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Boxer, Barbara


BOXER, BARBARA (1940– ), U.S. Democratic senator and liberal activist. Boxer has supported women's issues, education, gun control, child abuse protection, services for the underprivileged, military reform, and environmental protection. Born Barbara Levy in Brooklyn, New York, she graduated with a degree in economics from Brooklyn College in 1962 and married Stewart Boxer that same year. The couple had two children. After moving to Marin County, in northern California, in 1965, Boxer became involved in grassroots political organizations, founded a women's political caucus, and worked to reduce high school drop-out rates, provide job training, and develop child-care centers. In 1977, she won a seat on the Marin County Board of Supervisors, serving as the first woman Board president in 1982. Elected to the House of Representatives in 1982, Boxer's record demonstrated a strong commitment to women's health issues, especially breast cancer research. As a pro-choice advocate, Boxer sponsored legislation to protect abortion rights and freedom of access to abortion clinics. In 1992, Boxer and Dianne *Feinstein, also from California, were the first two Jewish women elected to the United States Senate. Like Feinstein, Boxer did not emphasize her Jewish identity. In November 2004, she easily won re-election for her third term. In the Senate, Boxer advanced her feminist campaign, supporting legislation against domestic violence and combating sexual harassment in government and in the workplace. As chair of the Superfund, Toxic, Risk and Waste Management Subcommittee, she has supported environmental issues and led efforts to clean abandoned industrial sites and to ban a gasoline additive suspected of being a carcinogen. On Middle East issues, she was a reliable supporter of Israel. Although the partisan and uncompromising bills she proposed were seldom voted into law, Boxer was an impassioned voice for women, workers, children, and the environment.

[Arlene Lazarowitz (2nd ed.)]

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