Sally Lieber

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Sally Lieber
Sally Lieber.jpg
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 22nd Assembly district
In office
Preceded byElaine Alquist
Succeeded byPaul Fong
Personal details
Sally J. Lieber

(1961-04-24) April 24, 1961 (age 58)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)David Phillips
ResidenceMountain View, California
Alma materStanford University

Sally J. Lieber (born April 24, 1961) is a current California State Senate Candidate and was a Democratic California State Assembly member and former Mountain View, California City Council member and Mayor. She represented the 22nd Assembly District that includes the cities of Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Cupertino and portions of Santa Clara and San Jose which are all located in Santa Clara County.

Lieber held the office of Speaker pro Tempore in the 2007-2008 legislative session. In the November 7, 2006 general election she was re-elected to her third and final term in the assembly, beating her Republican opponent Roger Riffenburgh by 68.8% to 31.2%. In 2008, she was term-limited out of the office.

Lieber currently serves as an advisor to the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority,[1] an agency that was created through her legislation, and recently served on Attorney General Kamala D. Harris' transition team working on women's rehabilitation and mental health.

State Senate campaign[edit]

Lieber is a candidate for California State Senate in District 13, being vacated by Jerry Hill. Lieber is one of five Democrats running for a seat.

Early life and education[edit]

Lieber was born in Detroit, Michigan on April 24, 1961. As a youth growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, she was interested in the antiwar and civil rights movements. In junior high school, she wore glasses over her hair so she would look like Gloria Steinem, the feminist icon and revolutionary journalist.

After graduating high school, Lieber worked restoring Victorian houses and specialized in hanging historical wallpapers[2] She spent 10 years at this job. As she hung wallpaper, Lieber's interest in politics grew as she listened to NPR and this encouraged Lieber to return to school.

In her late 20s, she began taking night classes at San Francisco City College. During this time, she met her husband David Phillips, a product management director in Mountain View. The two ran into each other at Burning Man, an art festival held every year in the Nevada desert.[3]

After they married in 1992, Lieber moved to the peninsula and transferred to Foothill College, where she started going to school full-time and became involved in student government. She worked on issues of child care for student parents, campus access for the disabled and student health care. In the mid-1990s, Lieber transferred to Stanford University with a political science major, working with Luis Fraga.

Early political career[edit]

The 37-year-old Lieber, still a senior at Stanford, launched her campaign for city government in 1998. Lieber won this election, as the top vote-getter of seven candidates and served as Vice Mayor and Mayor. She also served as the City's representative on the Valley Transportation Authority's Board of Directors and as Chair of the Santa Clara Valley Water District's Water Commission. In 2001 a group of citizens launched an effort to recall her from office but that effort was abandoned when Lieber won the Democratic primary for the 22nd Assembly District, a seat almost guaranteed to the Democratic candidate, by way of an earlier redistricting of voters in the 22nd Assembly District.[citation needed]

Lieber ran for the 22nd Assembly District seat in 2002. She ran against Santa Clara council member Rod Diridon Jr. who was endorsed by most of the party heavyweights, and fellow Mountain View council member Rosemary Stasek in the Democratic primary. She surprised some a political spectators when she won with 44 percent of the vote. Her volunteers walked to 58,000 households during the campaign.[4]

Lieber won the general election against Sunnyvale Republican Mayor Stan Kawczynski. Kawcynski accused Lieber of voter fraud because Lieber referred to herself on the ballot as a "councilwoman" instead of a "councilmember" and because she referred to her position on the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Board of Directors as a transit director.[5] A lawsuit over the issue was dismissed.[citation needed]

Lieber announced in December 2006 that she would be running for the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, District 5 in the 2008 election against Liz Kniss. She later withdrew from that race.[6]

Lieber was also a 2012 candidate for California's newly drawn 13th State Senate District, which includes northern Santa Clara County and much of San Mateo, but lost to Jerry Hill on November 6, 2012.[7]

State Assembly[edit]

Leadership positions and committees[edit]

During her first term she served as Assistant Speaker pro Tempore. During this term she was the only woman to serve as an officer of the Assembly. She took the oath of office for Speaker pro Tempore on October 24, 2006, becoming the third woman to serve in this role since 1849. She also served on the Assembly's Committee on Insurance, Committee on Judiciary, Committee on Local Government, Committee on Health and as the Chair of the Assembly's Select Committee on Mobilehomes. She previously served as the Assembly Chair of the legislature's Joint Committee on Ending Poverty in California.[citation needed]

Legislative priorities and accomplishments[edit]

Sally Lieber's main legislative priorities include: increased educational and economic opportunities for all citizens of California, protection for the environment, improvements to public health, and increased social justice.

