Carole Migden

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Carole Migden
Carol Migden.jpg
Member of the California Senate
from the 3rd district
In office
December 6, 2004 – December 1, 2008
Preceded by John L. Burton
Succeeded by Mark Leno
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 13th district
In office
December 2, 1996 – December 2, 2002
Succeeded by Mark Leno
Personal details
Born (1948-08-14) August 14, 1948 (age 67)
Nationality  United States
Political party Democratic
Residence San Francisco, California

Carole Migden (born August 14, 1948) is an American politician from San Francisco, California who represented the third district of the California State Senate from 2004 to 2008 and the 13th district of the California State Assembly from 1996 to 2002.

Migden's former district, the 3rd Senate district, includes parts of San Francisco, Sonoma County, and Marin County.[1] She was previously a member of the California State Assembly (1996–2002) and Chairwoman of the California Board of Equalization (2002–2004), the nation's only publicly elected tax commission. Prior to that, she had served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (1991–1996). She also chaired the San Francisco Democratic Party for eight years and is a member of the Democratic National Committee.

Migden was the Chairperson of California Senate Labor & Industrial Relations Committee and the Chairperson of the Senate Majority Caucus. She was previously the Senate Appropriations Committee Chair. She was, at the time, the only openly lesbian state legislator from Northern California (Sheila Kuehl, who served from 2000 to 2008, and Christine Kehoe, who has served since 2004, are from Southern California).

State legislature[edit]

In the State Assembly, Migden served for five years as Chairwoman of the Assembly Committee on Appropriations. She was the first woman and the first lesbian to chair that committee. She also served for four years as a conferee on the state's Joint Budget Conference Committee, which writes the final version of California's state budget. As a member of the State Assembly, Migden authored legislation to create California's domestic partner registry, promote children's health, preserve the old growth Headwaters Forest, increase accountability in K-12 schools, protect borrowers from predatory and deceptive lending practices, protect consumers from manipulation by energy generators, and promote the use of emergency contraception.[2][3]

Migden authored the ‘‘Clean Water Act’’ in 1999 that imposed tougher penalties on industrial polluters dumping harmful toxins in California waterways. She also authored the Headwaters Forest and SF Wetlands/Cargill legislation that enabled the state preservation of the ancient Headwaters Forest and restoration of the San Francisco Baylands into a wildlife habitat and recovery of endangered species.[4]

Over the last seven years Migden has authored legislation for domestic partnership in California providing benefits to the LGBT community and unmarried senior citizens. Assembly Bill 26 in 1999 marked the first time in the nation a state legislature passed a domestic partnership statute without forcible intervention of the courts. (Assembly Bill 26).[5][6]

Migden’s SB 565 provided for the legalization of the transfer of property between domestic partners without reassessment for tax purposes (Senate Bill 565) [7] and provided for the filing of domestic partner income-tax returns under the same status as married couples. (Senate Bill 1827).[8]

In 2005, Migden's SB 663 closed tax loopholes allowing corporate giants to put millions in offshore tax shelters and depleting the state of revenues. (SB 663).[citation needed] Migden has authored legislation to improve foster care that created new programs such as transitional housing, increased savings accounts, and adoption incentives for parents adopting teenagers.[9]

Migden has authored legislation providing for rapid HIV testing (AB 1263),[10] protection of health care workers from needle injuries (AB 1046) and enabling of HIV positive people to have healthy children (SB 443).[11]

In 2002 Migden authored legislation (AB 1860) requiring the state to provide information regarding the “morning after” contraception to female victims of sexual assault.[12]

Staunchly opposed to the war in Iraq, Migden became one of the first critics of the war and passed a Senate resolution making California the first state in the nation to formally oppose the surge of troops in Iraq.[citation needed]


