Warren Furutani’s State Senate campaign will kick off with its inaugural fundraiser on Thursday, April 30, at 6 p.m. at the new Empress Pavilion in Los Angeles Chinatown, 988 N. Hill St. (parking entrance on Bernard Street).

Warren Furutani (Rafu Shimpo photo)
Warren Furutani (Rafu Shimpo photo)

Furutani is running for the 35th District State Senate seat in June 2016. The district encompasses the cities and communities of San Pedro, Wilmington, Carson and West Carson, Torrance, the Harbor Gateway, Gardena, Moneta, Compton, Watts, Lennox, Lawndale, Inglewood and Hawthorne.

Furutani has represented two-thirds of the district as a member of the Los Angeles Board of Education, the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees, the State Assembly, and the Los Angeles Board of Public Works.

Furutani was the first Asian Pacific Islander American to be elected to the school board and was the first Japanese American to be elected to the community college board.

While serving on the LAUSD board, he organized the first program to give high school diplomas to Nisei who were forced out of school when incarcerated in concentration camps during World War II. While on the community college board, he helped lead the effort to give diplomas to Nisei throughout the state. In the Assembly, he authored and got passed AB 37, which conferred college diplomas onto Japanese Americans whose college careers were cut short by the camps.

He also sponsored and got passed the only bill that designates a special day honoring an Asian American, Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.

Furutani’s focus throughout his 25-year political career has been on education. He is known for his ability to collaborate with multiple entities to get things done. He championed school-based management while serving on the school board; he was able to get the largest construction bond passed to revitalize community college campuses throughout Los Angeles while on the LACCD Board of Trustees. While in the Legislature, he worked with Gov. Jerry Brown to reform the public employee pension system so that it will remain viable and manageable for years to come.

Currently, Furutani is working on the issue of reinvesting and diversity in higher education. He is a senior fellow at UCLA’s Luskin School for Public Affairs and founded the Serve the People Institute, whose mission is to document and preserve materials from the Asian American social justice movements from the 1960s to 1980s.

If elected, Furutani plans to continue his work in higher education, specifically career technical education and community college education. He is deeply concerned about revitalizing needed social services and being good stewards of the environment and natural resources. He has been a social justice and community activist for almost 50 years.

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