Lieber authored legislation to increase the state's minimum wage, co-authored a greenhouse gas reduction bill, and joint-author of a bill to legalize gay marriage (though that bill was later vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger). Lieber was one of only a few heterosexual legislators to joint-author Mark Leno's marriage equality bill. She has authored legislation that includes efforts increasing pupil immunizations, creating an independent sentencing commission, and improving the living conditions of inmates in California's overcrowded prisons.[citation needed]

Lieber has authored legislation providing for a death penalty moratorium, advocating for the rights of pregnant inmates in state prison (allowing them to have prenatal vitamins, providing larger clothes as they got larger with pregnancy, anti-shackling during childbirth), fighting for victims of human trafficking and battling toxic-dumping corporations. Most recently, she advocated a mandatory vaccine against HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer.

Homelessness experience[edit]

In April 2006, Lieber spent several days living as if she were homeless in Santa Clara Valley, in an attempt to understand the problems the homeless face, and how the legislature can help them. She begged for money, and collected cans and bottles, in order to buy food on the streets of Mountain View and San Jose [1]. Lieber used the experience to encourage the Governor to keep cold weather shelters open for the homeless.[citation needed]

Vehicle emissions testing[edit]

In 2004, Lieber introduced extremely controversial legislation regarding the State vehicle Emission test cycle, which was signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The bi-ennial test previously exempted vehicles over 30 years old, while Lieber's legislation fixed the cutoff date at 1976 in perpetuity. Historical vehicles are not exempt. Car collectors, including Jay Leno, noted that this legislation imposed severe penalties for negligible benefit.[8]

Anti-spanking bill[edit]

Lieber was in the press in January 2007 by announcing she was planning on introducing a bill that will make it illegal in California to spank a child three years-old or younger. She may have been inspired by the law in Canada which prohibits spanking children under the age of 2 years or over the age of 11 years, which was passed in 2004. The proposed bill has since been opposed by some on the basis of the practical aspects of enforcing it, though there are those who support it as well (early polling suggests that it is supported by 23% of Californians).[9] Lieber was not spanked as a child.[10][11]

Political leanings[edit]

Lieber is a staunch liberal. Lieber has been rated at 100% by the Sierra Club California, the California National Organization for Women, California League of Conservation Voters, California School Employees Association, the California Alliance for Retired Americans, and the California Labor Federation AFL-CIO. She has received low ratings from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the California Chamber of Commerce.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority".
  2. ^ "Assemblymember Sally J. Lieber (CA)". Archived from the original on February 13, 2006.
  3. ^ DeBolt, Daniel. "The storied career of Sally Lieber". Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  4. ^ Normand, Vrinda (March 7, 2007). "Spanks for The Memories". Metro Active.
  5. ^ "Mayor's assembly opponent claims ballot fraud".
  6. ^ "Sally Lieber bows out of board race". 2008-02-20. Archived from the original on 2013-02-08. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  7. ^ "California Senate District 13: Jerry Hill beats Sally Lieber in newly drawn district". San Mateo County Times. 2012-11-06. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
  8. ^ Taylor, Michael (September 18, 2004). "CALIFORNIA / Emission responsible? / Classic car buffs upset over pending law that will cut exemptions from smog tests". SFGate. Retrieved May 17, 2007.
  9. ^ Yi, Matthew (January 19, 2007). "Spank a little kid, go to jail, if bill becomes law - Critics blast effort as intrusive and difficult to enforce". Retrieved January 23, 2007.
  10. ^ Normand, Vrinda (March 7, 2007). "Spanks For The Memories". Metro Active.
  11. ^

Succession Boxes[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Leland Yee
State Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore
Succeeded by
Lori Saldaña
Preceded by
Elaine Alquist
California State Assemblymember, 22nd District
Succeeded by
Paul Fong

External links[edit]