Laura Richardson: Wikis


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Laura Richardson

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 37th district
Assumed office 
August 21, 2007
Preceded by Juanita Millender-McDonald

Member of the
California State Assembly
from the 55th district
In office
Preceded by Jenny Oropeza
Succeeded by Warren Furutani

In office
Preceded by Jenny Oropeza
Succeeded by Warren Furutani

Born April 14, 1962 (1962-04-14) (age 47)
Los Angeles, California
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) divorced
Residence Long Beach, California
Alma mater UCLA, University of Southern California
Occupation printing executive
Religion Methodist

Laura Richardson (born April 14, 1962 in Los Angeles, California) is a Democratic Representative in the United States Congress. She represented California's 55th Assembly District for the 2007 term until she was elected to the House of Representatives for California's 37th congressional district in a special election on August 21 to fill the vacancy resulting from the death of Juanita Millender-McDonald. The district encompasses the inland section of Long Beach, Carson, Compton and Signal Hill, as well as parts of other municipalities.



Richardson was raised by a single mother after her parents divorced when she was two. Her father belonged to the Teamsters labor union.[1] Her father was African American and her mother was white. Richardson has said that racism against their mixed-race family was "what got me since the age of about six of wanting to be a public servant."[2]

Richardson was previously married to Long Beach Police Chief Anthony Batts. During the marriage, she took the name Laura Richardson-Batts.

Richardson graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1984. In 1987, she joined Xerox Corporation where she worked for 14 years. In 1996, Richardson received her MBA from the University of Southern California. She often credits her studies in China at Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai as significantly expanding her educational experience.

Political career


Long Beach City Council

Richardson served on the Long Beach City Council from 2000 to 2006. In 2004, Richardson won a second term outright on the first ballot. As a councilwoman, she made statements that her priorities included neighborhood improvement, public safety, attracting jobs and businesses to the cities’ central corridors, job training programs for adults, after-school programs for youth and expanding senior programs.

Richardson established the Sixth District Master Plan, a strategic guideline for development in the area. Other significant accomplishments during her council tenure include securing the first funding for alley maintenance by the city of Long Beach, initiating the planning process for a Senior Transportation Program in the Central Area of Long Beach.

While serving on the city council, Richardson joined the staff of Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante and served as his Southern California director for five years.

California Assembly

Richardson served as the assistant speaker pro tempore in the Assembly. Richardson was the first African-American and South Bay representative to achieve this position. Additionally, Richardson was appointed to serve on the Budget, Human Services, Utilities & Commerce, Government Organization, and Joint Legislative Budget committees. She was chair of the Select Committee on Proposition 209-Equal Opportunity.

U.S. House of Representatives


Richardson defeated State Senator Jenny Oropeza and 9 other Democrats in the June 26 primary election to win her party's nomination. On August 21, Richardson won more than 65% of the vote in a four-way race against the nominees of the Republican Party, Green Party, and Libertarian Party.

Committee Assignments


Political positions

Iraq War

In 2003, Richardson said she believed weapons inspections in Iraq should have continued, and that she did not favor an invasion. She was asked by anti-war groups to support a Long Beach City Council resolution declaring the city's opposition to the Iraq War. She did not support this resolution, but cosponsored a resolution declaring support for local members of the National Guard. Once hostilities began, she stated that it was important to support the troops. She argued that once Saddam Hussein was caught and executed, American troops should have come home. She supports a withdrawal plan beginning in six months, according to her mailers, which often contain pictures of former president George W. Bush with a slash mark through his image, indicating her opposition to Bush's policies. She pledged to oppose any new spending for war in Iraq.

Same-sex marriage

Recently, she co-wrote the bill to legalize same-sex marriage in California.


Richardson supported AB 900 to create 40,000 more prison beds in California at the cost of $7.4 billion dollars.


Richardson has faced some harsh scrutiny for not co-sponsoring Rep. Henry Waxman's global warming legislation. As a result, Greenpeace has mounted a public awareness campaign about her position.[3]


Richardson does not support building a border fence. She does support some path to citizenship for certain illegal immigrants.

2008 presidential race

Laura Richardson endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, although her district voted for 54.2% to 43.5% in favor of Barack Obama[4].

FISA Amendments Act

Richardson voted in favor of a controversial update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act on June 20, 2008. As part of the bill, telecommunications companies that have allegedly acted illegally in allowing the Bush Administration to spy on customers will be protected from prosecution. The administration's surveillance of U.S. citizens and residents is part of the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy.

