Senior Policy Advisor, Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego
Former Senator, California's 40th District
Hon. Denise Moreno Ducheny was elected to the California State Senate on November 5, 2002, to represent the 40th District and re-elected in 2006. She represents a district which incorporates portions of San Diego and Riverside Counties and all of Imperial County. Senator Ducheny chairs the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, and the Select Committees on California-Mexico Cooperation and the Colorado River. She is a member of the Senate Committees on Labor and Industrial Relations, Public Employment and Retirement, the Select Committee on State School Facilities and the Joint Committee on Fairs, Allocation & Classification.
Prior to her election to the California State Senate, Senator Ducheny served in the California State Assembly from 1994 to 2000. While in the Assembly, Senator Ducheny served as Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee between 1997 and 2000, and as Vice-Chair in 1996. As an Assemblywoman, she was the first San Diegan, first woman, and first Latino ever to be appointed to this powerful position overseeing the state's $100 billion spending plan. As a legislator, she also served as Co-Chair of the Special Committee on Welfare Reform, as Vice-Chair of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, and as Vice-Chair of the Latino Legislative Caucus.
While in the Assembly, Senator Ducheny served on numerous committees and authored landmark legislation, including the CAL Works Welfare Reform Act of 1997, which assisted many in the transition from welfare to work; the College Affordability Act, which rolled back student fees at the UC, CSU, and Community Colleges for the first time in 13 years; the Reverse Mortgage bill, which provided protection to senior homeowners and consumers; the California Public School Library Act, which provided an additional funding source for school libraries; the Indian Child Welfare Act and legislation regarding vacant residential structures, which enabled local government to rehabilitate vacant dwellings to improve the quality of life in their communities.
During her career in the Senate, Senator Ducheny has continued to be a strong advocate for jobs, education and housing. Senator Ducheny's legislative accomplishments in the Senate include the Workforce Investment Act Strategic Plan which requires the development of a statewide plan that invests in our state's workforce; the Geothermal Development bill that removed barriers in state law to allow for increased development of geothermal energy, the Waste Tire Clean-Up Act which required that information be provided on remediation activities for tire piles that pose a huge environmental threat in the border region, the Farm worker Housing Act which provided flexibility to local jurisdictions to increase their supply of farm worker housing and the Salton Sea Restoration Act which established state policy for restoring this important environmental ecosystem. In addition to these legislative accomplishments, Senator Ducheny has been recognized for her legislative achievements by many organizations, including the San Diego County Medical Society, the California State Association of Counties, the California Primary Care Association, California State Parks Foundation, the California Child Development Administrators Association, the Family Health Center and the California State Sheriffs Association.
As a legislator in both houses, Senator Ducheny has worked diligently to improve California's bi-national relationship with the Republic of Mexico by coordinating various agriculture, water and business tours with U.S. and Mexican officials. She has conducted several bi-national meetings to discuss cross-border business, transportation, education and health issues, and worked with federal elected and administrative officials to further enhance our cooperative relationships. This has led to several achievements including the establishment of a permanent Office of Binational Border Health to facilitate cooperation between health officials and health professionals in California and Mexico and to reduce the risk of disease in the border region. She also spearheaded organization of the Border Legislative Conference, comprised of legislators of the 10 U.S.-Mexico Border States, and the Legislative Forum of the Three Californias. She is currently Chair of the Border Legislative Conference and serves on the Executive Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Senator Ducheny holds a BA in History from Pomona College and a J.D. from Southwestern.