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Lucille Roybal-Allard: 1941—: U.S. Congresswoman Biography

No Interest In Holding Office, Brought Grass-roots Groups Together, Moved To The National Stage

Lucille Roybal-Allard: 1941—: U.S. Congresswoman.

In 1992 Lucille Roybal-Allard became the first woman of Mexican descent to win election to the U.S. Congress. Politics had been a part of her life from childhood; her father, Edward Roybal, served in Congress for 30 years. She developed a strong commitment to social justice early on, and became well known and respected for her activity in community organizations. Her reputation served her well; when she decided at last to run for the California state assembly she was rewarded with a decisive win. Roybal-Allard's efforts in the assembly and in Congress led to the passage of laws to protect the environment, to uphold the rights of women, and to increase opportunities for working families.

Lucille Roybal-Allard was born on June 12, 1941, in Los Angeles, California. Her father was then a public health educator for the California Tuberculosis Association. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Upon his return, he became active in community affairs and in 1949 was elected as a Democrat to the Los Angeles City Council. He served on the council until 1962, when he was elected to Congress, the first Hispanic representative to win in California since 1879. His wife, Lucille Beserra Roybal, shared his commitment and worked closely with his campaign. The earliest campaigns, which were run from the Roybal home, were a family activity, and more than once the Roybal children were enlisted to help stuff campaign material into envelopes.

Aside from being a politician's daughter, Roybal-Allard led a normal life in Boyle Heights, home to much of the Mexican-American community of Los Angeles. She attended parochial schools and earned a bachelor's degree from California State University in 1965. During these years she also married and had two children, Lisa and Ricardo. Her second marriage was to Edward Allard III, owner of a consulting firm.

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