Cruz M. Bustamante: 1953—: Lieutenant Governor, Politician
Laid Groundwork During First Term
California's lieutenant governor is second in command in the state. The lieutenant governor assumes the role of governor if the governor is unable to perform his or her duties. The lieutenant governor also serves as the president of the state senate, regent of the University of California, and trustee of the California State University System. While some politicians describe the lieutenant governor's position as a thankless job that is constantly overshadowed by the governor, Bustamante has aimed to make the most of his position. He has not been content to just sit on state boards and commissions. Instead he has launched his own statewide initiatives, in addition to attending to his regular duties.
Among Bustamante's many accomplishments as lieutenant governor, he has worked to improve education in the state. In particular, he established the SchiffBustamante Standards-Based Instructional Materials Program to provide proper textbooks for school children. Bustamante also worked for equal access to higher education and promoted educational incentives for college students. He was also involved in the development of a new University of California campus in Merced in the Central Valley, an area of California that had been underserved in the area of education.
Bustamante was in office during California's highly publicized and very expensive energy crisis at the turn of the century and he quickly stepped up to address the problem. In May of 2001 Bustamante filed a civil law suit in the Los Angeles Superior Court against five energy generators for overcharging California residents for electricity. He also sponsored legislation that would permit the criminal prosecution of companies that manipulated the energy market. Additionally, Bustamante appeared in statewide public service announcements to encourage Californians to conserve energy.
One of Bustamante's original initiatives as lieutenant governor was the creation of the Commission for One California to promote racial tolerance and diversity. The committee held hearings on the topics of racial profiling by law enforcement, diversity in the media, and tolerance in schools. Bustamante also led the government outreach effort to Sikh and Arab-American communities after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States that left these communities vulnerable to ethnic and religious discrimination and violence. Most notably, Bustamante took a stand against Proposition 187, a 1994 ballot measure to cut social services for illegal immigrants which was approved by 60 percent of California voters. This controversial and politically contentious issue put Bustamante at odds with Governor Gray Davis, but Bustamante stood firm on his position. "This is a matter of principle to me," Bustamante told Robert B. Gunnison of the San Francisco Chronicle in April of 1999. "I am not going to back off this issue until it's resolved."
- Cruz M. Bustamante: 1953—: Lieutenant Governor, Politician - Continued To Push For Ethnic Education
- Cruz M. Bustamante: 1953—: Lieutenant Governor, Politician - Moderate Politics Lead To Lieutenant Governorship
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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Katie Burke (1953–) Biography - Personal to Galeazzo Ciano (1903–1944) BiographyCruz M. Bustamante: 1953—: Lieutenant Governor, Politician Biography - Childhood Filled With Work And Values, Moderate Politics Lead To Lieutenant Governorship, Laid Groundwork During First Term