Supervisor Sheila James Kuehl, representing Los Angeles County’s Third District, was elected on November 4, 2014, assumed office on December 1, 2014, and is currently the Chair of the Board of Supervisors.
In her first three years on the Board, she has undertaken or collaborated in a number of initiatives and motions to improve the quality of life and reform systems in the County, including increasing the minimum wage, creating a Sheriff’s Oversight Commission, providing unprecedented funding and services for our homeless population and those trying to find and keep affordable housing, increasing services and support for relative caregivers for our foster children, supporting the creation of the Office of Child Protection, creating oversight of the Probation Department, innovating on issues of water conservation and recycling, creating a County-led Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) JPA to bring green power choices to County residents, protecting our arts venues and productions, spurring the construction and re-opening of the John Anson Ford Theatres, reforming both our adult and juvenile justice systems to emphasize and enhance “second chance” and anti-recidivism programs, including the opening of Campus Kilpatrick, a state-of-the-art juvenile justice facility that emphasizes rehabilitation and preparation for a constructive future, protection of the Santa Monica Mountains, as well as the Coast, kicking off a Women and Girls Initiative to build toward a County-wide collaboration on needed changes and programs in all County departments and services, bringing together three County health departments into a new Agency model to break down barriers to service for those who need physical health, mental health and substance abuse treatment, bringing a focus in County Departments on better serving and supporting our LGBTQ youth who comprise almost 20% of our foster kids, and much more.
She is also Chair of the Board of Commissioners of First 5, LA, First Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Metro, Vice Chair of the Board of the new CCA and Chair of the Countywide Criminal Justice Coordination Committee.
Supervisor Kuehl served eight years in the State Senate and six years in the State Assembly. She was the Founding Director of the Public Policy Institute at Santa Monica College and, in 2012, was Regents’ Professor in Public Policy at UCLA.
She was the first woman in California history to be named Speaker Pro Tempore of the Assembly, and the first openly gay or lesbian person to be elected to the California Legislature. She served as chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Natural Resources and Water Committee, and Budget Subcommittee on Water, Energy and Transportation, as well as the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
She authored 171 bills that were signed into law, including legislation to establish paid family leave, establish nurse to patient ratios in hospitals; protect the Santa Monica Mountains and prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender and disability in the workplace and sexual orientation in education. She fought to establish true universal health insurance in California.
Prior to her election to the Legislature, as a public-interest attorney Supervisor Kuehl drafted and fought to get into California law more than 40 pieces of legislation relating to children, families, women, and domestic violence. She was a law professor at Loyola, UCLA and USC Law Schools and co-founded and served as managing attorney of the California Women’s Law Center.
Supervisor Kuehl graduated from Harvard Law School in 1978. In her youth, she was known for her portrayal of the irrepressible Zelda Gilroy in the television series, “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.”