|Member of the California State Assembly
from the 21st district
December 6, 2004 – November 30, 2010
|Preceded by||Joe Simitian|
|Succeeded by||Rich Gordon|
November 12, 1943|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||July 3, 2014
Redwood City, California, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of California, Berkeley
Ira Ruskin (November 12, 1943 – July 3, 2014) was an American politician from Redwood City, California. A Democrat, he is a former member of the California State Assembly and of Redwood City Council. He and his wife Cheryl (a licensed landscape designer) resided in Redwood City, California; the couple had no children.
From 1995 to 2004, Ruskin was a member of the Redwood City Council. From 1999 to 2001, he also served as Mayor of Redwood City. In 2004, Ruskin was elected to the California Assembly. He defeated Republican Steve Poizner in the general election. Ruskin had local government experience but initially lacked major campaign funding. The Assembly race heated up when Poizner donated $6 million to his own campaign. Ruskin began fundraising from California's public employee unions and ultimately won the race.
In November 2006 Ruskin was re-elected to the California State Assembly by a wide margin of 75,388 votes, 67.4% to his challenger Virginia Chang Kiraly's 36,628 votes, (32.6%). He was re-elected to his third Assembly term in 2008. Term limits in California prevented Ruskin from running for re-election in 2010. Ruskin plans to run for a State Senate seat in 2012.
Ruskin was the recipient of the first-ever award from DAWN (a Democratic feminist organization) to a man for "excellent work performed on behalf of freedom and equality for women." He helped bring attention to the plight of the Bosnian Muslim women in a public forum which included the live transatlantic interview of rape camp survivors. Ruskin became involved in public policy and politics after working on rape as a genocidal weapon in Bosnia.
In May 2011 Ruskin told friends he had been diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor and was withdrawing from the political arena to concentrate on his health. On July 3, 2014, he died at age 70.
- Ruskin defeats Poizner, stanford.edu; accessed July 6, 2014.
- Ruskin out due to term limits, sfexaminer.com; accessed July 6, 2014.
- Former Redwood City Mayor Ira Ruskin passes away http://spectrummagazine.blogspot.com/2014/07/former-redwood-city-mayor-ira-ruskin.html
- Ira Ruskin Political History, joincalifornia.com; accessed July 6, 2014.
- Ruskin profile, Smart Voter website; accessed July 6, 2014.
- Poizner finally concedes to Ruskin, latc.com, November 10, 2004.
- Ruskin, 1; $4 Million, 0 The Cardinal Inquirer, stanford.edu, November 3, 2004.
- "Ex-Assemblyman Ira Ruskin Succumbs to Brain Tumor", San Jose Inside, July 5, 2014.