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Sen. Barbara Boxer urges L.A. to elect its first female mayor

January 26, 2013 |  1:45 pm

Wendy

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California urged Los Angeles voters to “make history” by electing the city’s first female mayor during an appearance on behalf of Wendy Greuel at the opening of her Westside office Saturday.

Boxer, who was elected to the Senate in 1992 with fellow Californian Dianne Feinstein in what became known as the Year of the Woman, said she had celebrated the arrival of 20 female senators in Washington after the 2012 elections: “Now we are really seeing the impact,” she said.

But she noted that female candidates for mayor of L.A. have often only won narrow slivers of the vote since the city held its first election in 1850. “That’s 163 years. Isn’t it long enough?” she said to applause at the tented event along Santa Monica Boulevard. (There are two female contenders among the top tier of candidates this year: Greuel, the city controller, and Councilwoman Jan Perry, who represents downtown and South Los Angeles).

Boxer praised Greuel’s experience as an administrator in the federal housing department, particularly her oversight of the distribution of aid to victims of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, her focus on student mentoring and after-school programs as an aide to Mayor Tom Bradley and later as a DreamWorks executive, and her work on transportation issues when she represented the San Fernando Valley on the City Council.

“I have to really tell you, as I looked over the history of mayors of Los Angeles — you are supporting one of the most qualified candidates ever to run for mayor,” said Boxer, who first announced her support for Greuel last November. “When she takes on a job, she makes a lasting impact.”

“We know that Wendy has been the leading candidate from the start, but this race is heating up,” Boxer said. “They want to know every appointment she’s had; everyone she’s ever said hello to — it gets tougher and tougher,” the senator said, alluding to criticism from Greuel’s rivals that she spent much of her time as city controller holding meetings with groups and power brokers who could boost her mayoral bid.

Boxer encouraged Greuel’s supporters to begin working phone banks and walking precincts while preparing for the potential attacks in the five weeks until the March 5 election.

“We have the makings of a great historic victory,” Boxer said. “If we make history — you know how California is — we are the trendsetters.”

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-- Maeve Reston

Photo: City Controller Wendy Greuel is a candidate for Los Angeles mayor. Credit: Los Angeles Times.

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