Lou Papan

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Lou Papan
Lou Papan.jpg
Lou Papan
Member, Daly City Council
In office
1970–1972
Constituency Daly City, California
California State Assemblymember
In office
1972–1986
Preceded by Leo Ryan
Succeeded by Jackie Speier
Constituency 27th District; renumbered
19th District in 1974
California State Assemblymember
In office
1996–2002
Preceded by Jackie Speier
Succeeded by Gene Mullin
Constituency 19th District
Personal details
Born (1928-08-02)August 2, 1928
Died April 28, 2007(2007-04-28) (aged 78)
California,  United States
Spouse(s) Irene
Children Virginia, Diane, John
Residence  United States
Occupation Politician
Religion Greek Orthodox

Louis John Papan (August 2, 1928–April 28, 2007) was a Democratic California politician. He was known as the "Dean of the Assembly" for his 20 years in the California State Assembly.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

The son of Greek immigrants, was named Elias Papandricopoulos (Greek: Ηλίας Παναδρικόπουλος) but the doctor did not know how to spell Elias and thus he was named Luis Papan. Lou Papan spoke only Greek when he began elementary school.[1] He served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army during World War II and a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War.[3] He received his BA in Economics in 1951 from Syracuse University in New York.[3][4] After graduating from Syracuse, Papan was a Special Agent in the FBI in San Francisco and Chicago.[3] He became a real estate broker and general insurance agent in 1958 and co-founded the Peninsula Bank of Commerce in 1981.[3]

Public office[edit]

In 1970, he was elected to the Daly City Council.[4] He was first elected to the California State Assembly in 1972, where he served until 1986.[3] Papan served as Speaker Pro Tempore from 1974 to 1976, and chaired the powerful Assembly Rules Committee from 1976 to 1986.[3] Instead of seeking reelection to an eighth term in the Assembly in 1986, Papan ran for the 8th State Senate District seat but was defeated by independent candidate Quentin L. Kopp.

After leaving office in 1986, Papan was succeeded by Jackie Speier and did not return to the Assembly until 1996 when Speier vacated the seat. Papan was re-elected in 1998 and 2000 with over 70% of the vote in his district.[5][6][7] Papan was the Chair of the Assembly Banking and Finance Committee.[3]

In 2006, Papan again ran for the State Senate in the 8th District - but came in third place in the Democratic primary, losing to Leland Yee.

Family[edit]

Papan's wife of 42 years, Irene, died in 2000.[4] They had two daughters Virginia and Diane. Virginia formerly worked as a Deputy Attorney General and now is the Deputy Director of the California Office of Criminal Justice Planning. Diane practices law in San Francisco.[3] Papan was nicknamed "Leadfoot Lou" for his fast commutes between Sacramento and his Peninsula home, trips that brought him a good share of speeding tickets. Few people knew he raced home to be with his son John, who suffered from a rare congenital condition that eventually ended his life at age 21 in 1981.[1][2] The family set up John's Closet—an organization that provides new clothes for needy children. Papan was well known as an advocate for disabled children.[3]

Memorial tributes[edit]

  • Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said, "Lou Papan was a dedicated public servant who devoted himself to improving the lives of all Californians. From Daly City Councilmember to chairman of the state Assembly Rules Committee, Lou's hard work and distinguished service is an inspiration to all. Maria and I offer our deepest condolences to Lou's family during this difficult time."[8]
  • Congressman Tom Lantos placed the following statement in the Congressional Record: "I rise with sadness today to share with my colleagues in the House news of the death of a California public servant from my home district. Lou Papan, known as the "Dean" of the California State Assembly, died unexpectedly on Saturday, April 28, 2007. He was 78 years old. Lou Papan was practically a force of nature in state and local politics."[1]
  • "He was an incredible guy," said Alex Tourk, who worked on his Assembly staff for four years. "He was one of those rare politicians who would advocate publicly what he believed privately."[4]
  • Known as "The Enforcer" for his ability to shepherd votes, Lou Papan's shadow was cast large in Sacramento, over both opponents and supporters.[1][4]

Awards/Honors[edit]

  • Papan received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 1996. The award is given by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) to ethnic Americans who have made significant contributions to this country.[1][3]
  • The California State Legislature renamed a section of Highway 1, from the Daly City border south through the City of Pacifica along the scenic coast, as the "Louis J. Papan Highway." He is given credit for successfully securing funding to purchase beachfront property in Pacifica for the State Parks system.[1]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Bud Lycett
Member,
Daly City Council

1970–1972
Succeeded by
Victor Kyriakis
California Assembly
Preceded by
Leo Ryan
California State Assemblymember
27th District

1972–1974
Succeeded by
John Thurman
Preceded by
Leo McCarthy
California State Assemblymember
19th District

1974–1986
Succeeded by
Jackie Speier
Preceded by
Jackie Speier
California State Assemblymember
19th District

1996–2002
Succeeded by
Gene Mullin