Barbara Boxer Biography

(Former United States Senator)

Birthday: November 11, 1940 (Scorpio)

Born In: New York City, New York, United States

American Democratic politician and lobbyist Barbara Boxer has served as a United States Senator from California from 1993 to 2017. Initially a stockbroker and researcher, she began her political career as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from California's 6th district and had a decade-long stint in the position. She has also been associated with multiple committees, most notably, as the Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Senate Ethics Committee. She has also brought in a quite a few environmental legislations. She worked to repeal DADT, a discriminatory policy regarding the functions of LGBTQ community members in the US military. Since quitting as a senator, she has been an active lobbyist and public speaker and has worked for several prominent corporations, including a major lobbying and PR firm. She has also appeared on several TV shows and has also penned two novels.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Barbara Sue Levy

Age: 83 Years, 83 Year Old Females


Spouse/Ex-: Stewart Boxer (m. 1962)

children: Douglas Boxer, Nicole Boxer

Born Country: United States

Political Leaders American Women

Height: 4'11" (150 cm), 4'11" Females

Notable Alumni: Brooklyn College

U.S. State: New Yorkers

More Facts

education: Brooklyn College

Childhood, Early Life & Education

Barbara Boxer was born Barbara Levy, on November 11, 1940, in Brooklyn, New York, US, to Ira Levy and Sophie Silvershein Levy, a Jewish couple. In 1958, she graduated from George W. Wingate High School.

In 1962, she obtained a BA degree in economics from Brooklyn College. A Delta Phi Epsilon member, she was also a cheerleader for her college basketball team.

Before she joined politics, she was a stockbroker and researcher at Wall Street securities firms. While looking for work as a stockbroker, she faced a lot of problems, as she was a woman in a male-dominated industry.

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Career as a Representative

In Brooklyn, Barbara Boxer led a protest in her apartment complex against the landlord. In California, she got involved in the protests surrounding the Vietnam War. Soon, she began participating in lower-level political initiatives in Marin County, including a program to help high-school dropouts.

Boxer also worked for a local newspaper for a couple of years and then worked for Democratic US Rep. John Burton as an aide. In 1976, she won the Marin County Board of Supervisors election and served as their first female president. She continued in the post for six years.

In 1983, she was elected as a Member of the US House of Representatives from California's 6th district, replacing her predecessor, Phillip Burton. While in this position, she made efforts to reduce unnecessary military expenses.

Barbara Boxer also brought in legal reforms related to women’s rights. In 1983, she led a group of women in support of Anita Hill, who accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexually harassing her. She was also a member of the 1983-established Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families.

Career as a Senator

When Senator Alan Cranston retired in 1992, Barbara Boxer beat Mel Levine and Leo McCarthy in the Democratic primary and Republican candidate Bruce Herschensohn in the general election, to take over as the US Senator from California in January 1993.

In 1998, she won for a second time, beating California State Treasurer Matt Fong. In 2004, she defeated GOP candidate and former California Secretary of State Bill Jones. In 2010, she beat Republican candidate Carly Fiorina.

She served as a senator from 1993 to 2017. Throughout her senate career, she has been associated with multiple committees, such as those on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Budget, Environment and Public Works, the Joint Economic Committee, Appropriations, Foreign Relations, and Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

She is particularly known for her efforts in bringing about reforms in environmental laws. For instance, in 2007, she brought in a long-forgotten water resources and infrastructure bill to the forefront. Though it was vetoed initially, it was later passed, as both the House and Senate overrode the veto. Eventually, in 2014, the Water Resources Development Act came into force.

As the chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, she also worked towards legislative initiatives to reduce climate change. She redefined the federal definition of “lead free,” controlled the spread of invasive species, and named a 12,000-foot mountain located in the eastern Sierras after Andrea Lawrence, a noted conservationist and Olympic skier.

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Over the course of her career as a senator, Boxer also offered federal funds to states that intended to redesign bridges to help them deal with earthquakes. She launched scientific research initiatives related to organ transplants between HIV-positive patients and worked to improve mental health care for female veterans. She also worked to strengthen the US’s strategic relationship with Israel.

Barbara Boxer supported legislations such as the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. She co-sponsored a bill to repeal the policy regarding the service of LGBTQ members of the community in the US military, named Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). In 2011, DADT eventually ended for good.

Post-Senate Life

Barbara Boxer announced she would not run for re-election in January 2015 but wished to remain politically active. During the 2016 presidential run, she supported Hillary Clinton wholeheartedly. Just before leaving office in 2017, she brought in a legislation to discontinue the electoral college.

Since quitting the senate, she has been an active public speaker, a lobbyist, and a foreign agent. She has also worked with her daughter on a weekly podcast.

In January 2020, she joined the lobbying and PR firm Mercury Public Affairs. She has also worked as a consultant for companies such as Lyft and Poseidon Water.

She was also associated with the Chinese surveillance manufacturer Hikvision as a foreign agent. The company was allegedly involved in the mass persecution of Uyghur Muslims in China, causing issues for Boxer’s image. She thus later removed herself from the company.

TV Shows, Sitcoms & Books

Barbara Boxer has appeared on several shows such as Murphy Brown and Gilmore Girls and even had a cameo in the 2000 film Traffic. She has been seen in the sitcom Parks and Recreation and the talk show Chelsea, too. Boxer has also penned books such as her 2005 novel A Time to Run and her 2009 novel Blind Trust.

Personal Life

In 1962, the year she graduated college, Barbara Boxer married Stewart Boxer. In 1965, the couple moved to the San Francisco Bay area in northern California.

They had two children, a son named Doug and a daughter named Nicole. In 2005, the couple moved from Rancho Mirage in southern California from Marin County.

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