Real estate controversies

Richardson purchased a home in Sacramento with no money down[5] and a subprime mortgage. Washington Mutual alleged that she later walked away from her Sacramento home and the mortgage within two years of receiving the $578,000 mortgage and stopped making payments on the home and the mortgage. Washington Mutual foreclosed on the house and the final amount owed by Richardson was $578,000 which was $40,000 more than the home was worth.[6] According to county records, Richardson received a default notice and Notice of Trustee's Sale in late 2007. In December 2007, Richardson was behind in payments by more than $18,000.[7] According to the couple that sold the home to Richardson, Richardson was not maintaining the home. Sharon Helmar has stated: "The neighbors are extremely unhappy with her. She didn't mow the lawn or take out the garbage while she was there. We lived there for a long time, 30 years, and we had to hide our heads whenever we came back to the neighborhood."[8]

Laura Richardson (center) with fellow congresswomen Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio (left) and Yvette Clarke of New York (right).

The real estate broker who bought Rep. Laura Richardson's Sacramento house at a foreclosure sale last month is accusing her of receiving preferential treatment because her lender has issued a notice to rescind the sale. James York, owner of Red Rock Mortgage, said he would file a lawsuit against Richardson and her lender, Washington Mutual, by the end of the week, and has every intention of keeping the house. York bought the Sacramento home at a foreclosure auction on May 7 for $388,000. Richardson had not been making payments on the property for nearly a year, and had also gone into default on her two other houses in Long Beach and San Pedro. Richardson, D-Long Beach, has said that the auction should never have been held, because she had worked out a loan modification agreement with her lender beforehand and had begun making payments.[9] Washington Mutual has since settled with York. Experts interviewed in relation to the foreclosure and recision have claimed that Washington Mutual's actions in Richardson's favor have been nearly unprecedented. "It seems to me it has nothing to do with the law, but it has to do with [Washington Mutual] trying to be deferential to a congresswoman," said Grant Nelson, the William H. Rehnquist Professor of Law at Pepperdine University.[10]

According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, Richardson had also defaulted on payments for her primary home in Long Beach and an additional property she owns in San Pedro. Although she has worked out an agreement with her lender for the Long Beach property, the San Pedro home is still in default and faces foreclosure.[11]

She also initially did not disclose a loan from a strip club owner when on the City Council, public records show.[12]

Rep. Richardson's Sacramento home has been declared a 'public nuisance', as reported by the LA Times. The Code Enforcement Department in Sacramento has declared her home a "public nuisance" and threatened up to $5,000 a month fine if she does not fix up the property. The city action was prompted when police were called twice to investigate reports of a suspicious person in or around the house. Officers called the Code Enforcement Department, which boarded up a broken door. In July inspectors visited the house twice and found "junk and debris" in the driveway and "rotting fruit on the ground in the rear yard which creates rodent harborage."[10]

Rep. Richardson is currently under investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics as a result of her ties to this Sacramento home. [13]


  1. ^ Mitchell, John L. "Racial issues take a back seat in 37th, 'Multiracial support has Laura Richardson poised to represent a largely Latino district. Her take: `We are a new America, very diverse.'" Los Angeles Times. July 3, 2007. Accessed July 16, 2007.
  2. ^ Kapochunas, Rachel. "Early Brush With Racism Set Rep.-Elect Richardson on Political Path". Retrieved 2007-08-24. 
  3. ^ Puente, Kelly. "Lukewarm response to Safe Climate Act", Long Beach Post-Telegram, December 8, 2007.
  4. ^ demcd.xls
  5. ^ Viles, Peter (May 21, 2008). "Report: California Congresswoman walked away from $578K mortgage". L.A. Land (Los Angeles Times). Retrieved 2008-05-21.  Richardson borrowed the $15,000 for the closing costs from the seller.
  6. ^ Viles, Peter (May 21, 2008). "Report: California Congresswoman walked away from $578K mortgage". L.A. Land (Los Angeles Times). Retrieved 2008-05-21. 
  7. ^ Capitol Weekly: The Newspaper of California State Government and Politics
  8. ^ York, Anthony (May 20, 2008). "Foreclosure tale shows that nobody is immune from crisis". Capitol Weekly (Capitol Weekly Group). Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  9. ^ Maddaus, Gene (June 9, 2008). "WaMu giving Richardson a break?". Daily Breeze (Los Angeles Newspaper group). Retrieved 2008-06-09. 
  10. ^ a b Gottlieb, Jeff (August 15, 2008). "Rep. Richardson's Sacramento home declared 'public nuisance'". LA Times.,0,912962.story?page=1. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  11. ^ Maddaus, Gene. "Housing woes mount for Rep. Laura Richardson", Long Beach Post-Telegram, May 23, 2008.
  12. ^ Canalis, John (June 14, 2008). "Representative late revealing two loans for homes". Press Telegram. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  13. ^,0,1301602.story

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Juanita Millender-McDonald
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 37th congressional district

August 21, 2007–Present
Succeeded by


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