Oakland, California , United States
|| April 30, 1945
Jan 09, 2017 10:39pm
Italian - Catholic -
|Info||Don Perata was elected to the State Senate in 1998 to represent a vibrant and culturally rich East Bay district which includes the cities of Oakland, Alameda, Piedmont, Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville, Richmond, El Cerrito, San Pablo, and El Sobrante. |
The 55-year-old Democrat -- a former two-term Alameda County Supervisor, State Assemblymember, and longtime public school teacher -- has advocated for cleaner and better-equipped school classrooms, better pay for teachers, school accountability, and additional funding to improve student performance. He has also fought for greater access to health care, an overhaul of urban transportation to reduce traffic congestion, cleaner water, increased fines for corporate polluters, and gun control.
A life-long Alameda County resident, Perata was the first local legislator to organize a ban on assault weapons. His twelve-year effort was finally realized when, as a State Senator, he wrote the strongest assault weapons law in the nation.
In the area of education, Perata has focused on reforming troubled urban schools by securing state funding for experts to create plans for reorganization and improvement, and to provide oversight. He has organized local efforts to bring parents into schools to evaluate progress, and spearheaded efforts to clean and revitalize dilapidated school sites. He has authored legislation to increase teacher salaries when teachers undergo additional training and accept additional responsibilities, and to provide incentives for teachers to come to and stay in urban school districts. He is currently author of a bill to increase funding for intensive, proven reading programs to improve student scores.
A long-time advocate of economic development and revitalization efforts, Perata also supports programs aimed at preparing tomorrow�s graduates for jobs in the "New Economy," through local school-to-career endeavors and training programs.
Perata has also carried legislation to remove the dangerous additive MTBE from gasoline, and pushed for consumer labeling of gas pumps. He is a strong proponent of funding for public transportation, and secured $12 million for Bay Area ferry service to reduce congestion on freeways. He supported the state transportation bond and has authored measures to improve Bay Area congestion planning. He is also a strong proponent for more parks and open space: during his four-year tenure in the State Legislature, he has secured some $13 million for urban park projects in the East Bay. This year, Perata authored legislation to impose higher penalties on corporate polluters, and to make it easier for state officials to prevent oil spills in the Bay and along the state's coast.
As a State Assemblyman, he secured $27 million for ovarian and prostate cancer research and co-wrote a law that requires annual state funding for these diseases. He is author of laws requiring health plans to cover cancer detection tests, reduce the time health plans can take to approve or deny health care services, and require that decisions to deny care be made by health care providers - not accountants. He also co-drafted a law that requires HMOs and insurers to provide the same coverage for mental illness that is provided for physical illness. Recently, he authored legislation to provide mental health services to mentally ill juvenile offenders, to make it easier for seniors to get prescription drug coverage under Medi-Cal, and to increase access to substance abuse treatment.