Senator Carole Migden with Senator Leland Yee in the 2007 Gay Pride Parade

In the fall of 2007 Migden helped resolve a five-year- standoff between Marin county and the state of California regarding property taxes taken by the State and diverted to fund education deficits. With rising property tax values, the state decided to withhold an additional 4 million of county generated tax revenues to pay for programs for troubled children throughout California. Marin officials claimed the state was forcing the county to shoulder an unfair degree of state oriented funding. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed two bills pushed forward by Migden to resolve the issue. Migden's third bill passed and resulted in cutting the amount of surplus funds the county will annually pay to the state by half. The bill resulted in an extra 1.9 million a year for Marin County and a total return of 24.7 million to the area.[13]


After joining the Senate in 2004, Migden had three chiefs of staff. Staff members commonly referred to serving under Migden as "combat tours." Migden was rated the worst member to work for in the Capitol Weekly which conducted a staff survey. The San Francisco Examiner called Migden "Sacramento's scariest boss."[14][15] She was repeatedly reprimanded for her hostile behavior in the state legislature, including verbal attacks on peace officers who are charged with keeping lawmakers safe.[14]

When Migden was chairwoman of the powerful Assembly appropriations committee, which determines whether hundreds of bills live or die, she routinely held fundraisers during committee lunch breaks, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. When Migden headed the Senate Appropriations Committee, she put her title on a fundraiser invitation. In 2005, Migden pressed the "aye" button on behalf of Guy Houston, a Republican, in the California Assembly of which Migden was no longer a member.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Migden was born August 14, 1948, in New York City. Migden is a member of the Jewish faith. Migden has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Adelphi University and a Master of Arts degree from Sonoma State University.[17]


In February 2004, she married Cristina Arguedas, a criminal defense attorney[18] and her partner since 1985, in a ceremony at San Francisco City Hall officiated by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.[19] That marriage was later annulled by the California Supreme Court.[20]


On May 23, 2007, Migden announced that she was diagnosed with leukemia in 1997 (about a year into her first Assembly term). She was only expected to live 3–5 years after her diagnosis.[21]

Migden underwent rigorous and difficult chemotherapies for several years before finally becoming a participant in clinical trial which ultimately got FDA approval for Gleevec,[22] which has proven to be a watershed cancer drug. She has been in complete remission for several years.

Driving history[edit]

In 1996, Migden ran a stop sign by the State Capitol and crashed into a 1990 Dodge Spirit sedan owned by Teresa Latham. The crash injured Latham and destroyed Latham's car. Latham claimed that Migden did not "seem concerned at all about the situation."[23]

On May 18, 2007, Migden crashed her SUV into a sedan which was stopped at a red light, injuring Ellen Butawan and her 3-year-old daughter, who were sent to the emergency room.[24] Migden claims that she may have suffered from an adverse response to her leukemia treatment that led her to drive erratically.[21][25] 911 tapes released in August show other drivers who saw her during her 30-mile trip along I-80 were panicking as they reported seeing her hit the center divider, and repeatedly come close to hitting other cars, before finally hitting one.[26] One motorist claimed Migden told her, "You can't talk to me like that. I'm a senator."[14] Migden voluntarily ceased driving as she continued to undergo treatment and as medical tests were pursued. Migden claimed that her "wild ride" occurred during state business, so that the Department of General Services paid $335,000 to Butawan in July 2009.[27]

In May 2007, Migden said "I owe an explanation to the public and myself and, in particular, the person I hurt."[21]

On August 10, 2007, Migden entered a nolo contendere (no contest) plea to charges of reckless driving, paid a $710 fine and was sentenced to two years of probation.[28]


In 1998 Migden was named “Rookie of the year” award by the California Journal. In 1999, Migden received “Legislator of the Year” honors from the California School Employees Association.[citation needed] and the National Center for Lesbian Rights' "Lesbian Leadership Award". In 2000, she was recognized with the "Affordable Housing Leadership Award". In 2001, Migden was named "Legislator of the Year" by the California National Organization for Women.

