The term “meteoric rise” is typically used to refer to a person who shoots to the top of his or her field in record time. Though sometimes the phrase is used too loosely, it is quite applicable in the case of Congresswoman Laura Richardson, who represents the culturally and economically diverse 37th district in California.
In a span of less than a year, Richardson served at the local, state and federal levels of government, landing her current seat by beating out a field of 16 in special congressional elections in 2007. She replaced the late Juanita Millender-McDonald, who died of cancer in April of that year. Prior to winning her seat, Richardson was a California Assemblywoman in the 55th District, and before that she served as a Long Beach City Councilwoman.
Most recently, people have heard Representative Richardson’s name attached to the “Freedom to Serve Without Fear” Act that she introduced in the wake of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords assassination attempt in Tucson, Arizona. If passed, the Act would prohibit guns “at scheduled events where an elected representative is engaging in official acts, representational duties, or campaign activity,” according to a written statement from Richardson’s office.
The UCLA political science graduate and USC MBA holder has fourteen years of experience in corporate America working at Xerox under her belt. And serving her constituency hasn’t always been a bed of roses for her either. Richardson has survived some controversy over past failed real estate deals and an ethics allegation. Throughout it all, though, she has continued championing civil rights, social justice and gun control. Like many other elected officials, she faces the challenge of trying to infuse jobs and opportunity into the economically stressed areas she represents. Los Angeles County and Compton are both located within her district.
Congresswoman Richardson currently serves on both the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure and the Committee on Homeland Security. She also serves as the ranking member on the Subcommittee on Emergency Communications, Preparedness, and Response and sits on four subcommittees on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.