I can’t remember when Northern California has had this much leadership in the Senate and it will be interesting to see how it unfolds for our state.
Barbara Boxer, mover and shaker
California senator is at peak of power thanks to Democrats' big triumph in November elections.
By David Whitney - Bee Washington Bureau
Published 12:00 am PST Sunday, December 10, 2006
Barbara Boxer sweeps into the Senate radio and television studio, cushioned by her posse of aides. The room is packed with reporters, cameras and digital recorders all pointed at her. They are there to hear her talk about -- bipartisanship?
It's another sign of the times.
The liberal California Democrat began the 109th congressional session 23 months ago with such flamboyance that she alone challenged certifying the 2004 Ohio presidential vote because of "irregularities." She later stopped just short of calling Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice a liar at a hearing on the war in Iraq. These days, though, she is sounding restrained.
"I really have two major goals," Boxer said as she began to unveil her agenda as the incoming chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "They are to protect the health of the American people. And the second is to make the environment a bipartisan issue again on Capitol Hill."
At 66, the third-term senator who spent a decade in the House before her 1992 election to the upper chamber, is suddenly at the pinnacle of power by virtue of the Democrats' sweeping victory in the November elections.
The committee she will head has enormous reach, covering everything from global warming and clean air to nuclear safety and flood control.