The music in the background was classic rock and the refreshments included vodka and pear martinis. But most of those in attendance at Saturday’s fundraiser for Assemblywoman Julia Brownley were asking for ordinary red wine or soda water. At this party, held at a private home in Santa Monica, they were anticipating Brownley’s appearance more than they were the slices of homemade pizza being served to the guests.
They had reason to be excited about Brownley, who took her Assembly seat less than two years ago and has already proven herself to be a champion of progressive solutions to issues like education and the environment.
Introductory remarks were made by State Senator Sheila Kuehl, who said that Brownley has become “an exemplary, very respected member of the Assembly — and she’s only been there for a year and five minutes!”
Kuehl also introduced “the bright shining star of the Assembly,” Speaker Karen Bass, whom Kuehl believes provides a challenge to the Governor’s “Draconian” budget.
Bass, in turn, gave credit to Kuehl for inspiring her to run for the legislature and introduced Brownley as another person who, as head of the Subcommittee on Education Finance, is “leading the charge” against the proposed budget cuts.
Brownley then took the microphone and read off a long list of thank you’s. She credited Kuehl with having “pushed me off the cliff” to move up from her work on the SMMUSD School Board to running for the Assembly.
In addition to crediting a number of other inspirations and supporters, Brownley introduced her two children: daughter Hannah, who has just graduated from college and is soon to depart for work in Chile, and son Fred, who is studying at Berkeley and will be working in a brain research lab this summer.
Then Brownley spoke of her own political goals.
“When I started this campaign, I said that the moral compass that guides me is justice. There is no justice unless there is economic justice for all.” This, she said, is why she became involved with education issues.
“I fight very hard for environmental justice,” she went on. “I make sure we preserve our open space.
“I believe in consumer justice. It is so important to protect each and every Californian.
“And I believe in social justice. I work very hard to insure that we take care of families, the disabled, the aged.”
Brownley thanked all of her supporters again. “It’s just quite emotional for me to have all of you here,” and introduced a not-so-surprise guest — her predecessor in the 41st District, Fran Pavley. “In a matter of days, we’ll know if she is going to be a State Senator,” said Brownley, who touted Pavley as “one of education’s greatest advocates.”
And then it was back to the drinks and snacks.
Away from the mic, chatting casually with her supporters, Brownley stated to the Mirror that “things are going pretty well for me [in the Assembly]. Although we are faced with a horrendous budget.”
Her supporters believe that she can save the State from the worst effects of those cuts – and that she is an important advocate on many issues.
“I have always been a big supporter of Julia,” said attendee Paula Daniels, former member of the Coastal Commission and former chair of Heal the Bay, “because of her incredible integrity and her ability to see [the issues] through. She’s a good person and we need to support people like that.”