Nicole Parra

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Nicole M. Parra (born February 3, 1970 in Bakersfield, California) was a California State Assemblywoman from 2002–2008. She is a Democrat, who represented the 30th Assembly District which is in California's Central Valley.

Background[edit]

Parra's hometown is Hanford, California. Her father has served Kern County as a Supervisor and her mother works for the Bakersfield Adult School. Parra is Catholic. She attended Highland High School where her brother, Peter, now teaches. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1992 with a B.A. in Economics. In 1998, she earned a J.D. from the Catholic University School of Law in Washington D.C. She has repeatedly failed the California Bar Exam and has consequently never become a licensed California attorney. In 1996, worked for her father Supervisor Pete Parra as a Field Director. Parra spent many years working on behalf of Congressman Cal Dooley. Parra served as Dooley’s campaign manager in 2000 and as his district director from 1998 to 2002.

The 30th District[edit]

The district includes portions of Fresno County, Tulare County and Kern County and all of Kings County.

Political Views[edit]

Parra was widely known as one of the more moderate or conservative members of the California Assembly Democratic Caucus; she chairs the "New Democratic Caucus" which consists of moderate to conservative democrats [1].

Abortion and Reproduction rights[edit]

Parra is pro-choice and supports comprehensive sex education programs over abstinence only programs.

Gay Marriage[edit]

She is against gay marriage and has spoken out against gay marriage on several occasions, although she has stated she supports civil unions.

Business[edit]

Parra is very pro-business (especially pro-farmer) and receives heavy criticism from liberals for her pro-business stance.[citation needed]

Immigration Related Issues[edit]

Parra is pro-immigration and commonly opposes anti-immigrant legislation. In April 2006 Parra attended a rally at Jastro Park in downtown Bakersfield that drew 12,000 people to oppose the bill H.R. 4437, an enforcement only bill that would have made all illegal immigrants felons. She has received criticism from conservatives for supporting driver license for illegal immigrants. However, during election cycles none of her opponents campaigned against her immigration stance to prevent from alienating the district's majority Hispanic population.[citation needed]

Minimum Wage[edit]

In 2006, Parra voted to increase California's minimum wage to $8.00 per hour.

Her Base[edit]

Overall within her district Parra is popular among rural farmers and Hispanics, which make up a vast majority of the population of the 30th assembly district.

Feud with Dean Florez[edit]

She has an ongoing feud with Dean Florez [2]. The feud started when Florez had Michael Rubio run against Parra's father, Pete Parra for Kern County Supervisor. Rubio defeated Parra. In June 2007, Parra allowed several of Florez's bills to die in her agriculture committee without a motion for a vote [3]. Senator Florez's mother Fran Florez, the mayor of Shafter, ran to succeed Parra, who was prevented from seeking reelection in 2008 due to California state term limit. Parra crossed party lines to endorse Fran Florez' Republican opponent, former assistant CHP chief Danny Gilmore, who won by less than 900 votes.

Recognition[edit]

Parra was named the "Fourth Hottest Politician in the World" by Maxim Magazine.

Assembly[edit]

Parra was elected to the Assembly in 2002 by 266 votes [4]. She served as Chair of the Agriculture Committee. She also serves on the Banking & Finance, Insurance, and Water Parks and Wildlife Committees.

Representing a region with a large agricultural sector, Parra has authored several key bills that would aid farmers and workers. She has also created an Agriculture Advisory Group, which gives farmers throughout the district a forum to discuss issues relating to the industry.

Public safety has been one of her Parra's main priorities. She chaired the Select Committee on Megan's Law and Sex Offender Registration. She authored several key bills aimed at strengthening and expanding Megan's Law in California, target methamphetamine dealers, and toughen laws against child pornography.

She was honored by several organizations for her legislation on public safety. Parra has recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the Sexual Assault Investigators Association, the California State Sheriffs Association, the Crime Victims United, and the California Police Chiefs Association. She was named 2003 Legislator of the Year by the California Main Street Alliance and the California Downtown Association based on her efforts to accelerate economic development and secure more jobs for struggling communities around the state. Recently, Assemblywoman Parra was honored with the 2006 Mark Bingham Award for Achievement by the California Alumni Association, the alumni association for her alma mater, the University of California, Berkeley.

Her successful effort in authoring and co-authoring several bills and house resolutions relating to military personnel, veterans and their families has been recognized by several organizations. Parra was the recipient of the California National Guard’s highest honor for a civilian, the Order of California Public Service Award. The California Association of County Veteran Service Officers, the California Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Alliance, the Veterans of Foreign have also honored Parra for her work on behalf of veterans.

On February 1, 2008, Parra announced she would not run for the State Senate.

2002 Election[edit]

Parra entered the open race to succeed Dean Florez, who was running for the State Senate. She won the election over businessman Dean Gardner by 266 votes.

2004 Election[edit]

Parra once again beat Gardner. However, the margin was larger this time as Parra won 55-45%.

2006 Election[edit]

Parra beat retired CHP officer Danny Gilmore by a margin of 52% to 48%.

2008 Election[edit]

Nicole Parra was not eligible to seek a fourth term because of term limits. The Democratic nominee to succeed her was Fran Florez, whose son, Democratic State Senator Dean Florez, is a bitter political rival.

In something of a surprise, Parra crossed party lines to endorse the Republican nominee, Danny Gilmore, who won the close race, angering Parra's fellow Democrats.

Post Assembly Career[edit]

In late January 2009, Parra accepted an appointment from California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to be Director of the Governor's Regional Development Initiatives under the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. On July 16, 2009, Parra announced that she would resign from the agency [5].

Parra supported the candidacy of Carly Fiorina, a Republican, to the United States Senate.[1]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

California Assembly
Preceded by
Dean Florez
California State Assemblywoman, 30th District
December 2, 2002–November 30, 2008
Succeeded by
Danny Gilmore