Senator Christine Kehoe

Christine Kehoe is forging the path for a new generation of effective California legislators, by setting a high standard for integrity and accomplishment.

Elected to the State Senate in 2004 and re-elected in 2008, Kehoe represents the 39th Senate District which includes much of San Diego, the cities of Del Mar and Lemon Grove, and neighboring communities.

During her time in the Senate, Kehoe has focused on the environment and good government measures.  She chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, and is a member of the Banking, Finance & Insurance Committee; Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee; Local Government Committee; Natural Resources & Water Committee; Transportation & Housing Committee; and the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Services and Homeland Security.

She also serves on the Select Committees on Asian Pacific Islander Affairs; Biotechnology; California-European Trade; California's Horse Racing Industry; Coastal Protection and Watershed Conservation; the Colorado River; and the Defense and Aerospace Industry.

Prior to being elected to the Senate, Kehoe served two terms as State Assemblymember representing the 76th District from 2000 through 2004. 

During her time in the State Assembly, Kehoe distinguished herself by becoming the second woman ever – and the first woman from San Diego – to be elected Speaker pro Tempore, the second highest-ranking position. 

Prior to being elected to the Assembly, Kehoe served seven years as City Councilmember representing San Diego's Third District. She served as chair of the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee, and led efforts to improve and beautify San Diego, reduce street crime, and improve recreational opportunities for families.

Community Activist

Kehoe was a pioneer activist in 1978 as a volunteer with the Center for Women's Studies and Services. In 1980 she was San Diego County's chair for the campaign to defeat the Lyndon LaRouche AIDS discrimination initiative.

In 1984 she became editor of the award-winning San Diego Gayzette newspaper. She was an early director of the AIDS Assistance Fund, which grew into the San Diego AIDS Foundation.

She served as the executive director of the Hillcrest Business Association, where she worked for small business owners to cut red tape and improve communication with city government.

Kehoe is a member of the Sierra Club, the National Organization for Women (NOW), National Women's Political Caucus, Uptown Democratic Club, California Women in Government, the San Diego Democratic Club, and the Women's Transportation Seminar. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the California Elected Women's Association for Education and Research (CEWAER).

Record of Accomplishment

As a City Councilmember, Kehoe worked to strengthen public schools and improve public safety in neighborhoods.  She helped fund the expansion of three elementary schools and expand the city's “6 to 6” Extended Day School Program. She helped the City of San Diego become partners with Price Charities and CityLink Investment Corporation to redevelop 11 blocks in the City Heights neighborhood. Today, the City Heights Urban Village is a nationally recognized model for combining educational, housing, and recreational facilities in a revitalized urban area.

Kehoe also helped launch the city's Hate Crimes Registry, concentrate efforts to remove graffiti, improve street lighting, provide better supervision of parolees, and reduce crime in Balboa Park.

In response to her efforts to improve San Diego's neighborhoods, the United States Secretary of Housing appointed Kehoe to chair the San Diego Regional Partnership for Home Ownership, work later honored by the American Planning Association.

Kehoe is a relentless fighter for civil rights. She called hearings on the City's Equal Opportunity Ordinance to provide stronger protections for women, successfully led efforts to enact domestic partner benefits for city employees, and provided major grant funding to strengthen the San Diego LGBT Community Center.

As a legislator, Kehoe works to ensure that San Diego receives its share of state funding for essential programs. She secured more than $12 million for the San Diego River, which is being used to restore wetlands and wildlife habitat and improve water quality. She also acquired almost $1 million for improvements at Balboa Park.

As an Assemblymember, Kehoe wrote legislation forming the San Diego River Conservancy; designating the portion of State Route 163 that runs through Balboa Park as a Historic Parkway; and outlawing unsolicited fax advertisements.  She responded to California’s energy crisis by writing legislation to increase energy supplies and fight higher energy prices. It was part of a legislative effort to create the largest, most aggressive conservation effort ever launched in the United States. 

Prompted by the Southern California wildfires of 2003, Kehoe worked with Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi on a package of landmark legislation to provide greater consumer protections to home and property insurance policy holders.

As a Senator, Kehoe has established herself as an environmental leader and dedicated ‘good government’ advocate.  In 2006, she sponsored the most important redevelopment reform bill in more than a decade.  Following the 2007 wildfires in Southern California, she drafted a handful of bills to protect homeowners, compensate local governments for their wildfire fighting costs, and prevent the spread of future blazes.  She also steered legislation into law that reforms the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, strengthens the San Diego River Conservancy, and protects open space in the City of San Diego.

Kehoe lives in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood with her partner Julie Warren. 

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