Elected to the State Senate in 2016 after serving as Speaker of the California State Assembly, Senator Toni G. Atkins represents the 39th Senate District, which includes the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach.
Prior to state elective office, Senator Atkins worked as director of clinic services at Womancare Health Center and later as a member of the San Diego City Council.
Under her leadership, the Assembly Democrats championed the state's first Earned Income Tax Credit, which benefits nearly 1.5 million Californians and lifts 50,000 people out of poverty and 50,000 others out of deep poverty. She also provided budget funding to help provide more affordable housing, one of the state's biggest crises and the issue that is closest to her heart.
As Speaker, she helped stop the University of California from imposing a 27 percent tuition increase on students; was a leader in negotiating a $7.5-billion water bond that provides clean, safe drinking water and makes improvements to the state's water system; has helped ensure California's financial stability through a Rainy Day Fund; aided in finding a solution to the chronic underfunding of the State Teachers Retirement System; and has led the passage of two on-time, balanced budgets.
Toni Atkins is a coalition builder who believes that sound government policies can impact people's lives in positive ways. During her tenure as Speaker, funding for higher education in California reached its highest-ever level. In addition to being a leading voice for affordable housing, she is a powerful advocate for women, the LGBT community and a champion for veterans, individuals, and families experiencing homelessness.
While Speaker, Toni Atkins passed legislation that helps small businesses, preserves dignity for transgender individuals, protects wildlife, assists victims of domestic violence, protects our environment, ensures coastal access, and strengthens family justice centers, among other accomplishments.
Senator Atkins was born in Virginia and earned her bachelor's degree in political science from Emory & Henry College and completed the senior executive program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She lives in the South Park/Golden Hill community of San Diego with her spouse Jennifer LeSar and their dogs, Haley and Joey.