Supervisor Sheila James Kuehl, representing Los Angeles County’s Third District, was elected on November 4, 2014, and assumed office on December 1.
Since then, she has undertaken or collaborated in a number of initiatives and motions to improve 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, protecting our arts venues and productions, reforming both our adult and juvenile justice systems to emphasize and enhance “second chance” and anti-recidivism programs, protection of the Santa Monica Mountains, as well as the Coast, kicking off a Women and Girls Initiative design team to build toward a County-wide collaboration on needed changes and programs in all County departments, 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, establishing a position to concentrate specifically on LGBT foster youth who comprise almost 20% of our foster kids, and more.
She is also Chair of the Board of Commissioners of First Five, LA, and a member of the Boards of Directors of Metro, the Expo Authority, and the LA Local Agency Formation Commission.
Kuehl previously served eight years in the State Senate and six years in the State Assembly. She is 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. Kuehl 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 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.”