to a second six-year term in 1998.
Boxer became the first Democratic woman to serve on the Senate Commerce Committee. She also serves on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, as well as the Foreign Relations Committee. She acts as Chief Deputy for Strategic Outreach for the Senate Democratic Leadership and serves as the Western Regional Democratic Whip. She is also a member of the Senate's Hispanic Caucus.
As a Senator, Boxer successfully amended the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure that standards for drinking water are set to protect the most vulnerable Americans, including children, pregnant women, and the elderly. She has introduced legislation to restore the nation's wetlands and remove the threat of offshore drilling along California's coast, and is the author of the Children's Environmental Protection Act, which would require environmental standards to be set at levels that protect children.
Boxer's Early Education bill would give children, especially those from low-income families, a jump start on learning by providing grants to school districts to offer classes a year before kindergarten. Her "Computers in Classrooms" law encourages the donation of computers and software to schools and helps give students the tools they need to get a top, quality education.
Boxer is also committed to making schools and neighborhoods safe for families. Since first introducing the After School Education and Anti-Crime Act in 1997, she has worked to increase funding for after-school programs from $1 million in fiscal year 1997 to more than $845 million in fiscal year 2001.
Boxer joined colleagues to pass the 1994 Crime Bill, which led to the lowest crime rate in 25 years. She voted for 100,000 new police on the beat to bolster community policing and assist with anti-gang programs. To curb gun violence, Boxer has worked for common sense gun control measures including legislation to get junk guns off the streets. Her legislation to prevent the criminal use of personal information obtained through motor vehicle records was signed into law and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
She also authored the Violence Against Women Act while serving in the House and helped steer it successfully through the Senate; it also is now law.
A strong advocate of medical research, Boxer is a leader in the drive to double funding for the National Institutes of Health. She authored bipartisan legislation to accelerate America's leadership in the international fight against HIV/AIDs and tuberculosis. These bills are now law, and the efforts have been fully funded.
One of the first in Congress to recognize HMO abuses, she authored a Patient's Bill of Rights in 1997 and continues to fight for these much needed protections. She has worked to draw attention and resources to women's health issues, such as breast cancer and cardiovascular diseases. She supported expanding health coverage for children and has called attention to the high incidence of prostate cancer and the need for resources to fight this deadly disease.
The Senate's leading advocate of a woman's right to choose, Boxer authored the Family Planning and Choice Protection Act and helped lead the floor fight for passage of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.
Boxer has worked to preserve the safety net for older Americans. She introduced a series of bills to protect the pensions of working Americans, including the "401(k) Pension Protection Act of 1997," which was signed into law as part of the 1998 budget agreement. She continues to work to ensure solvency for Medicaid and Medicare.
Boxer has been honored for her leadership in Congress by the Consumer Federation of America, the Coalition to Stop Government Waste, Planned Parenthood, the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, the Center for Environmental Education, and the American Association of University Women.
Boxer came to the Senate from the House of Representatives where she served for 10 years. While there, she disclosed the famous $7,600 coffee pot and passed over a dozen procurement reforms, one of which, alone, has saved taxpayers over $2.6 billion.
Boxer was elected to the House of Representatives in 1982 following six years on the Marin County Board of Supervisors, where she was elected the first female President of the Board.
Boxer received her B.A. in Economics from Brooklyn College.
Boxer was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York Boxer and her husband of 39 years have two adult children.