Election 2008[edit]

Seeking a second term in the state senate, Migden failed to win renomination in the 2008 primary election held on 2008-06-03. She finished second in a three-way race. Assemblyman Mark Leno won the nomination, while Migden finished slightly ahead of former Assemblyman Joe Nation from El Verano.[29] She was the first legislator to lose a renomination since Assemblyman Brian Setencich lost his primary race in 1996. The election was won by Democrat Mark Leno.

The race was one of the costliest legislative races in the state.[30] Migden came into the race with $647,000 in the bank from past races, but according to the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), she did not properly transfer campaign funds. The FPPC investigators found 89 violations in campaign finance reporting.[31] The FPPC originally prevented her from using the $647,000 from previous races. On March 6, Migden filed a legal challenge against the FPPC, claiming the FPPC ruling had violated her right to free speech.[32] The FPPC settled the dispute with Migden for a record $350,000 fine.[31] Richie Ross, Migden's campaign consultant, called the issues in the complaint legitimate, saying, "There's no excuse, and she will have to take her legitimate lumps. I know it, and she knows it."[33]

Democratic delegates at the state party convention in March 2008 voted not to endorse Migden 742–298.[34]


  1. ^ California Senate District 3 Map
  2. ^ Senator Carole Migden - Senator Migden
  3. ^ Carole Migden Leading: Carole's Issues
  4. ^ [1] Archived September 30, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ AB 26 Assembly Bill - Bill Analysis
  6. ^ Gay & Lesbian History Timeline
  7. ^ ACLU News: Assembly Passes Landmark Domestic Partner Rights Expansion Despite Right-Wing Campaign to Nix the Bill
  8. ^ 2006 Legislation - Equality California
  9. ^
  10. ^ AB 1263 Assembly Bill - Bill Analysis
  11. ^ Senator Carole Migden - Sen. Migden’S Bill Making It Safe For Women To Conceive When Partner Is Hiv Positive Passes Assembly
  12. ^ State Politics & Policy | California Assembly Unanimously Passes Bill Requiring Hospitals to Provide EC to Rape Survivors -
  13. ^ "Migden's efforts result in a windfall - Marin Independent Journal". Retrieved 2010-09-30. 
  14. ^ a b c Rau, Jordan (May 28, 2007). "Controversy has followed legislator". Los Angeles Times. 
  15. ^ Santa Rosa Press Democrat: CLOSE TO HOME: WOMEN AND SEXISM. May 4, 2009.
  16. ^ Contra Costa Times: Migden pushes Houston's button at the Wayback Machine (archived December 11, 2005). September 18, 2005.
  17. ^ "Carole Migden". Retrieved December 4, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Ms Cristina Claypoole Arguedas, Attorney". Retrieved November 19, 2015. 
  19. ^ Newsom does the honors for Migden, partner, The San Francisco Chronicle, February 21, 2004
  20. ^ Top State Court Voids S.F.'s Gay Marriages, The San Francisco Chronicle, August 13, 2004
  21. ^ a b c Lucas, Greg (May 24, 2007). "Migden says she's battling leukemia / She suspects medication is a factor in accidents /". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  22. ^ Imatinib mesylate (Gleevec) - National Cancer Institute
  23. ^ How's Carole Migden's Driving?: An 11-Year Grudge
  24. ^
  25. ^ SFist: Carole Migden's Health Revelations
  26. ^ > News > State - 911 tapes show California senator sent other drivers into panic
  27. ^
  28. ^ Migden pleads no contest to reckless driving
  29. ^ Election Night Results - CA Secretary of State
  30. ^ Marin Independent Journal - State Senate race keeps heating up
  31. ^ a b John Diaz (2008-03-18). "State campaign watchdog levies record fine against Migden". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  32. ^ Migden Sues FFPC Charging Campaign Finance Law Unconstitutional
  33. ^ sfgate column
  34. ^ John Wildermuth (2008-03-31). "Dems refuse to endorse Migden Leno engineers massive rejection at state convention". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-04-17. 

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