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Oral History Project

Barbara BoxerU.S. Senator from California (1993–2017)

Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Barbara Boxer served in the United States Senate from 1993 to 2017 as a Democrat representing the State of California. Her opposition to the Vietnam War drew her to politics, and in 1976 she won her first election to public office, serving on the Marin County Board of Supervisors. She later served five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (1983–1993), and in 1992 she won a seat in the U.S. Senate, joining Dianne Feinstein as the first women elected to the Senate from the State of California. In the Senate, Boxer championed international peace, equal rights and equal pay for women and advocated for wildlife protections and environmental conservation. From 2007 to 2015, Boxer chaired two Senate committees, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, and the Select Committee on Ethics—the first woman to lead each of those committees. She authored clean water legislation, pushed for legislation to address climate change, and shepherded bipartisan infrastructure bills through the Senate. In this interview, she discusses how the Senate’s design encourages bipartisanship, the value of having diverse viewpoints in the Senate, and the importance of having a thick skin while serving in public office.

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Scholarly citation: "Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator from California, 1993–2017," Oral History Interview, April 23, 2018, Senate Historical Office, Washington, D.C.

Disclaimer: The Senate Historical Office has a strong commitment to oral history as an important part of its efforts to document institutional change over time. Oral histories are a natural component to historical research and enhance the archival holdings of the Senate and its members. Oral histories represent the personal recollections and opinions of the interviewees, however, and should not be considered as the official views or opinions of the U.S. Senate, of the Senate Historical Office, or of other senators and/or staff members. The transcripts of these oral histories are made available by the Senate Historical Office as a public service.