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Chapter 5: Debra Bowen

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Debra Bowen
Secretary of State, California

Born October 27, 1955, in Rockford, Illinois.

Debra Bowen’s early experience challenging the status quo began in Rockford, Illinois, where she orchestrated a junior-high school protest over a school policy that barred girls from wearing pants to class (resulting in her being thrown out of her geometry class). Also, she resisted faculty censorship of the student-run newspaper.

After receiving a BA in communications from Michigan State University (1976) and a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law (1979), she volunteered and practiced law in California.

Ms. Bowen served six years in the California State Assembly (1992–1998) and eight years in the California State Senate (1998–2006). As a legislator, she authored a pioneering law (1993) that put California legislative information online, giving the public access to information about bills, committee analyses, state legislators’ voting records, and much more.


  

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