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Grace Napolitano: 1936—: Politician, Business Executive

Built A People-friendly Reputation

Napolitano quickly aimed her activism at hot-button environmental issues. In September of 2000, she earned endorsement of the Sierra Club, supporters of a cleaner world and protection for the endangered ecosystem. She denounced the insidious practice of "con-tract bundling," the consolidation of two or more procurement requirements into a single contract, as a deterrent to the flow of business capital to new, miniority, and female entrepreneurs. In October of 2000, she joined backers of small business in applauding President Bill Clinton's executive order directing federal agencies to bolster business for minority and disadvantaged entrepreneurs by increasing opportunities for subcontracts.

In a partisan effort that included the Northern Ute Indian tribe, Napolitano mobilized political effort in February of 2000 to protect the Metropolitan Water District from a potential disaster triggered by an 11-story heap of uranium waste 600 feet north of the Colorado River near Moab, Utah. She condemned the refuse left by a bankrupt factory that daily leaked some 28,000 gallons of radioactive waste plus arsenic, lead, and ammonia into groundwater daily. According to her reasoning, the outflow of contaminants endangered the drinking water of seven states, including California. She and other Californians demanded immediate action to protect the Lake Havasu intake from the Colorado River Aqueduct.

The resulting pact focused on the quality and reliability of the primary drinking water supply to 17 million citizens, who comprised 25 percent of mostly urban Southern California. The initiative prefaced Napolitano's subsequent promotion of legislation forcing a cleanup of the 130 acres soiled by 10.5 million tons of radioactive mill tailings. In October of 2000, President Bill Clinton made the cleanup an element of the Floyd G. Spence National Defense Authorization Act, which he signed into law. Napolitano remarked that the year-long campaign to rid the area of a significant agrarian and human health hazard had produced joint action by leaders throughout the Southwest.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Grace Napolitano: 1936—: Politician to Richard (Wayne) Peck (1934-) Biography - CareerGrace Napolitano: 1936—: Politician, Business Executive Biography - Grassroots Beginning In Politics, Spirited U. S. Congresswoman, Campaigned For Health And The Environment