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COMMENTARY: Senator Kehoe leaves a legacy of accomplishment

(This commentary originally appeared in Assemblymember Toni Atkins' newsletter.)

This past month I was pleased to join with the San Diego Maritime Museum in recognizing the career achievements of Senator Christine Kehoe. After 20 years in elected office, the Senator is moving on to lead the California Plug-in Vehicle Collaborative. This new position will allow her to continue her work in steering California towards a greener energy future.

At this time I would like to take a moment to look back at some of the highlights of Senator Kehoe’s many contributions to a better San Diego and California.

Christine Kehoe has been a trailblazer for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community. Prior to her state service, Kehoe was the first openly gay official elected in San Diego and served on the San Diego City Council for seven years, representing San Diego’s neighborhoods in the Third District.

Senator Kehoe’s legislative agenda always focused on responsive government – government that provides the infrastructure and services we all need to live quality daily lives. Chris helped me understand (whether as staff or elected) what an honor it is to serve and how important it is to respect communities and constituents. They are the reason we are there! She also taught me that there is no such thing as “a no brainer” issue -- every issue has multiple paths to consider – and it always matters to someone!

With this as her philosophy, Christine secured streets and libraries and police sub-stations for the older, and sometimes poorer, neighborhoods of her council district. When she became an Assemblymember, she obtained increased protections for water quality and urban canyons, both of which San Diegans care deeply about. In the state Senate, as a member of the Energy Committee, she oversaw legislation about the resources we need for transportation and to light and heat our homes, with a close eye on the environmental impact of all of our energy choices.

I congratulate my good friend, mentor, and fellow advocate as she enters the next chapter of her career. She has accomplished so much in her time in office and has helped make San Diego and California a better place to be. She leaves a legacy we can all aspire to.