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Grace Napolitano: 1936—: Politician, Business Executive

Spokeswoman For Citizen Well-being

Napolitano deliberately avoided a one-issue political career. She spearheaded suicide prevention among teenaged Latinas, who had the highest rate of self-destruction of any ethnic or racial group in the country. In 2001 a Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill underwrote an expanded school-based mental health service that focused on the needs of young Latinas in Southeast Los Angeles County. Additional federal funding that Napolitano directed toward district problems included grants for a youth center and sheriff's department office in La Puente, funds to lower diesel emissions by replacing diesel vehicles with environment-friendly models burning compressed natural gas, water recycling in Rio Hondo, and drainage and sewage systems to prevent flood damage to Norwalk, Pico Rivera, and Whittier. To limit congestion on I-5 between Norwalk and Santa Fe Springs, she secured $500,000 toward improving roadways and installing a commercial vehicle advanced traveler information system. She also supported the spending of $7.5 million to equip a 35-mile eastern Los Angeles rail corridor with a light rail transit system. A bonus to her district was the rail project's creation of new jobs and protection of existing jobs throughout the San Gabriel Valley.

Napolitano's outreach continued to target needy venues. On June 29, 2000, she addressed the House Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power on behalf of CALFED, an alliance of state and federal agencies with management and regulatory responsibility in the Bay-Delta Estuary. In her address she called for substantial water storage, state and federal water regulation, and assurances of drinking water quality in urban areas. That same month, she promoted dozens of national Latino organizations at the First National Latino Policy Summit on Domestic Violence, which pooled the wisdom of community activists, advocates, practitioners, and researchers to improve the lives of Hispanic citizens. Despite heavy demands on her time, she returned weekly to her family and spent free time talking with voters about their needs and wishes.



Carroll's Federal Directory, Carroll Publishing, 2001.

The Complete Marquis Who's Who, Marquis Who's Who, 2001.


Business Wire, September 1, 1999; September 15, 1999; February 11, 2000; June 20, 2000; October 16, 2000; October 31, 2000; June 21, 2001.

Jet, October 30, 2000.

Journal of Commerce and Commercial, April 18, 1996, p. 1B(2).

PRNewswire, November 4, 1998; August 11, 1999; June 20, 2000. August 11, 1999.

PS: Political Science & Politics, September, 2000.

Sierra, September, 2000.


Additional Information for this profile was obtained through personal telephone interviews with Kevin Su on the Washington, D. C. congressional staff and with Ray Cordova of the district office of U. S. Representative Grace Napolitano in Santa Fe Springs, California.

—Mary Ellen Snodgrass

Additional topics

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