Sen. Richard Polanco

Chairman – Former California Senate Majority Leader

Senator Polanco has been a leader in Education, Gun Control Legislation, Healthcare, Prison Reform as well as championing for the needs of California's under-served communities. In 1998, he authored legislation that provided $115 million for after-school and summer school programs. He is widely respected for his efforts to promote equal opportunity and increase investment in industries that provided jobs for Californians. He pioneered California's citizenship education program assisting over 500,000 Californian's to become naturalized citizens. He authored legislation to help jump-start the electric car industry in California and pushed for equal opportunity in contracting for women, minority and veteran owned businesses.

Senator Polanco has fought tirelessly on behalf of underserved communities throughout the State of California. He has spent a lifetime advocating for low income communities and authored significant legislation creating policy in the areas of: MWBE certification; Congregate Living Facilities for HIV Populations; Accessibility Emergency Services Information, Long Distance Telephone Fraud; Universal Access/Telcom & Life Line Communication Service; Energy Program Funding SB 678; Non-profits and lending institutions; and the California Procurement Act.

As the former Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, he promoted and has often been quoted as saying "The Latino Agenda is an American Agenda. Good jobs, descent housing, safe neighborhoods, access to health care and Equal Opportunity in Education". In October 2002, Senator Polanco established the California Latino Caucus Institute for Public Policy, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. The Institute was created as a non-partisan effort by the California Latino Legislative Caucus to serve as a broad based public policy, educational and leadership development organization.