College Magazine: Powerful Women Leaders: Senator Toni Atkins

March 9, 2017

By Kelly Livingston

Senator Toni Atkins of California started out behind the scenes. She first supported another woman running for office in San Diego, but she never imagined running for office herself. Back when she was in college, she hadn’t intended to get into politics. Instead Atkins focused on healthcare and running a women’s clinic after graduation. But after supporting another woman candidate, she learned the ropes of leading a community. Ultimately, she decided to run for office at the suggestion of her mentor, Chris Kehoe. Sometimes it just takes that nudge. Someone just tells you, “You should run.” And Atkins did.

Her journey from director of services at Womancare Health Center to state senator of California centered her focus on issues like women’s reproductive rights and transgender rights. Today she has passed legislation to advance both.